Readers Speak: Support for the STATES Act

October 22, 2018

by The Green Sheet

We wish to thank Heather (Petersen) Altepeter, CEO of National Merchants Association, who sent us the following perspective on why cannabis merchants must be afforded resources to conduct business the right way.

Remember when you were a kid and wanted to make breakfast but didn’t know how? So you wound up making a mess with runny eggs, burnt toast and overfilled cereal bowls. When someone finally showed you how to whisk eggs and cook them properly on the stove without burning your house down, it was revolutionary, right? Payment processing in the cannabis space is just as revolutionary, but unfortunately, not as simple.

More than 30 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana (cannabis) and/or marijuana-based products for various purposes. However, this conflicts with federal laws, which cite cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. In banking, federal law trumps state laws – making it illegal for banks to work with merchants in this vertical. Thus, cannabis sales declared legal by states are transacted in cash.

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