Business is already difficult for dispensaries in the US. Federal banks do not do business with dispensaries because of federal prohibition laws. This makes it impossible for dispensaries to open bank accounts. As a result, all dispensaries do business primarily in cash, or they use digital currency like BitCoin.
The proposed bill would change that. SB 5264 make it illegal for dispensaries to accept any form of digital currency, such as BitCoin, Ripple, or Lite Coin. Per the language of the bill, “digital currency” is considered as any “digital representations of value used as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, or a store of value.”
The bill goes on to state, “A marijuana producer, marijuana processor, or retail outlet must not pay with or accept virtual currency for the purchase or sale of marijuana or any marijuana product.”
The bill was put forth by Washington state senators Ann Rivers and Steven Conway. In an interview with CoinDesk.com Rivers stated, “One of the goals of my Cannabis Patient Protection Act, which became law in 2015, was to eliminate the black and gray markets for cannabis in our state.” On the surface this may sound reasonable, but it really just looks like another attack on the legal cannabis industry.
Dispensaries typically deal entirely in cash. This makes them vulnerable and frequent targets of robberies. Some dispensaries, like Kouchlock Productions in Spokane, found a way around it by accepting BitCoin transactions.
Rivers went on to say, “SB 5264 addresses another part of the regulatory challenge. After all the work we’ve done to get a handle on the cannabis industry and help move it out of the shadows, allowing the use of unregulated currency for cannabis purchases doesn’t promote the level of transparency we committed to develop.”
You can read a full transcript of SB 5264 here.
Image Source: BitCoin
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