Marijuana is currently legal in 25 American states. Business is booming, and as legal pot dispensaries watch their trade thrive and grow at astonishing rates, many struggle with a federal law that prohibits the use of credit cards as a form of payment.
To skirt this issue, many weed dealers are turning to Bitcoin as an alternative to cash. Although anonymity isn’t a problem when it comes to legal marijuana purchases, Bitcoin provides an attractive alternative to cash – and is a must for online transactions. As the industry has an anticipated revenue of $6.7 billion in 2016, this is no small matter.
In Oregon, one of the states where medical marijuana is legal, Congressman Earl Blumenauer said he believes “there is absolutely no justification for forcing thousands of legal marijuana business here in Oregon and across the United States to do their business on an all cash basis…. [T]his is a serious public safety issue that will only continue as more states reform their laws.”
One Michigan Bitcoin company, Bitcoin Brands, has addressed the issue by installing ATM machines inside marijuana retail stores. Bitcoin Brands’ managing partner Peter Klamka explains the simplicity of transactions at dispensary locations with his company’s machines: “You can buy your bitcoin, buy whatever you want to buy in the dispensary, pay and leave.”
Two Bitcoin companies, PotCoin and DopeCoin, are dedicated solely to providing the digital currency to the marijuana marketplace. Even more convenient for dispensary customers is the Bitcoin debit card, called the Shift Card. This card can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted, with zero fees (after the initial $10 purchase price).