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Mastercard moves to ban Cannabis transactions at legal Dispensaries

Mastercard's ban on cannabis purchases is expected to have a negative impact on Ohio's already fragile medical marijuana market, particularly due to the state's reliance on cashless ATMs in dispensaries for transactions. Ohio's medical cannabis program has faced challenges since its inception, and the lack of banking support has been a significant hindrance to its growth.


Ohio has been utilizing an app called "Spendr," which allows for cashless payments for medical cannabis and provides cash rewards back to the user's account. These rewards can be used to purchase legal cannabis within Ohio's Medical Marijuana Program and even in Michigan's adult-use program. However, with Mastercard's ban in effect, patients in Ohio may face difficulties accessing medical marijuana products, as the loss of this payment option could deter potential customers and force dispensaries to revert to cash-only transactions.


Moreover, the continued reliance on cash transactions poses security concerns for businesses and patients, making dispensaries more susceptible to theft and safety risks. Additionally, the lack of electronic payment options may discourage potential investors and entrepreneurs from entering the Ohio medical marijuana market, due to the perceived risky and uncertain business environment.


To mitigate the impact of Mastercard's ban, the Ohio medical marijuana industry may need to explore alternative solutions for cashless transactions. This could involve collaborating with other payment processors that are willing to work with the cannabis sector or seeking partnerships with financial institutions that are open to supporting legal marijuana businesses.


Furthermore, this issue underscores the urgency for comprehensive federal reforms such as the Safe Banking Act, which would provide legal protection for financial institutions engaging with state-legal cannabis businesses, encouraging greater participation and investment in the industry.


In conclusion, Mastercard's ban on cannabis purchases poses challenges for Ohio's medical marijuana market, especially considering the reliance on cashless ATMs and the Spendr app. Advocacy for federal banking reforms and collaboration among stakeholders are critical to ensure a sustainable and thriving medical marijuana market in Ohio.

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