Marijuana Businesses in Massachusetts Go Cash-only to Avoid Federal Intervention

Marijuana businesses in Massachusetts have switched all their transactions to cash.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement on Jan. 1 that he cannot provide assurances to marijuana businesses concerning federal crackdowns. In fact, he made it clear that no aspect of the state-sanctioned marijuana industry is immune from federal prosecution.

As a result, state regulators, investors, and entrepreneurs debated to what extent the laws will be enforced. In Massachusetts, medical marijuana patients and dispensaries are already pushing back. Since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ revocation last Thursday of an Obama-era policy, most of the state’s medical dispensaries have quickly reverted to cash-only operations.

Recently, a majority of the state’s 17 open medical marijuana dispensaries notified customers that they will no longer accept debit card payments. John Hillier, executive director of Central Ave Compassionate Care in Ayer said this happened after Lelling’s statement. Lelling said there will be no protection against federal crackdown. John Hillier wrote in a statement to patients:

“Folks, unfortunately, this means we are back to CASH ONLY transactions until further notice.”a

Other Dispensaries Join the Movement

In addition, a shop called Good Health told its customers that debit card payments are halted “due to federal changes beyond our control”. Other dispensaries claimed that debit card processors advised them to stop accepting debit payments.

According to a review of dispensary websites by Eric Casey, a total of at least nine dispensaries have stopped accepting debit card payments. Also, the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance released this statement on their facebook page:

marijuana businesses Massachusetts

They organized a “stay away from our medicine rally,” an education and protest movement.