Mastercard Directs Financial Institutions to Stop Allowing Cannabis Transactions on Debit Cards

Mastercard has told financial institutions in the U.S. to stop allowing legal cannabis transactions on its debit cards due to the plant’s ongoing prohibition under federal law.

Full story after the jump.

Mastercard has directed financial institutions to stop allowing cannabis transactions on its debit cards, Reuters reports. A spokesperson told Reuters that the change is directly linked to U.S. federal law.  

“As we were made aware of this matter, we quickly investigated it. In accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that offer payment services to cannabis merchants and connects them to Mastercard to terminate the activity. … The federal government considers cannabis sales illegal, so these purchases are not allowed on our systems.” — Mastercard spokesperson via Reuters 

The U.S. House has passed the SAFE Banking Act, which would normalize financial services for cannabis companies in states where it is legal, seven times but the proposal has never been given a vote in the Senate. 

This year’s version of the legislation is currently in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the House Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. In both chambers, the bill is sponsored by Republicans and Democrats. The proposal carries 42 co-sponsors in the Senate and 66 co-sponsors in the House. 

A 2022 poll by Data for Progress found that 72% of U.S. voters, including nearly two-thirds of Republicans, support giving legal cannabis companies access to traditional financial services. 

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