Ohio Planning for a Cashless MMJ Program

A proposal attached to Ohio’s new medical cannabis law could make it the first state to implement a cashless payment system for the retail distribution of marijuana products, reports.

The plan, proposed by Sen. Bill Coley, allows state officials to establish a “closed loop” payment processing system for cannabis dispensaries that would use methods similar to prepaid debit or gift cards. According to Sen. Coley, the plan would alleviate some of the cash-based security concerns that have haunted medical cannabis business owners in every other U.S. state to date.

According to Coley, the program would establish prepaid cannabis accounts for patients and caregivers alike. Patients would be allowed to add funds to their account using cash, check, or credit card, and these transactions would take place at state-licensed liquor stores or other state-run agencies capable of processing payment information.

Medical marijuana businesses would also have accounts on the system. These accounts could be used to both perform transactions between cannabis companies and to pay bills. Any payments needing to go outside the system could be done on behalf of a cannabis company using a check cut by the state itself.

The system would track every transaction in the industry, Coley said, and the information would also be made readily available for the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. “If you want privacy in this business the state of Ohio, go to Illinois because you don’t get that in the state of Ohio,” said Coley.

The Ohio Department of Commerce, which has been authorized to establish a payment system for medical cannabis, is looking into the idea, said spokesperson Kerry Francis.

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