Arizona attorney general OKs digital medical cannabis payments

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich approved a trial program allowing digital payments to medical marijuana dispensaries,  a move that could significantly influence the way the state’s unbanked MMJ firms transact business in the future.

Brnovich noted in a news release that an Arizona startup, Alta, will allow cash-intensive businesses to make and receive digital payments without a bank.

Alta is a private financial services “club” that provides digital currency for licensed medical cannabis providers and vendors.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Alta’s digital tokens allow members to safely transfer cash, according to the company. Tokens can be redeemed for cash.
  • Instead of cash, members can pay each other using a proprietary blockchain-based digital currency.
  • Smartphone or computers are used to access the exchange and complete transaction.
  • The tokens never change in value. One token equals $1.

Brnovich approved Alta to enter Arizona’s FinTech Sandbox.

Six other groups are already enrolled in the program.

“The cash economy for legal cannabis in Arizona exceeds $350 million annually,” Sarah Wessel, co-founder and chief operating officer of Alta, said in a statement.

“These are legitimate companies, innovators and entrepreneurs that are forced to operate in cash.”