Ohio proposes cashless system for medical cannabis businesses

Could Ohio have a solution to the marijuana industry’s cash-only problem?

The state’s new medical marijuana law proposes a closed-loop payment processing system that would rely on something similar to pre-paid debit or gift cards, according to Cleveland.com.

Legal marijuana companies have had to rely on cash-only transactions because banks, credit unions and credit card companies are reluctant to do business with them, given the uncertain federal regulatory environment.

Ohio’s Commerce Department is responsible for setting up the program’s payment system, but officials there haven’t made a decision about the plan, a Commerce Department spokeswoman told Cleveland.com.

According to Cleveland.com, state Sen. Bill Coley – who proposed part of the new law – told an audience at a marijuana conference in Columbus that patients and registered caregivers would put money in special accounts by check, credit card, or cash at a state-licensed liquor store or a state agency. The money in the accounts then could be used to make dispensary purchases.

Dispensaries, cultivators and other marijuana businesses would also have accounts, through which they would be able to buy products and pay bills. If a marijuana business needed to make a payment outside of the closed-loop system, the state would cut a check to the payee.

Coley said that every transaction would be available to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network should they want to investigate a transaction. The agency is a part of the U.S. Treasury Department.