BitPay Says to Legal Marijuana Dispensary in Washington: “We are unable to offer our services to businesses that sell drugs”

January 14, 2014 06:05 UTC

Washington State and Colorado State have become the first states in America to legalize marijuana at the state level.  The beginning of green celebrations in the aforementioned states at the beginning of this month led to a satirical piece claiming 37 dead due to marijuana legalization.  Many people have applied for commercial licenses from their states to legally grow and distribute marijuana.  Concurrently, many followers of legal marijuana news have noted that the majority of legal marijuana dispensaries, medical in most places, recreational in Washington and Colorado, must pay their state taxes in cash because banks will not support them.

Earlier today, Redditor /u/dabauhs posted this picture detailing an exchange between a legal marijuana dispensary in Washington State and BitPay, located in Georgia State.

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide services to businesses that sell drugs.  Thanks for reaching out

The owner of the dispensary replied:

I have applied for an account through bitpay for my Washington state licensed recreational marijuana stores.  I have been awarded three of them.  These stores will pay taxes, have a federal tax id number, and will be completely legal.  I ask that you please relook at my application and except my account.  Thanks in advance for your time

This just in!  BitPay won’t be servicing your neighborhood Walgreen’s, CVS, Rite Aid, or Wal-Mart.  All of which are extremely large businesses that sell drugs.

The answer to BitPay’s refusal to service legal marijuana dispensaries comes from a different place than standard “anti-drug” policies that most companies have.  BitPay has a tenuous relationship with the banks that it works with due to their heavy involvement [heavier than any other company in the entire world] in Bitcoin and fiat.  In order for BitPay to maintain the contracts and relationships that they have developed [ties that got Tony Gallippi in front of the United States Senate Committees during Bitcoin’s Capitol Hill debut] BitPay must play nice with banks.  Until federal laws change, it is incredibly unlikely that BitPay will provide services to legal marijuana dispensaries.  That does not mean that Bitcoin can’t be used to help dispensaries, though.

Have a cryptic day, mis amigos.

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