HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii said Tuesday that it aims to be the first state to have marijuana sales handled without cash, saying it wanted to avoid robberies and other crimes targeting dispensaries.
All of Hawaii’s eight licensed dispensaries have agreed to go cashless by Oct. 1, the governor’s office said. The dispensaries will ask patients to use a debit payment app to buy their pot instead of cash. The app is already an option for marijuana transactions in six states, including California and Colorado.
Iris Ikeda, the state’s financial institutions commissioner, told reporters at a news conference that state officials haven’t discussed whether people wanting to pay in cash will be turned away from dispensaries.
“Oct. 1 is our target date to try to go cashless as much as we can,” Ikeda said.
Helen Cho, director of the Honolulu-based Aloha Green dispensary, said dispensaries won’t be required to go cashless and the company won’t turn away patients who want to pay in cash. The dispensary will be encouraging people to use the cashless system, she said.
Many marijuana businesses use cash because banks fear pot money could expose them to legal trouble from the U.S. government, which regulates banking and still bans marijuana.
The debit app called CanPay uses a Colorado-based credit union to facilitate transactions. The Hawaii dispensaries will set up accounts with the credit union, called Safe Harbor Private Banking.
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