Mastercard Initiates New Crackdown

Mastercard Seeks To Stop Marijuana Purchases

( – A number of states have either made recreational cannabis use legal or decriminalized it over the last several years. As a result, dispensaries have popped up, and people are using them to buy various products. However, one major financial services company is now making it clear they don’t want customers using their cards for purchases.

In a recent statement, Mastercard asked “financial institutions” currently offering the company’s payment services to cannabis merchants to stop the activity, according to Bloomberg. The company stated the drug is still illegal federally. To show how serious it is about the matter, the company sent out cease-and-desist letters to shops providing its payment service as an option. Purchasers may no longer buy cannabis using their Mastercard debit cards going forward.

Mastercard isn’t the only company to begin regulating how customers use their cards. In 2021, VISA did something similar; only it chose to prevent merchants from using the cashless ATM method with its cards. That option allowed the establishment to round the tendered amount up to a typical amount that a customer could withdraw from an ATM, and then the establishment would give the customer the change.

There’s currently a potential solution in the works: the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. If passed, the legislation would allow banking companies to provide services to cannabis distributors that operate in states where its use is legal. It failed to pass Congress back in December, but it’s beginning to gain bipartisan support this year.

In the meantime, however, it looks like dispensaries will have to rely on cash and the smaller banking services that have yet to ban the shops from using their products.

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