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One of the ways retail cannabis dispensaries and medical marijuana dispensaries have been able to operate in a country that doesn’t allow them to actually bank has been via the use of on-site ATMs, registered to their business or a neighboring business. These machines may either dispense cash directly to customers or allow them to make a transfer of funds to the business they are patronizing at the point of sale (acting as a register) without actually handling or receiving cash from the machine. Both kinds run on the Meta Payment Systems network are no longer operational as of Wednesday this week, according to reports out of Colorado.
Essentially, the company that processes the payments on the machines is now refusing to do so because of federal prohibition. Thankfully, the middleman businesses that rent the automatic teller machines have already been working to make arrangements with other bank networks. Reportedly some shops were already able to process cards again by Thursday, October 23rd, 2014.
Shops in Washington and Colorado have been affected, and there is no indication that the outage will end anytime soon. It was, after all, an intentional move. Businesses were notified a day ahead of time in some cases via letter, and the shut-off appears to be final. Despite a lack of formal response from the parent company, Meta Financial Group, it appears that Meta Payment Systems will no longer be doing business with cannabis dispensaries, whether for recreational cannabis or medical marijuana.
Even while banking is becoming increasingly available to cannabis businesses in some states, certain companies are choosing to support prohibition policies. Cannabis activists and aficionados alike should make an effort to avoid MetaBank ATMs, considering that the bank has made it clear they have no interest in this industry. With any luck, this will simply clear the way for a more progressive, modern financial company to fill an ever-growing niche.
For previous Ladybud articles that deal with banking and cannabis businesses, click here.
Photo Credit: Nenyedi under (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons