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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Cannabis is No Longer ‘Cash-Only’ at Select Maine Dispensaries

The unwillingness of major banks to process marijuana transactions — due to the illogical status of cannabis as a Schedule I substance in the United States — means the credit card and debit card transactions are impossible at most weed stores. But that’s changed now at three dispensaries in Maine, and the new business model may become widespread in the near future.Wellness Connection of Maine (WCM), the state’s largest medical cannabis operator, now offers members the ability to pay for cannabis without using cash. A new mobile app, CanPay, is reportedly the first of its kind of technology for the cannabis industry.

Cannabis is legal for either medical or recreational uses (or both) in 29 states, though the plant remains illegal under federal law. Because of that, the banking industry at-large has not done business within the cannabis industry forcing cash-only transactions. This has created safety and security issues for canna-businesses across the country because of large volumes of cash being kept on premise.

patricia rosi wellness connection of maine debit
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Patricia Rosi, Wellness Connection of Maine:
“[I]t’s a milestone because of the increased safety that it provides and the legitimacy that it signifies”
[Logan Werlinger / Portland Press Herald]

“The creation of a new app within any other industry would be insignificant,” saidd WCM CEO Patricia Rosi. “However within the cannabis industry, it’s a milestone because of the increased safety that it provides and the legitimacy that it signifies.”CanPay uses a mobile app, linked directly to a customer’s checking account, to allow cash-free payments within the dispensary. For each purchase, the free app creates a single-use, non-identifiable PIN to ensure privacy and security.”

“We’re removing a major pain point for dispensary owners and patients, while providing transparency and convenience in the process,” said Dustin Eide, CEO of CanPay. “Our partnership with WCM provides patients in Maine access to a secure payment option that is safer than cash.”

CanPay debit payment solution marijuana dispensaries
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The CanPay debit payment solution for marijuana purchases is now available at select dispensaries
[CanPay]

Medical cannabis has been legal in Maine since 2009. In 2016, Maine voters approved recreational marijuana. The legislature is now working out the details of implementation, which is expected by early 2018. Currently, it is legal to possess and consume recreational marijuana, but not to buy it. The laws surrounding Maine’s medical marijuana program remain intact.

CanPay debit is currently available at WCM’s Portland location and will soon be available at their dispensaries in BathGardiner and Brewer. To download the app, visit: CanPayApp.com.

Established in 2011, Wellness Connection of Maine (WCM) is the largest provider of medical cannabis east of Colorado. It operates four of Maine’s eight nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, with locations in PortlandBathGardiner and Brewer.

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