Want to Buy Pot in Hawaii? Your Cash Is No Good

State wants to reduce robberies by making all sales cashless
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 13, 2017 4:40 AM CDT
Hawaii Wants to Make All Pot Sales Cashless
Plants grow at the home of Jeremy Nickle, owner of Hawaiian Holy Smokes, in Honolulu, Hawaii.   (Marina Riker)

Hawaii says it aims to be the first state to have marijuana sales handled without cash, saying it wants 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 AP reports. 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 Aloha Green dispensary, said dispensaries won't be forced to go cashless—and the company won't turn away patients who want to pay in cash. Many marijuana businesses use cash because banks fear pot money could expose them to legal trouble from the US government, which regulates banking and still bans marijuana. The debit app, called CanPay, uses a Colorado-based credit union to facilitate transactions. Hawaii is still working on allowing prepaid, stored-value cards to be used an alternative for people who don't have checking accounts, Ikeda said. (More marijuana stories.)

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