Starting this October, Hawaii will become the first state to go cashless on cannabis sales.
The state made the announcement on Tuesday, saying it will now require people to use a debit app instead of cash.
That handle goes to CanPay which uses a credit union based in Colorado to facilitate transactions. For now, the app is already available in six states including Colorado and California.
For those who don’t own smartphones, they will have to create an account using an identification document and an email address. Payment will be made by logging in to the store’s designated tablets.
Banks are wary about handling funds from cannabis businesses as rules remain vague on the matter. During the previous administration, some guidelines were issued protecting banks from prosecution from handling cannabis money. But banks don’t see such guidelines as a solid anchor and security from possible charges that might be thrown their way. This makes sense given that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is bent on hindering further progress for the marijuana industry.
Some financial service providers such as Mastercard and Visa even issued statements that they will not allow their products to be used for any marijuana-related transaction.
But the question that many has is this: can this really be stopped, given that more and more US states are moving towards legalizing the drug despite its current illegal status on the federal level?
For now, Hawaii’s experimental move will provide insight for other states on making further economic and legislative decisions regarding marijuana retail and use.