Marijuana has been in the decriminalization process since 1973 with many states over the years passing laws to either authorize the use of marijuana or prohibit it. It is time to stop treating marijuana like a deadly drug, when science and public opinion agree that it is relatively safe for adult recreational and medical use. With recreational and medical marijuana on the verge of nationwide legalization, marijuana growers and dispensaries and grow facilities popping up everywhere.
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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich approved a trial program allowing digital payments to medical marijuana dispensaries, a move that could significantly influence the way the state’s unbanked MMJ firms transact business in the future.
Brnovich noted in a news release that an Arizona startup, Alta, will allow cash-intensive businesses to make and receive digital payments without a bank.
Alta is a private financial services “club” that provides digital currency for licensed medical cannabis providers and vendors.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Alta’s digital tokens allow members to safely transfer cash, according to the company. Tokens can be redeemed for cash.
- Instead of cash, members can pay each other using a proprietary blockchain-based digital currency.
- Smartphone or computers are used to access the exchange and complete transaction.
- The tokens never change in value. One token equals $1.
Brnovich approved Alta to enter Arizona’s FinTech Sandbox.
Six other groups are already enrolled in the program.
“The cash economy for legal cannabis in Arizona exceeds $350 million annually,” Sarah Wessel, co-founder and chief operating officer of Alta, said in a statement.
“These are legitimate companies, innovators and entrepreneurs that are forced to operate in cash.”