According to Mastercard, financial services providers must stop letting US citizens use their debit cards to purchase for legal marijuana in stores.
Customers in the 38 states where marijuana is legal have no other option than to pay with cash because it is still prohibited at the national level in the US.
Mastercard claimed that it asked the companies against using its debit cards after seeing the trend of its usage in such cases is illegal.
On the other hand, marijuana activists have been demanding new laws to facilitate the selling of legal cannabis.
In an official statement issued in this regard on Wednesday, Mastercard said, “As we were made aware of this matter, we quickly investigated it. In accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that offer payment services to cannabis merchants and connect them to Mastercard to terminate the activity. The federal government considers cannabis sales illegal, so these purchases are not allowed on our systems.”
The crackdown attempts to prevent marijuana retailers, or “dispensaries,” from letting clients pay with a debit card after inputting the PIN number for their bank account.
Currently, 38 states have legalised marijuana for medical use. Additionally, 23 states, including Washington DC, and the entire US West Coast, let adults over 21 to purchase it for leisure purposes.
Customers are frequently allowed to use credit or debit cards to pay in Canada, where cannabis use became legal nationwide in 2018.
Brady Cobb, CEO of Sunburn Cannabis, slammed Mastercard’s action, saying that “this move is another blow to the state-legal cannabis industry and patients/consumers who want to access this budding category”.
The Democrats, the ruling party, at the US Senate seek to enact a law to facilitate business between financial institutions and cannabis traders.
However, leading Republican Senator John Cornyn called the bill’s passing “wishful thinking” earlier this month.