Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'My life is possible because of MMJ. My card is American Expr ... oh, wait'

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2011 at 12:49 PM

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So you're riding along in your automobile, and maybe your baby's beside you at the wheel. You might be cruisin' and playin' the radio; you probably have no particular place to go. But if you're going to a medical marijuana center, and you're thinking you'll grab a refill of the stuff that makes your symptoms feel better, and you're thinking you'll do it with your American Express card and grab some reward points ...

From Business Insider:

Starting April 30, consumers using their American Express cards to buy medical marijuana received notice that their cards were declined. The rejection of the cards is due to American Express' decision to no longer allow purchases of such products with their cards. American Express made this move despite the fact that the purchase of medical marijuana is legal in 15 states.

"Huh," you might be thinking. "That's inconvenient, and kind of dumb." And you know what? Aaron Smith, director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, agrees with you.

“I haven’t seen it [the prohibition] with other credit cards,” Smith told Scot Kersgaard of the Colorado Independent. “I don’t understand why they would turn their back on a $2 billion industry. It’s perplexing.”

An AmEx spokesperson told Kersgaard that the reason was that the company follows federal law, and I guess that's good. It's not so great that it charges merchants high processing fees, and charges customers high annual fees, and has now removed itself as source of funding in an industry where it's mainly 40-year-olds with severe pain needing its services — not to mention the fact that its CEO has cleared some $110 million since 2008 on the backs of his customers. But it's good that the company follows federal law.

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