Mastercard sent cease and desist letters to payment processors and banks last week. These letters demanded certain financial service providers to stop allowing marijuana transactions on MasterCard debit cards.

What does this mean?

This is clearly just another body blow to a struggling industry. Obviously cannabis operators will likely deal with more cash but I anticipate more financial service providers to push Bitcoin and digital wallets (which has its own challenges and complexities). Unfortunately, there is no great fix to this issue unless the federal government is willing to pass legislation to help the industry. Spoiler alert – it is not willing to pass any helpful legislation.

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If you have questions, please contact Steve Levine, or your Husch Blackwell attorney.

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