Hawaii to launch cashless payment system for medical cannabis


Starting next month, you will no longer have to carry cash when you buy medical marijuana.

Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday that as of Oct. 1, all eight dispensary license holders across the state have agreed to implement a debit payment mobile application that can process sales transactions at its retail dispensaries.

“These dispensaries accumulate a lot of cash, which creates challenges for state employees who have to interact with dispensaries as well as with the general public. We’ve been looking for innovative solutions to this challenge,” Ige said.

The dispensaries will also be able to set up direct deposit for employee payroll, collect and remit taxes, and make payments to vendors.

The system, called CanPay, was set up to address concerns about increased crimes committed against cash-based operations.

“This new cashless system enables the state to focus on patient, public and product safety while we allow commerce to take place. This solution makes sense. It makes dispensary finances transparent and it makes it easier and safer for dispensaries to serve their patients and pay their employees and vendors,” he said.

“You download (the app) on your smart phone. It will link up to a checking account. You will get a QR code. With that QR code, you’re able to use it at the dispensary,” explained state financial commissioner Iris Ikeda. “This QR code is pretty safe. It masks the account number of the patient. There’s no personal, non-public information going through this QR code. It will expire after 30 minutes, so you want to be sure that if you want to use this, you get to the medical cannabis dispensary in time.”

The system will be provided by Colorado-based Safe Harbor Private Banking. According to the state, financial services are currently unavailable in Hawaii because cannabis remains a federally prohibited substance.

Maui Grown Therapies and Aloha Green, the state’s two operational dispensaries, have opened accounts with the mainland credit union and have begun using the mobile debit payment application. The remaining six dispensaries are now at different stages of development and varying stages of the approval process.

Click here for more information on the Medical Cannabis Registry Program and the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program.

Click here for frequently asked questions on the banking solution.

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