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Cannabis in a Time of COVID: Legalization Efforts Lose Steam as Demand for E-Payments Grows

One consequence of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is that state cannabis legalization efforts are getting placed on hold.

Before any statewide ballot initiative, like legalization of medicinal and/or adult recreational uses of marijuana, can be put before the public, proponents must obtain signatures from hundreds of thousands of registered voters in that state.

At the start of 2020 there were signature-gathering campaigns underway in nearly a dozen states to get some form of marijuana legalization (medical and/or adult recreational use) on the ballot this November. But the signature-gathering process in most states has been stymied by coronavirus-related stay-at-home orders.

“The coronavirus has impacted every signature drive on every issue across the country,” Matthew Schweich, Deputy Director at the Marijuana Policy Project, told the news outlet Politico.

The only ballot initiative petition that seems positioned to succeed, according to experts interviewed by Politico, is in Arizona. Smart and Safe Arizona, which has been spearheading a legalization initiative for adult recreational uses of marijuana in that state, had already collected the 238,000 signatures required under state law before the coronavirus pandemic ensued. Arizona law already allows for the sale and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ditched plans to include legalization of adult recreational uses of marijuana as part of that state’s massive yearly budget plan, which was approved April 1. Cuomo, who last year said he would propose legalizing adult uses of marijuana through the budget process this year, said during a press briefing in late March that the coronavirus pandemic had shifted the state’s priorities.

Even if more states join the trend toward marijuana legalization, federal prohibitions on marijuana and other cannabis products continue to create road blocks to standard modes of operation cannabis businesses. It’s a well-known fact, for example, that many cannabis dispensaries operate on a cash-only basis because of the reluctance of electronic payment companies to process their customers’ payments.

But let’s get real: in an era when people are hyper-sensitive about the spread of diseases like the coronavirus, exchanges of paper money, which get handled by millions of people, are not considered a safe way to pay. Even if the chances of coronavirus being spread through currency are low, people are shunning cash more and more for electronic payment methods. Purchasers of cannabis products, whether that’s marijuana for medicinal or recreational uses, or CBD products, deserve the same payment options they enjoy at other businesses.

At Paybotic we are committed to offering cannabis businesses the payment options their customers want and deserve. Our senior management team has racked up more than 20 years of experience creating and refining electronic payment processing services that support the unique requirements of dispensaries and other businesses selling cannabis and related products.

Paybotic offers quick and easy approvals for cannabis merchant accounts, with flexible connectivity options, and support for all forms of payments – contactless, mobile wallets and traditional card payments. Plus, we ensure maximum security, with end-to-end encryption.

Call 844-420-4729 today to learn more about Paybotic’s complete packages of payment acceptance and ecommerce services for dispensaries and other businesses serving the cannabis market.

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