Why Does PayPal Have a Problem With Medical Marijuana?

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Our friends at NORML have run into a weird misunderstanding with the folks at PayPal. Apparently, the company has a vague drug policy and they've chosen to interpret it rather broadly:

Paypal, the well-known internet payment company has told California NORML that it will no longer accept payments to our “type of business” because we accept listing payments from cannabis-recommending physicians.

After years of offering free listings to physicians and collectives at our website http://www.canorml.org, CaNORML began charging a yearly listing fee to cover our costs last year.

PayPal froze CaNORML’s account in June, saying that by accepting listing fees from collectives, we were violating their Acceptable Use policy, which says, “you may not use PayPal in the purchase or sale of narcotics.”  

It's absurd on so many levels:

1. It's medical marijuana, not "narcotics." It's perfectly legal under state law and even the federal dept. of justice has agreed to respect state policies.

2. California NORML isn’t buying or selling medical marijuana. They're accepting donations and listing their sponsors. In no way does this violate the terms of PayPal's acceptable use policy.

3. Even after California NORML removed listings for collectives, PayPal maintained that there was a problem with listing physicians on its site. Physicians? They don't even provide medical marijuana, so now you start to get the idea that PayPal is just being nasty. Do they want NORML to stop mentioning marijuana altogether?

But here's the really unbelievably stupid thing about all this:

4.  You can buy alcohol on PayPal. You can straight-up order booze through PayPal and have it delivered to your door, but they have a problem with NORML merely taking donations from folks in the medical marijuana industry?

There is no excuse for this. PayPal is under no legal obligation whatsoever to behave this way and their hypocrisy must not be allowed to go unnoticed. This isn’t even a question of medical access. No marijuana was even being sold through their service. This is about the freedom of PayPal clients to associate with their patrons without being subjected to false and erroneous restrictions that reek of political prejudice.

If PayPal thinks it's bad business to be associated with the medical marijuana community, let's show them how wrong they are. You can contact PayPal here:

PayPal, 2211 N 1st St, San Jose 95131 (408) 376-7400

I recommend reading the whole story from NORML first, so that your correspondence is fully informed. As always, we make the best impression by being firm, but also polite.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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this sucks, i love paypal

this sucks, i love paypal

Firm but polite?

I think we are at a point where polite is no longer the best option, being polite has garnered us nothing. It's time to get angry, it's time to boycott PayPal and let them know why, pay by check or credit/debit card and fuck PayPal.

Consumers forget the power they have over businesses; if a business is not serving you well enough, is not behaving in a manner up to your expectations, take your business elsewhere, after telling them that you are taking your business to one of their competitors and why. When enough consumers react in this manner, the business either changes to accomodate the customers' wishes, or they go out of business. Problem solved without government interference.

Would that we could take our political business elsewhere, as our government certainly is not abiding by the rules the Founding Fathers set up, it is not behaving in a manner expected of a Constitutional government. It is serving us crap instead of value, leading us into tyranny, depriving us of our liberty more and more with each day that passes. It was made clear, today, the government is going to (try) to FORCE (mandate) us to have medical insurance and it will fine, even imprison, us if we do not obey that dictate. That is NOT the action of a government of a free people, that is the action of a dictatorship

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Paypal is a monopoly!

I find it hard to get anything from E-bay without dealing with these people. I had a run-in, in the past, when they could not get their automated payments to work and charged me a late fee because of their inept behavior! If there was another way, I would be glad to use it. But, many of the sellers now encourage and use only PayPal for their reimbursement.

But, I would encourage our California medical cannabis users to let them know how they feel about this! I agree that I am very tired of the alcohol elitists, and their meddling!

Apparently they are making a

Apparently they are making a political statement in opposition of any kind of organization calling for a reasonable discussion on marijuana prohibition based on ACTUAL facts rather than ridiculous propaganda. F--- 'em then, they're going to piss off a lot more people than they think.

Keep in mind...

PayPal is owned by eBay, and since the leadership of eBay tends to be conservative in a lot of ways. To me it just seems like their leadership doesn't want marijuana to be legalized in California, and think that this setback will make it harder.

eBay’s Meg Whitman is Running for Governor of California

Good link, Michael Blunk.

The PayPal link to eBay leads to the money, or in this case Meg Whitman, who hopes to be the next governor of California.  Former eBay CEO Ms. Whitman is a loyal Republican and makes conservative noises.

Whitman, or her odious campaign manager, former CA Governor Pete Wilson, may believe any link between herself, her business and the evil weed could become a serious political liability.  There may be other influences—back alley deals that monster companies like eBay or PayPal have made with the DEA or Meg Whitman’s handlers.

This kind of restraint of trade is dangerous.  Wars can erupt.  Governments can fall. Competition can compensate.  And businesses like PayPal will always lose prestige and revenue for favoring a battle directed against a majority of peace and freedom loving U.S. citizens determined to defend their peace and freedom at all costs.


So everyone who now buys or sells thru eBay

and who is angered by PayPal's attitude toward NORML, should move their buying and selling to craigslist, and not use PayPal in the process -- cash or credit card only. Such a move could bring eBay and PayPal crashing down, which in turn, could blow Whitman's political plans right out of the water. The very last thing any of us need is another authoritarian drug warrior in a position of power.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

there's an alternative to paypal called moneybookers

I don't know all the details about them, but a lot of people are much happier with them than with paypal. Ebay accepts them as a payment option (probably because they had no choice).

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