Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Introducing the medical pot prepaid debit card

It's making a debut in California and Colorado.

By Karen Datko Nov 30, 2009 4:26PM

The weirdest prepaid card news to date: A company is offering a prepaid debit card for medical marijuana users.

“There may be no greater sign of marijuana's rising profile in the national economy than this,” David Morrison wrote at Credit Union Times.


The card -- dubbed the GreenCard -- will debut in California and Colorado and double as a photo ID for members and users of legal medical marijuana collectives and dispensaries. Expect it to spread to other states where use of marijuana to treat various illnesses and conditions is legal with a doctor's note. No word yet on a medical marijuana gift card.


A headline at PIN Payments Blog asks: “Does prepaid debit, ID card for ‘medical marijuana’ have POTential?” It sounds like it does. “Presently, most of these operations only accept cash, as well as pay cash to suppliers to the collectives, subjecting operators and collective members to theft, unregulated and potential criminal activity,” said Kyle Gotshalk, CEO of Commerce Online, the transaction-processing company that dreamed up the card. Patients can load up their cards through the usual prepaid debit cards means. 

It’s also a budding business opportunity. The U.S. Justice Department is no longer busting medical marijuana distributors who are operating within state laws, so the enterprise will likely enjoy a growth spurt. Meanwhile, other states, including New Jersey and Wisconsin, are considering legalizing medical pot.


(Think of the possible tax revenue. The City Council in San Jose, Calif., is considering charging each dispensary a $10,000 permit fee and a 3% tax. In Colorado, a state senator estimates the state could gain $15 million in annual revenue, with another $45 million collected in local taxes whenever collections begin.)


Medical marijuana is legal in 14 states across the land -- not just in trendy places like California and Colorado -- from Alaska and Hawaii to Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Oregon has about 24,000 registered legal users.


Here in Montana, where voters approved a medical marijuana ballot measure in 2004, it's also caught on. The owner of a medical pot dispensary in Missoula told The Associated Press that “more than 300 patients now obtain their medical marijuana from his clinic, and that a dozen or more are signing up each day.”


What’s next? A prepaid get-out-of-jail bail card? Nope. That’s already available.


Related reading:

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.