Visa and Mastercard Allow Marijuana Purchases, In Spite of Official Rules

Tuesday, 07 Jan 2014 12:21 PM

By Courtney Coren

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Visa and Mastercard are opting not to enforce their official rules that prohibit their cards from being used for marijuana purchases in Colorado.

The two credit card giants have decided to take the same position as the federal government, which is to not challenge the laws in states that have voted to legalize marijuana, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Visa said in a statement addressing the matter that "given the federal government's position and recognizing this is an evolving legal matter with different standards applicable in different states, our local merchant acquirers are best suited to make any determination about potential illegality."

A Mastercard spokesman said marijuana purchases are still considered illegal and promise to work with merchant processors if marijuana purchases take place.

American Express is taking a much more aggressive position and has gone so far as to block transactions from a vendor that works with marijuana dispensaries to help them be able to accept all major credit and debit cards.

Marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, which became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana starting in January, have allowed their customers to use credit and debit cards to make their purchases even though it violates the rules of the major credit card companies.


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