US cannabis businesses are bracing for increasing threats from criminals following Mastercard’s decision to ban cannabis purchases.
Last month the credit card giant made the controversial and abrupt decision to prohibit its cards from being used to make purchases in cannabis stores.
This has left many businesses, already pushed to the fringes of the US financial system, forced to turn away customers and, crucially, shift their operations increasingly towards cash.
According to a report from MJBizDaily, with the possibility Visa could also follow in Mastercard’s footsteps, many business owners are anticipating ‘a lot more people using cash and a lot more exposure to violent crime’.
Andrew DeAngelo, a Northern California-based marijuana consultant said: “More transactions are going to move to the underground market, where you don’t have this cumbersome problem with payments.”
Cash-dependent cannabis stores are already being increasingly targeted by criminals, reportedly with near impunity.
In 2022, licensed cannabis stores in California reported 329 burglaries with losses, according to Department of Cannabis Control figures, more than double the 147 reported a year earlier.
Mr DeAngelo says the police are slow to respond or fail to follow up, ‘emboldening’ the criminals who feel they can target these stores without consequence.
Several operators told MJBizDaily they are monitoring in-store cash-handling as well as reviewing cash-courier services and security procedures.