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PayPal is no pal of reform

By Dale Gieringer, California NORML

The online payment company PayPal has shown that it is no pal of medical marijuana. It cut off service to California NORML for accepting listing fees at canorml.org from cannabis-recommending physicians.

PayPal first froze the NORML account in June, when it complained that on-line payments were being collected for listing fees by patient collectives. Paypal cited its Acceptable Use Policy: “You may not use PayPal in the purchase or sale of narcotics.” Although narcotics were not being sold through the NORML Web site, it reluctantly agreed to stop accepting payments from dispensaries, since they are against federal law. However, it continued to accept payments from doctors, attorneys and members, plus merchandise orders.

Afterwards, PayPal told Cal NORML that it was terminating the account because NORML continued to accept listing fees from cannabis physicians.

Under a federal court ruling upheld by the Supreme Court (Conant v. Walters, 2003), physicians have the legal right to recommend or approve medical marijuana for their patients. PayPal told Cal NORML, “We are not arguing the legality of this issue; we are simply stating that we have made the business decision to not be involved with this type of business.”

California NORML believes that marijuana supporters should make the decision not to do business with Paypal or other such businesses. Located in San Jose, PayPal was acquired by eBay in 2002.

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