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.
by Scott Morgan
October 13, 2009
Stop The Drug War Blog