NORML Targeted Next, Loses Online Donation Processing

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We recently published an update about banking issues commonly encountered when operating in or near the cannabis industry. These issues remain unsolved, and it seems that prevaricating bank executives have decided to target the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) next.

The organization’s founder and top legal adviser Keith Stroup disclosed in a blog post on Monday that NORML’s credit card processing services — through which the organization receives the majority of its crowd-sourced fundraising — recently was canceled abruptly and without warning by TransFirst. When asked what rule they had violated, the financial institution told Stroup it was because of their ties to the “marijuana industry.”

“As with many non-profits, we depend to a large degree on donations from our website to fund our organization, so this (hopefully temporary) glitch presents a serious threat to the organization,” writes Stroup.

The move, argues Stroup, “represents a totally unnecessary act (there is no theory under federal law that would penalize a company for providing financial services to NORML), and one that smacks of an anti-marijuana prejudice that is reminiscent of the days of ‘reefer madness.’

“We are being penalized for our political views.”

Sadly, this is not the first time an organization with ties to cannabis — but not actually involved in any way with the cultivation, processing, or distribution of the plant — has been unfairly targeted by its bank. Just over two months ago, Chase canceled Green Flower Media’s bank services because the media company regularly published cannabis-related content.

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