California NORML Release – Oct 12, 2009
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 fromcollectives, we were violating their Acceptable Use policy, which says, “you may not use PayPal in the purchase or sale of narcotics.” Although narcotics were not being sold over the CaNORML site, we reluctantly agreed to stop accepting listings fees from collectives that dispense medical marijuana, recognizing that even though they are legal under state law, they are illegal under federal law. However, we continued to accept payments online from doctors, attorneys, and members.
Now PayPal has stopped accepting payments from the CaNORML site because we continued to accept listing payments from physicians.
Under a ruling upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court (Conant v. Walters, 2003), physicians have the first amendment right to discuss and recommend medical marijuana for their patients, although they may not distribute it or help patients in finding it. PayPal was informed of this and wrote back, “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.”
Because of its discriminatory policy and disregard of physicians’ first amendment rights, CaNORML submits that PayPal is not the “type of business” to be used by those who advocate for human rights. We will file a complaint with the federal banking committee over their practices.
Located in San Jose, California, PayPal was founded in 1998 and was acquired by eBay (California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s former company) in 2002.
Complain to: PayPal, 2211 N 1st St, San Jose 95131 (408) 376-7400
Dale Gieringer, CA NORML
[Statement of Paypal’s Accceptable Use]
We appreciate the fact that you chose PayPal to send and receive payments for your transactions.
Under the Acceptable Use Policy, you may not use PayPal in the purchase or sale of narcotics, steroids, certain controlled substances, products that present a risk to consumer safety or drug paraphernalia. PayPal makes such decisions after reviewing laws, regulations and other actions by governmental agencies, other available evidence, and marketing content related to the product.
The complete Acceptable Use Policy can be found at the following URL:
To learn more about the Acceptable Use Policy, please refer to our Help Center page here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/helpweb?cmd=_help
We are hereby notifying you that, after a recent review of your account activity, it has been determined that you are in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy regarding your sales at http://www.canorml.org/prop/collectivetips.html. PayPal cannot be used to accept fees for listing information related to marijuana dispensaries, delivery services and cannabis physicians.