Paypal No Pal Of Medical Marijuana

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, 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:

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  PayPal cannot be used to accept fees for listing information related to marijuana dispensaries, delivery services and cannabis physicians.

0 thoughts

  1. This is one of those things to not be terribly upset about. It’s a shame, and you’ll have to find another way to transfer funds, but you can’t be too mad about this. They are not being anti-pot or anti-legalization here, the company is just protecting itself. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Paypal isn’t an advocate for reform, it’s a business with stockholders. They have a duty to those people and if they get involved in a complicated lawsuit then other people with money invested in the company get screwed. There is no reason for NORML to be the cause of that kind of thing.
    [Editor’s note: Paypal is being short-sighted and too deferential to law enforcement in discriminating against doctors and organizations that LAWFULLY engage in medical cannabis commerce. That the federal government is one of the last holdouts to accept medical cannabis’ utility is no good reason why the stockholders at eBay (the parent company of Paypal) should not benefit from the use of Paypal by cannabisbusinesses.
    After all, the company’s very business model is to facilitate online commercial transactions efficiently and safely, therefore does it not logically follow that the managers and stockholders want to see MORE transactions, not less.
    If the managers at eBay and Paypal are dyed-in-the-wool capitalists they’d be arguing for personal freedom, privacy and commerce rather than supporting prohibition, anti-business practices that conflict with their self-interests and government interference in the free market.]

  2. THIS IS INSANE!!!! Could there be a crueler case of discrimination?!?! Why don’t we all just let the sick suffer and die off then and stop serving doctors, hospitals, pharmacies etc. too? Jesus Christ this is disgusting.
    EVERYONE CALL AND COMPLAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m never using Paypal again until this changes.

  3. PayPal should focus its efforts on improving its payment system and lowering cost to clients rather than policing the morals of its users. Let’s find examples of businesses using PayPal to sell alcohol and see if PayPal will cut those customers off too.

  4. That sucks i love pay-pal when im on ebay. Now im gona havta complain and not use it. MY KINGDOM FOR SOME LOGIC AND UNDERSTANDING. What has pot done to the world to be hated so? You dont see stoners lining the gutters and alleyways with track marks up and down the arm. We dont suck dick to get a joint. We dont even have cold sweats and hallucinations when we quit. Ive seen 3 family members WASTE away literally cuz of cigarettes. I almost wasted away because of meth. Pot is innocent and ive had my fuckin fill of stupidity.

  5. Papal is now boycotted. I hope they lose a huge revenue stream and that potential goes to the next green entrepreneur. Forget paypal not working with us rather remember the day we began working for ourselves. We can show them the power of the collective people against the tyrannical corporation called government. Don’t wait till we are a single number in a single world bank with imposed servitude to taxation for generations to come. How dare my liberty be restricted by religious ideology, corporate greed or overpowering government control. The time is now more than yesterday to stand up and prevent the destruction of a free tomorrow. Yes we cannabis! (added by Mobile using Mippin)

  6. That phone number is allowing me to get to a customer service rep. Just directs me to their online website. I’ve got a better phone number. Ignore their voice commands and press “0” twice. 402-935-2050. They will ask for your email, account info. If you don’t have one or don’t want to give it, just let them know you are calling to register a complaint about their terms of service and this issue. Mention’s story on it…I’m on hold right now asking for the press department as I’m trying to get a comment from them for a story on and my blog on it..

  7. That phone number is NOT allowing me to get to a customer service rep. Just directs me to their online website. I’ve got a better phone number. Ignore their voice commands and press “0? twice. 402-935-2050. They will ask for your email, paypal, ebay account info. If you don’t have one or don’t want to give it, just let them know you are calling to register a complaint about their terms of service and this issue. Mention’s story on it…I’m on hold right now asking for the press department as I’m trying to get a comment from them for a story on and my blog on it..

  8. Your portrayal of paypal as SATAN the DEVIL is right on . While they accept money for sale of prescription drugs or Alcohol ( Wine sales in particular ) which kill more people than anything they will not have anything to do with marijuana .I already stated in a previous post
    because of her ties with , John McCain whose wife made her millions off of drug sales ( alcoholic beverages ) & he wanted to keep up the raids & closures of The Dispensaries.( See the ties here of Alcohol & marijuana ? )Her ads here in , California say she will bring ” NEW ” ideas to California . She is the DEVIL herself with lies and deception and her lust for Power .A vote for her and we will be turning the clock back on cannabis progression .

  9. This is absolutely unbelievable. Clearly there is some straight edge higher-up in PayPal that called that shot. I will never use PayPal again and I hope that many others are getting this information and reacting the same. Stand up for you rights!

  10. I am so upset to see this. I have been a paypal user for many many many years. I personally am a medical patient protected by amendment 20 in colorado. I am no longer going to continue to use thier services because of this decision. I sent the following email to paypal. I hope many many others will follow. Email is:Hello,
    After hearing of paypals decision to disallow donations to norml I am requesting my account with paypal to be closed. I am a medical Patient protected under amendment 20 in the State of Colorado. Your company does not want to be “involved” is just plain sick. Your high paid executives should have enough common sense to read research done by medical professionals around the world proving medical marijuana is in fact an effective medication that can stop and eliminate cancer along with treating numerous other conditions. What a shame your company will allow alcohol business owners to conduct their business through your company. A substance that kills tens of thousands of people each year and yet there is NO documented case of any person being harmed by marijuana. In fact your company specifically stopped norml because of medical marijuana dispensary donations. More than half of the american people feel medical marijuana is needed and more states are backing it up everyday. It is upsetting your company is so blind. I will be spreading this unfortunate news around. I suffer severe nausea and severe pain. All medical patients suffer from a major condition. It is unfortunate paypal does not care how patients feel. Norml is for patient rights and human rights why is it paypal would rather see patients suffer?What happened to people in this world actually caring for one another. I now believe paypal is like any other corporation and has no feelings for its customers. This decision backs up that conclusion and I no longer wish to support a company who honestly doesnt care about my health or my quality of life.

  11. I just closed my paypal account with the following message.
    Until Pay pay revokes their actions concerning the CaNorml and allows CaNorml to continue operation under Pay pals services, I will no longer have a personal Pay pal account nor will I use Pay pal on my online business.
    Pay pal should stand for liberty, human rights, and patient rights. A doctor has the right to decide along with a patient which medications are acceptable and necessary in treating a patients illness.
    Sadly, the stance Pay pal has taken undermines true liberty in the same context of the Federal Governments ‘War on Drugs’ that is both nationally unsupported, discriminatory, and destructive to the personal rights one has to their own body.
    I advocate that Pay pal reside with the American people and not the Federal Government which has abused and waged war on its own people for the sake of profit and agenda in private prisons, pharmaceuticals, military style policing, and other areas reaching as far as private banking profits from laundering money.
    Good day!

  12. I am an occasional PayPal user. I think that I will now request all of my funds on deposit to be sent to me by check and quit using the service entirely.
    Is this a overreaction?
    PS: is Kellogg still under boycott?

  13. Cool, Give me a good reason to not use their service any longer. Now i dont need to buy Kellogs or use Paypal. In times with no money they are making it easier to save money.

  14. … Wow… it amazes me that they took such a stance. I imagine maybe the FEDs must be getting onto them? I don’t understand how they can just deny you like that when all their service does is electronically transfer your money. I mean I understand their policy I just dont understand… why I guess…?

  15. Paypal sucks and the more people who know of their scammy business practices, the better. Inform and educate people. Have them check out CannabisPlanet and

  16. They pulled the sane bs with Weed Connection dot com over a year ago. Fuck PayPal! I still have the many emails documented an of you guys sue them which you should since norml has the resources, then I will gladly share my evidence against them. ps we switched to google checkout which is much better (added by Mobile using Mippin)

  17. As a marijuana consumer I choose to no longer use paypal as a means to make online payments due to their ridiculous approach on handling this situation.

  18. Paypal has lost much of it’s reputation over the past couple of years. I have had a lot of problems with them- they updated their site last month and my site was down for 4 days because they didn’t find a need to let me know. That is 4 days of loss of transactions.
    I won’t be using them for much longer after reading this!

  19. I never liked using Paypal anyway. They seemed to have a problem everytime I used them and there security is sketchy. Go Norml!!!

  20. paypal has always SUCKED! Amazon has a new payment system JUST LIKE paypal but without all the lame rules. might be worth checking into.

  21. I’ve had problems with them in the past. Freezing account balances for 30+ days after a winning bid (so they can accrue interest!!) and other stuff. I will DEFINATELY cancel my account after hearing this. So Google checkout is a good alternative? Any other suggestions for alternatives (specifically ebay friendly?).

  22. On the line right now with them.
    Canceling my account and making sure I let a few people know that I am canceling it SPECIFICALLY because they stopped letting NORML use their service.
    Everyone call!!! And cancel your account with them if you have one, and make sure they know why youre canceling it.

  23. I do several hundred Pay-Pal transactions each month. This will be the last day until further notice.

  24. Actually this is the way paypal is. They are picky, and have burned many people on ebay in the past.
    if you like to complain on their dime here is their toll-free 888 number
    (888) 221-1161

  25. If everyone that smokes marijuana closed their paypal accounts , I think they’d get a clue. but heck I dont trust paypal myself so there you go

  26. I went to my PayPal account website and used the Send Money option and used and sent in my dues. My Money being sent to who I want. They better just sent it on!

  27. Yes we are still boycotting Kelloggs! I also have continued my boycott on Subway regardless of their PR propaganda.
    I wish some one with the resources made a website called something like where a list of companies who are giving the cannabis community the cold shoulder can be displayed for boycott. Also, it would be great to have another list on the page of the most cannabis community friendly businesses.
    My newest favorite cannabis friendly business is CHeBA HUT @
    The site would be a hit and maybe is the buying leverage we need to get companies behind our cause. Why would anyone buy products from a company that discriminates against their kind.
    That’s like a black man buying from the KKK or other white supremacists….

  28. paypal just stole 60.22 from me the other day and I keep emailing them telling them to give it back and they won’t reply. now I can’t pay my ebay fees and soon they will suspend my account. I don’t know how the hell they are still in business.

  29. I’ve used Paypal many times over the past few years. I for one, am no longer a user as of today, hope we all do the same!
    P.S. call or write!!!!!

  30. This is another fine example of a going out of business plan similar to that of Kelloggs. You would think that people in the corner office might look into this strategy before leaping off that cliff. Maybe someone should send them the phone number to the executives at Kelloggs so they can make plans for the loss of business they have both chosen.

  31. But Paypal has no problem working with EBAY to facilitate the sale of counterfeit merchandise and illegal CDs, DVDs and books which they are WELL aware of.

  32. Not much of a better option B. I tried using google checkout for my online store but it sucked and was a pain in the butt to use. Don’t keep more than you can afford to lose in the account though – they will steal it if they have a reason. Evil, evil people. Like the fuggin’ IRS – they WILL KEEP YOUR MONEY. Play it safe. I hate ’em but I need ’em. Sucks, but that’s how it goes.

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