WELLNESS CONNECTION OF MAINE CEO Patricia Rosi and Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber Executive Director Cory King cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Bath location on Centre Street last September.

WELLNESS CONNECTION OF MAINE CEO Patricia Rosi and Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber Executive Director Cory King cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Bath location on Centre Street last September.

BATH

For the first time, medical marijuana users in the Midcoast are able to purchase cannabis without cash.

The Wellness Connection of Maine, a nonprofit which operates four out of the eight regional medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, has introduced a new mobile app to their facilities to allow a safer, more convenient way to pay for their products. The app, CanPay, connects to users’ checking accounts and produces a single-use bar code for any transaction. It’s the first app for the cannabis industry of its kind.

THE WELLNESS CONNECTION OF MAINE moved its Thomaston dispensary to Centre Street in Bath last September.

THE WELLNESS CONNECTION OF MAINE moved its Thomaston dispensary to Centre Street in Bath last September.

Maine voted to legalize recreational marijuana just last year, and it legalized medical marijuana back in 2009. Yet despite the growing trend of legalization at the state and municipal level across the country, medical marijuana is still primarily a cash only industry.

“It’s credit card processors who do not want to operate with the cannabis industry due to our federal status,” said Wellness Connection CEO Patricia Rosi. “All the classic credit cards are not something we can use, so therefore we are a cash business only.”

“Federal law still says that marijuana is a Schedule 1 substance with no medicinal or therapeutic value on par with hard drugs like heroin,” said David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

That classification has serious implications for marijuana-related businesses.

“So that classification means a lot of banks won’t touch it,” said Boyer. “They’re worried about the federal intervention. They could be breaking the law by helping us.

“Again, medical marijuana is still 100 percent federally illegal, and at any moment the feds could come in and shut down Maine’s medical marijuana program,” he added.

Boyer said that while that is a highly unlikely scenario, the inherent uncertainty in the industry still causes many financial institutions to hesitate before engaging with marijuana-related businesses.

“This is why we are very excited to be able to offer CanPay as an alternative payment method … which is safer and easier for our patients,” said Rosi.

CanPay bypasses the risk-adverse credit card processors who do not want to be involved in marijuana-related businesses by directly connecting to users’ checking accounts.

“From a consumer experience, it works very simply. It’s an app that you download. You can set up your account in the privacy of your home if you choose,” said Rosi. “When the time comes to make a purchase, you pay via your app, which generates a unique bar code which we scan and it rings in your purchase.”

The bar code disappears after 30 minutes for security reasons.

Wellness Connection introduced Can- Pay at its Portland dispensary last month, but has since expanded to their three other locations, including Bath.

“We have deployed this in all of our facilities,” said Rosi. “We started in Portland as a test if you will, and the acceptance rate was so good and people really adopted this very quickly, so it’s already offered now in our four locations.”

The Wellness Connection has locations in Bath, Portland, Gardiner and Brewer.

[email protected]timesrecord.com

Mobile app

THE WELLNESS CONNECTION of Maine has introduced a new mobile app to their facilities to allow a safer, more convenient way to pay for their products. The app, CanPay, connects to users’ checking accounts and produces a single-use bar code for any transaction.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: