Payqwick: The ‘Starbucks’ Card for Legal Weed

Culture / News

Payqwick is currently Washington’s only way of purchasing recreational marijuana with a debit card because of banks shying away from the industry.

Sera Jane Ghaly
Nov 12, 2015
Payqwick marijuana card

You heard correctly – PayQwick is Washington State’s new way of purchasing recreational marijuana from stores. It’s currently Washington’s only way of purchasing recreational marijuana with a debit card because of banks shying away from the industry. 

With the discrepancy between federal and state laws and banks generally working at a national level, there is continuing difficulty for dispensaries to associate with banks. However, with the industry growing at the rate that it is, the cannabis industry is continuing to pump out creative solutions.

Washington’s first and only card for legal weed
payqwick washington Payqwick: The Starbucks Card for Legal Weed
Photo credit: THC Finder

Up until now, people have had to show up at dispensaries with cash, because most dispensaries can’t accept debit or credit cards. Because marijuana is still illegal at a federal level, banks have been shy to associate with the industry, and it is then hard for dispensaries to get card machines. Some dispensaries have had to resolve the issue by offering in-store ATM machines, but this also costs the patient more money.

However, PayQwick is now the first federally registered money business licensed by the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions for use in the recreational marijuana industry. So that means that people no longer have to carry cash to buy their weed. It also means the patient can pay for their weed discretely, and the dispensary doesn’t receive any of their personal information. And there are no ATM or transaction fees.

payqwick pq Payqwick: The Starbucks Card for Legal Weed
Photo credit: PayQwick

It works by loading it up online before you go to buy your weed. Once you’re there, you just have to swipe your card and type in your PIN like a regular credit card. The banking service allows the person to buy marijuana anonymously, because it won’t be linked to their regular bank account.

It will even have the function of being able to send money to anyone else through a mobile phone, just with an email address. This means citizens of Washington State can send their friends money for weed directly through their mobile phone. That sounds like ultimate weed sharing convenience. It also means they can budget for their weed as soon as they get paid, by loading up their card.

Other payment alternatives budding in the industry

payqwick cards Payqwick: The Starbucks Card for Legal Weed

Until the federal government legalises marijuana at their level, it is unlikely banks will be signing up to work in the marijuana industry. So some other alternatives have made themselves visible as a response to this issue.

One such is called GreenStar Payment Solutions, based in Denver. It is a similar sort of process as PayQwick, with a cashless system that allows customers to pay with a debit card. So once the card is loaded, it can be used just like a credit card in dispensaries, where the customer’s money is directly deposited into the dispensaries account.

There are rumors that some people in the marijuana industry are looking to offer customers a means to pay by bitcoin, an online, virtual money system. But at this stage, at least one bit coin processor has been reluctant to get involved with the marijuana industry, too.

Sera Jane Ghaly
Nov 12, 2015