When we opened our virtual doors last week, we could not have been more elated! It was a time of celebration and pride, but one dark cloud loomed above the festivities: PayPal.
As you may have noticed, our shop does not display a PayPal option at checkout. For a few brief hours, it did. Until we got a notice that our account had been permanently deactivated, any funds we had were on hold, with no option to appeal. When we reached out to PayPal for a chance to reason with customer service, we were told, in no uncertain terms,:
“We appreciate your interest in PayPal. Unfortunately, our decision to close your account is final.”
PayPal’s reason for permanently closing our account:
“In order to protect the integrity of the PayPal service, we cannot disclose the specific criteria that we sometimes use to limit access to accounts.”
We love a good secret, but not when it negatively impacts our business.
We decided to share this information with our Twitter audience:
Twitter support jumped in and urged us to message them directly, which we did. After far more time than we thought we’d need to spend on this issue, our account has been permanently deactivated, no appeal; no conditions for re-qualification; no chance to explain our business is only cannabis-related, not a dispensary.
Why are we telling you all of this?
Because we are not the first business, and will not be the last, to be banned because of our relation to the cannabis industry. PayPal has a long, documented history of hostility towards companies occupying this space. Though they would not tell us directly, their ambiguous, legalese answers have made it very clear that our relation to the cannabis industry is why they deactivated our account.
PayPal is not the only company that operates in this fashion. Banks and the housing industry routinely deny service to cannabis workers, even in states where it has been legalized. People who are simply trying to make an honest, legal living from an industry that rakes in billions of dollars are being turned away en masse, and it’s wrong. The beliefs around cannabis users and providers are outdated and based in scare-mongering rhetoric that is generations’-old.
This is why Green Witch, and many companies like us, exist. To not only educate, but to fight for the legalization of cannabis on the federal level. Even with legalization, barriers still exist until we end the stigma of a plant that has been unfairly demonized by the government and media for decades.
That’s why, if the day comes when PayPal changes it’s mind, we do not intend to forget how they have treated us and so many others.
We thank you, PayPal, for showing us from day one that you are no friend of ours. Green Witch will never use your service, and we will be glad for it.
Has PayPal done this to you or others you know? Tell us in the comments!