NORML Loses Its Credit Card Processor

NORML Loses Its Credit Card Processor

By Daron Babin - March 10, 2016

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) – the non-profit organization established in 1970 whose “mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable”, had its ability to collect donations on their website this week. The company – TransFirst – that had been doing their online donation processing dropped the organization because of their association with cannabis.

While the marijuana industry has historically been denied access to regular banking, NORML does not sell, grow or do anything hands on with the plant. As Kieth Stroup explained on the NORML blog earlier this week:

Without advance notice, NORML was notified by registered mail this past week that the company that processes our debit and credit card donations, TransFirst, had decided, apparently based on their review of our website, that we no longer qualify as a client, and they immediately ceased processing our credit card traffic. As with many non-profits, we depend to a large degree on donations from our website to fund our organization, so this (hopefully temporary) glitch presents a serious threat to the organization.

NORML is a not-for-profit public-interest lobby that represents the interests of responsible marijuana smokers. We do not grow or sell marijuana, nor do we have any financial interests in the marijuana industry. Nonetheless, when I asked TransFirst what rule we had violated, they said we were part of the “marijuana industry.”

NORML had been processing donations for many years, but TransFirst was recently acquired by TSYS from  Vista Equity Partners for approximately $2.35 billion, according to Business Wire.

As one commenter on the blog noted: “Does anyone else smell the sweet terpene fragrance of a lawsuit? Perhaps TransFirst could have argued cutting credit services to NORML PAC, by categorizing the for-profit lobby as part of the “marijuana industry,” but cutting services to NORML Foundation, a registered non-for-profit organization with stated bias that it is “part of the marijuana industry,” implying profit, means that NORML Foundation needs to calculate the lost revenue adding up and sue TransFirst for damages. Oh, and violation of 1st amendment rights; that should add up to a healthy award. File it in Federal court. Find another credit service. We’ll donate for that!”

Donations to NORML can still be made through PayPal with or without a PayPal account here.