PayPal Violates First Amendment, Dumps CaNORML

September 23, 2009 – PayPal, the online payment company, has told California NORML it has made the decision not to accept payments from our “type of business” over a disagreement about accepting listing payments from cannabis-recommending physicians.

After years of offering free listings to physicians and collectives, CaNORML began charging a yearly membership fee to cover our costs.

PayPal froze CaNORML’s account in June, saying that by accepting listing fees from collectives, 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, but 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.

By a Supreme Court ruling, physicians are not permitted to distribute medical marijuana or even assist their patients in finding it. (Conant v. Walters, 2003). The Court ruled that physicians have the first amendment right to discuss medical marijuana with their patients. 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, strong-arm tactics and its infringement 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 in 2002.

Complain to: PayPal, 2211 N 1st St, San Jose 95131 – (408) 376-7400

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