By "Radical" Russ Belville According to Intuit, a doctor recommending medical marijuana to a patient in a state where that's legal is an "unacceptable business practice."
Intuit, the financial software giant behind Quicken and Quickbooks, has revoked the merchant services account of Alternative Medical Choices Inc. (AMC), a medical clinic that offers
consultations with doctors for the approval of medicinal cannabis use under Oregon law, claiming that service is an “unacceptable business practice.”
Iva Cunningham, owner of AMC, says her company had been approved for use of Intuit’s Merchant Services. The service allows the clinic to bill for services by credit or debit card. The clinic had successfully billed for a number of appointments until today, when Intuit informed Mrs. Cunningham they were terminating the account because AMC is “involved with medical marijuana."
Mrs. Cunningham explained, “I told Intuit the only ‘involvement with medical marijuana’ by our clinic is in reviewing patient records to qualify for medical cannabis use under the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. We don’t dispense medical cannabis and we never have medical cannabis on the premises. We’re not only following Oregon’s state laws regarding medical marijuana, we’re not breaking any federal laws,” referring to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Conant v. Walters that upheld a physician’s right to recommend medical cannabis use to a patient.
Intuit responded that the decision to drop AMC was due to “unacceptable businesses practices”. Intuit’s rep said that Mrs. Cunningham had not mentioned medical marijuana in her application for services. Mrs. Cunningham said there was nothing in Intuit’s application requiring that disclosure and that her service is a “medical consultation” and just one of many medical and educational services the clinic offers.
Alternative Medical Choices is a new specialty clinic in Portland, Oregon, that offers therapeutic massage, acupuncture, cooking classes for specialized diets, one-on-one yoga sessions, and education on the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act in addition to consultations with a physician concerning medical cannabis use.
The Intuit rep continued to explain that they had discovered AMC’s involvement with medical marijuana by looking up the clinic’s web site. Mrs. Cunningham asked why her clinic was being singled out when there are over 3,000 doctors in Oregon who have legally recommended medical cannabis use. ”Do you intend on terminating all of their accounts as well?” she asked.
Intuit responded that they wouldn’t and that AMC’s case is different because medical marijuana is featured on the website. ”So if we were to take down all reference to medical marijuana on our website, would you then reinstate our account?” Mrs. Cunningham wondered.
“No, because now we know,” was the Intuit rep’s reply.
Mrs. Cunningham contends that the choice by Intuit to terminate merchant services for a lawfully-operating medical clinic offering cannabis as a medical option is purely a moral prejudice that should not be tolerated. ”If Intuit decided homosexuality and abortion were immoral and then terminated services with HIV/AIDS clinics and Planned Parenthood clinics, they’d be blasted for their intolerance,” she suggested.
“Our patients are suffering with cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain and so on,” she continued. ”For many patients it is the best treatment option and for some who are allergic to certain phamaceuticals like me, it is the only option. We require extensive medical documentation of a legally-qualifying condition before the patient even sees the doctor. We deserve the same business respect as clinics that provide any consulting service, whether it’s weight loss counseling, couples therapy, or legal permission to use a medicinal herb.”
Intuit’s decision to reject medical marijuana referral clinics is just one financial service that has refused to do business with legal businesses that aren’t buying, selling, or growing cannabis. PayPal, the online payment service, dropped its accounts with the websites of California NORML and CelebStoner.com for accepting advertising from medical cannabis referral services.