Two California City Council members became the first elected officials to use cryptocurrency to buy marijuana from a dispensary on Tuesday, at least publicly.
Berkeley City Council Member Ben Bartlett and Emeryville City Council Member Dianne Martinez visited Emeryville's Ohana Cannabis shop to show how transaction fees can be reduced and financial transparency improved by technology.
The technology they used, called stablecoin, is a form of digital currency that has "price stable characteristics" associated with the U.S. dollar, meaning that the sale and tax proceeds have been settled in a manner consistent with cash.
Blockchain Advocacy Coalition, which is backing the technology, is advocating for legislation that would enable local jurisdictions in California to "determine and implement a method by which a licensee under [the state's legal cannabis program] may remit any city or county cannabis license tax amounts due by payment using stablecoins."
"By providing a cash-free method of cannabis tax collections, AB 953 can reduce costs and safety risks for cities and businesses," Bartlett said in a press release. He added that the marijuana industry is "a 21st-century industry" that "deserves 21st-century legislation."