NORML abruptly loses financial services; is marijuana prejudice to blame?(Photo credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Is “prejudice against marijuana” to blame for NORML’s financial services termination?

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), one of the oldest and largest nonprofit, pro-marijuana legalization public interest lobbies in the United States, has lost its donation processing services — and NORML founder Keith Stroup says marijuana prejudice is to blame.

According to Stroup, NORML “abruptly” lost its ability to accept credit and debit card donations last week after the company that processes its donations, TransFirst, discovered NORML’s pro-legalization advocacy work.

As a nonprofit that largely depends on donations made through its website, this “glitch presents a serious threat to the organization,” Stroup wrote in a blog entry Monday.

TransFirst said it ceased processing NORML’s web donations because the group is part of the “marijuana industry,” according to Stroup. He counters that NORML is a public interest lobby with no financial stake in the marijuana industry.

Stroup believes NORML is being denied business services “simply because we have a website that promotes the legalization of marijuana.”

Per NORML Blog:

“I am angry that some mid-level executive at TransFirst was able and willing to disrupt our work at NORML based on the content of the advocacy on our website.

“That represents a totally unnecessary act (there is no theory under federal law that would penalize a company for providing financial services to NORML), and one that smacks of an anti-marijuana prejudice that is reminiscent of the days of “reefer madness.”

“We are being penalized for our political views.”

Stroup says NORML is now looking for a new financial services provider “that will not be frightened by our political views.”

TransFirst did not immediately return Extract’s requests for comment.

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