FALL RIVER â€“ It is the type of question that fills your brain when you have smoked marijuana.
What is money?
Pulling out a dollar bill wonâ€™t help, especially after you notice the eyeball on the back.
Andre Decorzo is willing to make the answer more complicated. And also offer a simple solution to the problem of money for people who grow, sell and buy marijuana on the legal market.
Decorzo and his brother, Alex Pedroza, run High Life Smoke Shop, loated at 357 Columbia St. in Fall River. The store sells marijuana pipes, papers, grinders and other supplies that are used to roll, smoke or vape marijuana.
All of that can be paid for through the crypto currency, GanjaCoin, that Decorzo created from the Bitcoin platform. It will operate digitally, like Bitcoin.
Though marijuana is legal for medical use in 31 states and for recreational use in nine states, it remains illegal under federal law.
Because of that, federally registered financial institutions cannot accept marijuana distributors as customers. Marijuana products cannot be purchased with credit cards, even where cannabis products are legal.
GanjaCoin and crypto currency is a way around that, Decorzo said.
â€śA lot of banks donâ€™t allow you to store your U.S. dollars if you own a dispensary,â€ť he said. â€śWith GanjaCoin, you can store it.â€ť
The intention, once the currency takes off, is to make one GanjaCoin equal to the value of one gram of marijuana. Users would keep a GanjaCoin app on their smart phones that would allow them to spend the currency or accept payment. Like Bitcoin, it could be used to purchase anything from anyone willing to accept it in payment.
â€śWe wanted to make it easier for people who want to purchase marijuana without carrying around a lot of cash,â€ť said Pedroza.
â€śPlus, in 2018, people donâ€™t want the government to know anything about what they are doing. There are a lot of privacy concerns.
â€śMaking people feel secure when they purchase their medicine is our main goal.â€ť
The smoke shop sells products containing the compound CBD, which is derived from the hemp plant. Hemp is a botanical cousin to marijuana, but it does not contain THC, the compound that produces the high associated with marijuana.
CBD has been found to be effective as a pain reliever and a treatment for anxiety.
The company is also trying to raise the capital to apply for a state license to sell marijuana products for the recreational market.
The smoke shop opened in May. Business has improved every month, Pedroza said.
The story is ready to accept GanjaCoin, but has not had anyone offer the currency yet, he added.
But, eventually, that will happen, Decorzo said. Especially if they get their dispensary license.
â€śWe are using this time to get organized,â€ť he said.