A Californian politician has become the first elected official to use cryptocurrency to purchase cannabis in the United States.

A press release shared with CryptoNewspeople on Sept. 11 revealed that Berkely City Councilmember Ben Bartlett used Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and the stablecoin Universal Dollar (UPUSD) to make the purchase at Ohana Cannabis, a dispensary in Emeryville, CA.

The purchase was part of a live demonstration of crypto-financial technology conducted by blockchain company Cred and the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition. The latter is a group of California-based businesses and consumers that work to promote transparent blockchain legislation at a state and national level.

Cannabis Tax Remittance Via Stablecoin

According to the press release, the initiative forms part of the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition’s sponsorship of a new bill (AB 953) that would enable California to accept cannabis tax remittance via stablecoin. During the demonstration, the team at Cred was reportedly on hand to explain the ins and outs of blockchain and stablecoin technology to local elected officials.

The transaction involved Ohana accepting Bitcoin Cash by using Cred’s LBA token as a translation utility, with sales and city tax proceeds settled in Universal Dollar. 

Universal Dollar — which runs on the Ethereum blockchain and is pegged to the US dollar — was developed by the Universal Protocol Alliance, a coalition of blockchain firms including Cred, Uphold and Blockchain at Berkeley. 

In a statement, Dan Schatt — co-founder of Cred and the Universal Protocol Alliance — outlined:

“Not only does crypto result in significant cost reduction for consumers and merchants, but it also enables highly productive tax collection, transparency, and predictability for city and state governments.”

Crypto for the Green Rush industry

As the press release notes, 70% of California’s state cannabis industry is unbanked, significantly increasing both the risks and costs faced by local governments required to accept tax remittance in large cash deposits.

Councilmember Bartlett remarked that in providing a cash-free mechanism for cannabis tax remittance, the proposed AB 953 bill represents a piece of innovative legislation appropriate for the 21st-century so-dubbed Green Rush industry.

The politician has now reportedly requested Berkley City staff to prepare a report on acceptance of cannabis taxes using stablecoin technology.

Back in 2018, the state of Ohio was hailed for its pioneering acceptance of Bitcoin (BTC) for enterprises’ tax liabilities. Several other U.S. states had pursued — but not yet succeeded in implementing — similar initiatives prior to Ohio.

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