How to buy cannabis with bitcoin

Friday, 18 January 2019
London, UK
By Sam Volkering

  • When holidays were discovered at the pharmacy
  • From cash to cannabis and crypto
  • Are you a technophobe, luddite or visionary?

I remember the first time I saw a mobile phone in person. While I don’t remember the exact year, I do remember what it looked like. And I do remember I was still at school. That would roughly put the timeframe in the late 80s to early 90s.

It was a big chunk of a thing. Far bigger than the handset you’d find on payphones at the time. But the most notable thing was the giant rubber aerial sticking out the top of it. I remember that aerial because I can vaguely remember my brother whipping me on the legs with it, and Dad not being happy about us playing with it in such a way.

Back then not many people had mobile phones. After all, why would you really need one unless you were a big-swingin’ business person? If I wanted to call someone, I’d call from the home phone. Or if by chance you needed to call someone when out, you’d use a payphone, perhaps even with one of those high-tech phone cards.

Sometimes they answered, sometimes they didn’t. That would then lead to other self-motivated actions like walking home or taking the bus. Or burning some time at the shops and then calling again — and then walking home.

It was an interesting time to be alive. It was also one of those exciting times when you would go on holiday with the family. That’s not out of the ordinary, you might think…

Except when you went on a holiday in the 80s and 90s no one else knew what it was like until you got home. You’d take the film out of the camera, pop down to the shops — usually the Kodak section at the pharmacy — and get the film developed.

You’d then head over to the food court, grab a muffin and milkshake from Muffin Break, do some grocery shopping at Safeway, then go pick up the pictures. Some of the pictures would have a thumb over them, some would be out of focus or out of framing. And you’d maybe get a dozen or so decent ones that you’d pop into the photo book when you got home.

Ah, the good old days…


Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 162.94 points, or 0.67%.

The S&P 500 gained 19.86 points, or 0.76%.

In Europe, the Euro Stoxx 50 index finished down 7.87 points, or 0.26%.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 fell 0.40%, and Germany’s DAX lost 12.62 points, or 0.12%.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is down 263.06 points, or 1.29%. China’s CSI 300 is down 1.29%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 is up 32.40 points, or 0.55%.

On the commodities markets, West Texas Intermediate crude oil is US$52.63 per barrel. Brent crude is US$61.75 per barrel.

Turning to gold, the yellow metal is trading for US$1,291.89 (AU$1,796.08) per troy ounce. Silver is US$15.54 (AU$21.61) per troy ounce.

One bitcoin is worth US$3,610.02.

The Aussie dollar is worth 71.94 US cents.

Shove that up your technophobic undies

I also remember the day we got our first digital telephone. We headed down to Brandon Park shopping centre in Melbourne’s South Eastern suburbs. Parked the car and headed towards the Tandy electronics store.

The phone itself was wireless. Incredible really, because the phone downstairs was an old rotary dial phone, which you had to stand next to when talking to someone. But you could walk all over the house with this new one (a Panasonic).

Incredible stuff.

It wasn’t too long after that we got our first flatscreen TV as well. It was a 62cm Samsung flat screen (because TVs weren’t measured in inches yet). The screen was square; I mean, why would it be anything except square? It was a beast of a thing, deeper than it was wide and it took two of us to lift it.

Money also was predominately cash. We had bank cards and you could get money out at the bank teller, or at the ATM. Occasionally you’d use the bank card to pay in the shop, but it was better to just get the cash before you went in.

There’s a reason for this trip down memory lane. And it’s because people often forget how fast things move. And more importantly, that technological progress is exponential. The term we prefer to use is technological compounding. It’s something we’ve written about for years now, but it’s a simple idea. New technology is built on new technology, creating ever more advanced technology.

It’s like how your money would compound with interest. Except it’s not money, it’s technology. What’s exciting though is when you can see the obvious trends, then you can also make money if you can appreciate the relative nature of time — and have a little patience.

You see, this week I did something that 20 years ago — even just 10 years ago — would have seemed ridiculous. And actually would have been impossible.

A couple of years back I decided to try out legal cannabidiols. CBD is the non-psychoactive part of cannabis. It’s perfectly legal to buy and consume in the UK. Note: it’s now legal to get medical cannabis prescribed in the UK too.

Anyway I bought a ‘Medipen’. It’s a CBD vape pen. It electronically burns the CBD oil in the little vape cannister that it comes with. You inhale the CBD vapor and that’s it. It’s charged via USB and you can buy the refill cartridges from Medipen’s website.

Here’s the original piece I wrote in Money Morning back in April 2017.

When I first bought Medipen, I paid with a debit card online. That alone is a significant change from what would have been possible 20 years ago.

But this week, I decided to get another batch of Medipen refills. I should probably note, I’m not 100% sure if the CBD vape helps me or not. I don’t have any existing underlying conditions to judge it against. But as noted in my original article, it’s unlikely to kill me unless someone dropped a box of the stuff on my head…

When it came to check out online for my order this week, I noticed a new payment option. I took a screenshot so you can see it for yourself.

chart image

Source: Screenshot from Medipen
Click to enlarge

You should see the ‘Pay With Cryptocurrency’ option ticked. That’s because I was able to check out and pay for my cartridges using bitcoin.

Now, there are a lot of so-called experts out there that say one of the downsides of bitcoin is it’s not suitable as a currency. I beg to differ.

In fact the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) released a survey this week explaining that:

Usage of cryptocurrencies is assessed to be either minimal (“trivial/no use”) or concentrated in niche groups.

According to an article in Forbes:

The survey revealed that most BIS member central banks think cryptocurrency use “will remain minor” due to “low retail acceptance, compliance issues, better public understanding by the general public of the risks involved and, for some jurisdictions, outright bans.”

The BIS has form when it comes to criticism of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. In June last year they put out a scathing report on the flaws of decentralised systems and cryptocurrencies. We had a bit to say on it back then too.

But the fact is using bitcoin to pay for goods and services right now isn’t widespread. And only 20 years ago using a bank card to pay for goods and services wasn’t widespread either. In 20 short years we’ve gone from rotary dial phones and phone cards and cash to a world where I can buy legal cannabis e-vape extracts online using bitcoin.

Put that into perspective. And shove that up your technophobic undies, BIS. Perspective, patience, time — these are critical elements needed to let technology revolutions play out. And we’re in the midst of a technological revolution.

In fact, we’re in the midst of multiple technology revolutions. It’s causing immense change, it’s causing immense fear and uncertainty. And in an already fearful and uncertain world, that terrifies the life out of a lot of people.

Not us. We’ve never been as optimistic and excited about the next 10 or 20 years. We’re witnesses to incredible change right now. Those technophobes who can’t handle it will watch the opportunities sail by. But if you can take perspective on what’s happening and what it could lead to, then how can you not want to get your slice of this action?

Some of the biggest trends in technology that we’ve ever seen are converging. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, the cannabis biotech breakthrough, autonomous technology, augmented realities, the gamification of the world, transhumanism (the coexistence of human and machine). These are world defining breakthroughs happening today.

The technophobes and luddites are terrified of it all. Don’t be a technophobe, don’t be a luddite. Be a part of the revolution.