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American Banks Missing Out On Legal Cannabis In Canada

S2S Insurance, cannabis insurance, contact Eric Rahn today, marijuana liability insurance, cannabis bankingThere are articles and news reports across the internet that recognize the money making potential in the legal cannabis industry. In the US, in states that have legalized marijuana in some form, people have invested heavily in the industry banking on big returns. People working in the trenches of the industry are starting to see early returns on their investments and they have the cash to prove it. While it is good to be rolling in dough, it is not ideal, and leads to some serious problems.

Most banks, large and small are not willing to extend their services to cannabis related businesses because of the plants status with the US government. Cannabis is listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the Controlled Substance Act. As long as this federal law lists the drug as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the financial industry will face significant challenges all the way from banking to merchant services by risking running afoul of federal law if they work with weed related businesses. The problem is not limited to the United States, it is impacting Canada as the entire country has legalized the use and sale of the drug.

Even though Canada legalized recreational marijuana and opened the door to a flurry of business activity, big banks in the United States and Canada are keeping the industry at arm’s length because of pot’s muddy legal picture in the United States.

Cannabis, while legal for recreational use in nine US states, and Washington D.C., remains illegal under US federal law. American banks have largely stayed away from providing services to the industry because federal regulations prohibit lenders from working with any business that deals in illegal drugs. Lenders could face money laundering charges in the United States if they do.

But banks could be missing out on a bonanza. The marijuana industry is expected to grow substantially in the next five years, with sales in the United States expected to hit $23.4 billion by 2022, according to cannabis market research group Arcview. Canadian sales are expected to hit $5.5 billion.

cannabis insurance specialists, s2s insurance specialists, legal cannabis, dispensary insurance, marijuana insuranceStill, most of the largest banks remain on the sidelines for now — even in Canada, where banks have to worry about potential compliance issues abroad. The American Bankers Association, the US industry’s powerful lobby, has said it wants Congress to resolve the conflict between federal and state laws so banks aren’t stuck in the middle, though it doesn’t have a position on legalization itself. Right now, banks that do decide to take a chance and quietly work with marijuana businesses are expected to file suspicious activity reports for every transaction related to those accounts — a huge and potentially expensive logistical headache. TD Bank (TD), the Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal (BMO), all of which have an international presence, declined to comment for this story.

As long as cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance there will be an inherent risk to working in the cannabis industry. Not only are there legal risks, but because normal financial services are not available, you’ll  be dealing in cash which posses it’s own set of problems. Your business could be targeted for theft and robbery, which may come with property damage and more. If you are considering or already involved in a cannabis related business, you need a risk management strategy. Reach out to S2S Insurance Specialists and talk with Eric Rahn about your business and risk management strategies.

read more at cnn.com

Cannabis Cash Creates Threat For Cannabis Business Owners

The cannabis industry is growing year-over-year as individual states legalize the plant. The industry is growing because of legalization, but also because of market demand. People are spending their hard earned cash on cannabis every day, which therein lies the problem. Cannabis cash is not accepted by most financial institutions and leaves cannabis business owners with few options on how to deal with the surplus of cash. When we reference cannabis cash, we are speaking directly to the actual printed currency used in transactions. Because financial institutions are beholden to federal law, most financial institutions frown upon participating in any transaction that involves the exchange or use of cannabis cash.

s2s insurance, eric rahn, marijuana insurance, dispensary insurance, lab testing insurance, cannabis cashAs long as the federal government views cannabis as a Schedule I drug along the lines of heroin and cocaine, financial institutions are at risk of being audited, fined, and possibly shut down for violating federal law if they partake in any transactions using cannabis cash. At S2S Insurance we see the accumulation of large amounts of cash problematic for a number of different reasons. “Cash Only” businesses invite criminal activity because criminals have an opportunity to obtain a large amount of cash that cannot be traced and can be used quickly to avoid capture. Cannabis business owners become targets for breaking and entering, robbery, and vandalism. An attempted robbery whether successful or not can leave a great deal of property damage, from broken windows or doors, to broken equipment, display cases, vaults or point of sale devises. That type of damage is costly to any business owner, not just those in the cannabis industry.

The marijuana business is booming in the US. According to a report from the investment bank Cowen, legal marijuana is set to hit $75 billion in sales by 2030, putting it on par with soda consumption. Marijuana cultivators are now listed on the NASDAQ, have former politicians on their board, and are backed by heavyweight investors like Leon Cooperman.

But for many big institutions, the risks of banking and lending to the cannabis industry under the current federal mandate just aren’t worth it, especially with all the extra paperwork and scrutiny it can generate.

“For cannabis businesses, this means that access to the basic financial products like checking and savings accounts can be elusive,” John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies issues pertaining to marijuana legalization, told Business Insider.

s2s insurance, eric rahn, marijuana insurance specialists, liability insurance for marijuana, dispensary insurance, cannabis cashTyler Beuerlein, a VP at Hypur, an Arizona-based fintech startup that acts as a middleman between banks and cannabis companies, told Business Insider that he believes there are “less than 30” banks willing to do business with the booming cannabis industry in the US.

That means the costs of doing business and remaining compliant with the byzantine patchwork of state and federal laws guiding the cannabis sector are much higher than in any other industry.

Every cannabis business owner that has the “cannabis cash” problem, should take the first step in protecting their business by getting cannabis insurance. Standard insurance polices will not be enough because of the uniqueness of the cannabis industry. Cannabis business owners should be working with experienced cannabis insurance specialists like Eric Rahn of S2S Insurance, to help determine the right risk management strategies for their business.

read more at businessinsider.com

California Cannabis Business Owners Remain at Risk As State Congress Rejects Banking Measure

Cannabis business owners are in the marijuana business to make money, which has become a major problem. Cannabis business owners are dealing with a reality in which they are having marketing and retail success that is generating large revenue numbers. The large revenue being generated is coming in the form of cash and cash only, unless the company is an ancillary business and even then there are challenges. Due to the federal government refusing to remove marijuana from a schedule I classification, banking institutions and cannabis business owners are having a tough time finding common ground. While it is true that a number of states have legalized marijuana either for medical use, recreational use or both, many financial insinuations  are refusing to work with marijuana related businesses due to fear of facing federal charges for money laundering while the plant is still considered illegal federally.

S2s Insurance, Eric Rahn, cannabis insurance specialists, Schedule 1, marijuana business, cannabis ancillary business, weed insuranceCalifornia has attempted to shield it’s financial institutions from federal punishment by introducing a measure that would allow the banks to open accounts for marijuana businesses without being punished by federal regulators. The measure was voted on and rejected by the state’s congressional committee. For the banks and cannabis business owners, their hands remained tied. Banks cannot risk federal prosecution for money laundering or even possibly a RICO (Racketeer, Influence, and Corrupt Organizations Act) charge for helping a cannabis related business deposit money into a bank. The federal government could come in at anytime to freeze and or seize the bank’s assets due to the illegality of marijuana which most banks are not willing to risk.

The broader measure would have prevented the U.S. Department of Treasury from taking any action to “penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling marijuana or marijuana products” in accordance with state or local law.

After a lengthy and impassioned debate during which at least 19 lawmakers spoke, it was defeated on a voice vote by the House Appropriations Committee.

Despite the fact that a growing number of states are legalizing marijuana for recreational or medical use, many financial institutions have remained reluctant to work with cannabis businesses for fear of running afoul of money laundering laws under ongoing federal prohibition.

s2s inaurance, eric rahn, weed banking, cannabis related business, cannabis insurance specialists, marijuana insuranceThe risk for the banking institutions is clear, frozen assets or seized assets both equal lost money. There is no insurance policy that can protect a bank if they are charged with federal crimes. The banks are protecting themselves by not working with cannabis business owners or cannabis related businesses. So how do cannabis related businesses protect themselves and from what exactly? While piles of cash seems like a good thing, the reality is that this creates a major liability and risk factor for business owners. As the money grows, storage becomes a problem. Where do you put large stacks of highly valuable and flammable currency? How do you transport it? And, how do you protect your business from would be thieves who know you have large amounts of cash on hand?

There are steps you can take logistically, such as large safes, special storage facilities, armored vehicle transport, and accounting teams designated for counting cash and keeping track of where the money physically is located. All this is very costly, but even with all this your business could easily become a target for a robbery. Your business could be targeted during business hours, after hours, or while the cash is in transport. As a cannabis business owner you should protect yourself, your team, and your business by working with the cannabis insurance specialists at S2S Insurance to properly assess your risk and develop a risk management profile. From Eric Rahn of S2S Insurance, “your cannabis business can’t afford to not have cannabis insurance.”

read more at forbes.com