It’s no secret that legal cannabis is stealing the financial spotlight, especially considering the $12.2 billion that has been generated by the industry in 2018 alone. But while money continues to be made, access to safe banking services continues to pose one of the biggest threats to the U.S. cannabis industry.
With cannabis still illegal on a federal level, and financial institutions are required to report to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, many of these institutions are fearful of hopping on the Pineapple Express. Further, many businesses are stuck in a cash-only world as credit card companies continue to deny consumers the right to purchase federally illicit substances such as cannabis. With current laws forcing many dispensaries to operate as a cash-only business, financial transparency is continuously reduced, not to mention the compass it creates for criminals who are aware of the cannabis and cash held under one roof.
Now, Columbia Care, a New York-based cannabis company with a presence in 12 U.S. states, has come up with the start of a possible bypass of the federal laws that have halted industry business from many major banks. The card, known as CNC (Columbia National Credit Card), will broaden payment options for customers, making Columbia Care the first and only cannabis company in the U.S. capable of directly accepting credit cards for cannabis purchases.
Columbia Care has already launched a successful pilot program for the CNC card in New York and plans to expand the program to company-run dispensaries in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Arizona later this month, with hopes of introducing the card to all of its U.S. locations by the end of the year.
“Through our extensive network of partners and painstaking attention to detail, we successfully navigated the complexities of the financial industry unique to cannabis and are proud to once again lead the way as the first company to solve this fundamental issue,” explained Columbia Care’s CEO, Nicholas Vita in a press release.