Dispensaries are still experiencing growing pains while the cannabis industry finds its footing on the state and federal level. These problems are fairly universal to all dispensaries but there are developments that can help. In this article, we'll identify the major issues standing in the way of dispensaries and reveal some remedies to these problems.
Banking is the number one problem for all dispensaries. Dispensaries generate a large amount of cash income. Unfortunately almost all federally insured banks take a hands-off approach to dispensaries. This is due to cannabis still being considered federally illegal. Banks aren't willing to risk the funds being confiscated, virtually crippling the bank itself. The question then becomes what to do with all that cash?
Modern technology has spawned a few electronic payment hubs that can help with payroll, and making payments. The only problem with these are, they need to be connected to a personal bank account to make deposits. Some brick and mortar banks and credit unions are attempting to provide a safe and secure system for dispensaries. Florida's First Green Bank has established accounts with six out of the seven licensed dispensaries in the state. They're able to do so without ever laying a finger on the money itself.
Armored trucks pick up deposits and transport the cash directly to a local federal reserve where it is deposited. While they don't actually see the money, First Green Bank tracks every penny. They also monitor the complete seed to sale process to ensure both the dispensary and the bank are meeting all tax regulations. They can accommodate dispensaries due to Florida's lack of legal language regarding financial institution interactions. It has taken a while for them to implement this service but it gives a glimmer of hope to the rest of the industry. There are other credit unions out there but finding them will take a bit of digging. We know you're up to the challenge.
There a couple of major concerns when discussing security for dispensaries. The first is theft prevention, and this is a primary issue because people go to incredible lengths to steal product and money. Almost every state that has legal medical marijuana also has stringent security regulations that must be met by dispensaries.
Installing equipment for video surveillance and reinforced doors and windows can be pricey. However, the real cost is accrued from the data storage of a 24/7 surveillance system. This is the second big concern as many states require video footage to be saved for years. This can really skyrocket expenses for a burgeoning business.
Lastly, cyber security can cause huge problems for a dispensary if their point-of-sale software is compromised. There are new developments in the security sector that are offering dispensaries piece-of-mind. Point-of-sale software such as IndicaOnline has maximum-security data centers in multiple locations. The security centers are protected against cyber attacks using 256-bit SSL file encryption and 24/7 armed attendants. The measures must be taken to ensure the safety of the dispensary and their patient's information. When it comes to surveillance, Cannaguard has made strides in providing installation and storage at a reasonable price point.It's essential for dispensaries to understand that with legality comes regulation so investing in security now will save thousands down the road.
Make no doubt about it, the cultivation and sale of marijuana is illegal on the federal level. While federal bureaus have said they'll only crack down on dispensaries who aren't state compliant, there is no guarantee. The good news is, progress is being made on Capitol Hill for legal cannabis as more Senator's are supporting legalization. Although don't expect the federal laws to change much under the current administration.
The real problem this poses to dispensaries are mentioned above. Lack of support from the federal government impedes financial and security institutions from entering the cannabis industry. ADT, the largest security company in the nation, doesn't provide their services to dispensaries in fear of losing government contracts.
The largest financial corporations are in the same boat. The best way to combat this problem is creating and joining unified organizations that support representatives who advocate legalization. Donate generously to these organizations and in the meantime, stay state compliant.
Currently, cannabis is still classified as a schedule I drug. This is a huge hurdle in developing ground breaking medicine and the overall progression to legal cannabis. This week, the California assembly sent a formal request to the federal government asking them to declassify Cannabis as a schedule I drug. This is the first state request of it's kind and if it's successful it will have enormous repercussions.
Once the federal government reclassifies cannabis, well funded research can begin expediting discovery exponentially. As soon as the medical community accepts the benefits of medicinal cannabis, a real shift in perception will give away to sprawling legalization. This will create a high demand for dispensaries in every state and help stabilize the economy.
The Black Market
There will always be a black market for government regulated products. Once legalization is a reality the black market will target those who are unable to purchase cannabis legally, youth under 18. This is the real danger of black market marijuana. The objective is to reduce the chances of drug related crimes and tainted product.
The black market operates without regulation and poses real threats to minors who are curious about cannabis. To prevent these problems, law enforcement will need to be diligent about focusing their efforts on criminals who exploit the system. Watchdog organizations may need to lead the charge and dispensaries will need to be wary of unauthorized resale. Criminals with a background of selling on the black market will need to be blacklisted from dispensaries state or even nationwide.