Caveat Emptor

Caveat Emptor

"Let the Buyer Beware"

This article is to prevent cannabis cultivation centers and dispensaries from becoming victims of uncouth business practices. Check with your bank's Compliance Officer prior to signing any type of contractual agreement with third party vendors regarding adherence to banking laws and regulations.

Why the exorbitant banking fees?

As per the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970, financial institutions are required to perform enhanced due diligence on any business deemed high risk. The term "high risk" covers a wide spectrum of businesses including any business engaging in the medical cannabis field.

Although the State of Illinois suggests banks conduct a few extra steps above and beyond current guidelines for high risk customers, in reality the process requires little that incurs substantial costs. However, some are using this opportunity to charge you high fees simply to open a business account. Why?

How do I get cash to the bank?

That is up to you. There is no law requiring the use of specific vendors for cash/product delivery. If in the original application process you indicated the use of armored car service, security company, etc. you have the right to request an amendment to your plan. Seek out the competition and do not yield to coercion.

How smart is a smart safe?

Some of my clients have been approached by payment processing companies, kiosks, smart safes, and ATMs which at this time may not work. In most cases those funds flow electronically through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) by means of national banks under federal jurisdiction. After contact with some of these vendors, I learned that alternate names were used to conceal the fact that the business is engaging in the marijuana industry. If the bank becomes aware business may cease and you will be stuck with a contract for a product that does not work.

Additional questions: Who is insuring the money in the kisok/smart safe? Who is responsible for a software glitch? Who maintains the software and IT security so that your store data doesn't get hacked? After all, the Target breach was through a third party HVAC vendor.

In conclusion, research your options and contact a non-biased individual who is not financially motivated, but an expert in banking laws and regulations as well as the medical cannabis industry.


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