Hawaii Governor David Ige and state Financial Institutions Commissioner Iris Ikeda have announced the state is the first in the nation to implement a cashless system for medical cannabis related services.
Dispensaries in the United States have been battling a serious problem for quite some time – financial institutions refusing to deal with them out of fear of federal prosecution, as the feds still consider cannabis to be a Schedule I substance.
This situation has led to many in the industry having to work on a cash-only basis, install vaults and hire armed guards to protect their takings. This has been not only costly and inconvenient, but also poses a significant security threat to store owners and staff. For patients, it has meant having to carry significant sums of cash in order to acquire their medication.
That has now changed in Hawaii, with a deal inked with Colorado-based Safe Harbor Private Banking that will see dispensaries and other cannabis-related services having access to limited and temporary financial services via CanPay.
The woman behind Safe Harbor Private Banking is Sundie Seefried, CEO and president of Partner Colorado Credit Union. Ms. Seefried says Safe Harbor is the only compliance based cannabis banking program in the USA.
CanPay was the world’s first mobile debit application for the cannabis industry. For consumers, the service is free to sign up for and use; however, they will only be able to use debit cards as all major credit card brands are not providing services to the cannabis industry due to the federal government’s stance.
According to a press release, all eight of Hawaii’s dispensaries will have cashless operations by the first of next month. The state’s two operational dispensaries are already using the payment solution.
“This new cashless system enables the state to focus on patient, public and product safety while we allow commerce to take place,” said Gov. Ige. “This solution makes sense. It makes dispensary finances transparent and it makes it easier and safer for dispensaries to serve their patients and pay their employees and vendors,”
Other benefits of the system include dispensaries being able to set up direct deposit for employee payroll, collect and pay taxes, and settle vendor invoices.