On September 12th, Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, announced the creation of a cashless financial institution that finally allows the Hawaiian cannabis industry to go cashless. This breaks the industry’s reliance on cash-only transactions, putting the cannabis industry at the same level of every other industry in the United States.
According to the governor’s press release, “[Hawaii] has secured the services of Colorado-based Safe Harbor Private Banking that will provide limited and temporary financial services for Hawai‘i’s cannabisdispensaries. CanPay, a debit payment mobile application, will process sales transactions at retail dispensaries. Hawaii’s eight dispensary license holders have agreed to implement cashless operations by October 1, 2017.”
Why is Hawaii the first state to do this?
The reason for it is primarily safety concerns- one of the biggest safety issues faced by dispensaries is the constant threat of robbery, and in Hawaii, it’s no different.
“Hawaii’s cashless system will allow cannabis dispensaries to use traditional financial services to legally conduct financial transactions. In addition, dispensaries will be capable of setting up direct deposit for employee payroll, collect and remit taxes, and make payments to vendors”, says governor David Ige in the press release.
Traditional banks, wary of cannabis being illegal in the United States at the federal level, stay away from the cannabis industry, which forces dispensaries to rely on cash-only transactions. Having large amounts of cash on-hand, not to mention cannabis products, makes dispensaries targets for robbery.
Is cannabis legal in Hawaii?
Hawaii is famous for its cannabis strains such as Maui Wowie and Kona Gold, and it may shock you that recreational cannabis is still illegal- only medicinal use is permitted at the moment.
But banking reform in the cannabis industry has been happening slowly but surely. A growing number of senators are cosponsoring the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow banks and dispensaries to work together, and according to Forbes, there is also growing support among politicians for cannabis producers and dispensaries to be taxed just like any other business.