PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–Cannabis is a booming industry and now medical cardholders in Panama City will have access to a brand new dispensary, Curaleaf.
But as the cannabis operator tells us, there are many hurdles when it comes to managing their revenue.
According to Forbes Magazine, legal marijuana sales in North America are expected to top $20 billion by 2021. But still, cannabis dispensaries have limited access to banking.
“In Florida alone, we spend tens of thousands of dollars moving cash around the state,” said Jon Faucher, Curaleaf’s Chief Operating Officer.
Marijuana is still considered a schedule one narcotic, so most banks refuse to hold onto cash from cannabis businesses.
“We have vaults in every store. We have daily collections of every store. You’re paying armored car service, you have two security guards,” said Faucher.
Dispensaries like Curaleaf must drive for several hours until they can deposit their revenue at a cannabis-friendly credit union. That’s why most dispensaries are cash only.
“Cash payment is about 90% of the business. There are some pin debit solutions but it’s a little bit expensive for the patient so they don’t all like to do it and it’s a little bit cumbersome,” said Faucher.
Cannabis operators like Curaleaf remain hopeful as they wait for the “SAFE Banking Act” to pass,” said Faucher.
“It will enable federal banks to operate with legal state-approved cannabis companies without the fear of being shut down by the federal government,” said Faucher.
The medical marijuana industry has taken off in recent years. Curaleaf has 33 dispensaries in Florida, their newest one is located on 749 W. 23rd Street in Panama City. Curaleaf serves over 420,000 patients in the state. The dispensary sells cartridges, Sublingual Tablets, and NANO Drops among other things.
“We didn’t have a presence there, we just saw a delivery volume so we realized that there were actually a lot of people out there who wanted to try these products,” said Faucher.
While transporting their profits may be difficult, Faucher has high expectations for the industry. He believes it will yield many benefits like employment, healing, and revenue.