2016 Will Be Medical Marijuana’s Biggest Year With Marijuana Payment Processing

Indoor Marijuana Grow Room with Plants in Soil Under LightsWhile legalization of marijuana in many forms – and in many states – garnered over $5 billion dollars in 2015, the sums are expected to grow for 2016. More unique products are being created, and the stigma that once surrounded reefer is slowly fading. These changes are helping the industry to boom, even though it is still a federal offense to sell, grow, or possess it. The Feds are hating this legalization, but they must be loving the taxes that the government is gaining from these sales.

With 23 states and D.C. allowing medical marijuana and four states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska — plus D.C. legalizing pot for recreational use, sales are bound to keep creeping up. Combine that with Colorado’s legalization of Cannabis Oil for multiple illnesses, which is bringing a mass of children and their parents to the state for its use. While $5 billion may not sound like a lot for one product to bring in, let us put that into perspective with other products. For example, McDonald’s brings in over $1 billion alone in Big Macs. The iPhone rough in over $1 billion in the US alone last year, as well. Compared to the Big Mac and iPhone, legalized marijuana is hitting the jackpot – especially considering that there is an age restriction and it is sold in less than half of the US states.

New products, such as baked goods and lollipops are helping fuel those who are hesitant to smoke up their greens. While these gourmet products are on the pricier side, they are a growing trend in Colorado. Also, medical marijuana is gaining steam, prompting more merchants to get involved. The problem is the lack of medical marijuana payment processing options available in the USA. This is due to the Fed’s illegal stance on the industry, and the overall chargeback rates of the industry. While tough, it is possible to find a payment processor for legalized marijuana businesses, from medical to recreational. The key is to look for a processor who specializes in the industry, and not just a generic “high risk” scattering of companies. There are unique risks and challenges to the legalized marijuana industry and it is important that your payment processor is familiar with these issues.

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California’s Ever Changing Medical Marijuana Rules

high risk marijuana merchant servicesCalifornia was one of the first states to embrace medical marijuana, and they have led to many other states following suit. However, since its legalization in the state, regulations have changed numerous times, making the industry hard for merchants to comprehend, and leaving customers scrambling to figure it out. Below you will learn a few things about the current state of affairs in the California legalized marijuana field, thanks to California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, from his speech at the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo.

Assemblyman Bonta has long been a proponent to the legalization and regulation of marijuana in the state, and he spoke at the Expo to clear up controversy, and to help merchants and those who offer medical marijuana payment processing better understand the current state of affairs. Mr. Bonta spoke about the fee structure, which is complicated and has confused many. With the new state method, smaller merchants will pay a smaller fee than larger businesses. This is only fair, and it is something that many have been wishing. These fees are supposed to help regulation, and the regulation is supposed to show the legitimacy of the industry.

Legitimacy can be an issue when state regulations are faulty, as is in Mr. Bonta’s example of a criminal – formerly imprisoned in another state – being granted a medical marijuana merchant license in California. There are loopholes that need to be closed, but it is hard when there are no federal regulations, or even state-to-state regulations concerning the industry. It may takes years or even decades for these issues to be dealt with quickly, but at least California knows that they exist, and they are trying to fix them. This leaves consumers and other merchants vulnerable, but new regulations can help fix any issues concerning quality control and sales.

The medical marijuana sales industry is booming, but there are issues that can keep merchants from jumping into the industry. While regulations are needed, there is a fine line between the right amount and too many. In California, more regulations are still needed to keep merchants and consumers safe.

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Florida Residents Petitioning for Recreational Marijuana

Close Up Of Man Rolling Marijuana Joint At Home

Close Up Of Man Rolling Marijuana Joint At Home

Colorado and Washington State are currently the only two state that allow recreational marijuana sales. In 2016, Alaska and Oregon will join in the pot game. It seems as though residents are voting for the revenue, and the product, and every year a new state is allowing the legalization of recreational marijuana. Florida residents – and merchants – are petitioning for Florida to be next, but with the conservative government, their wishes may not be granted.

One big issue with Florida and its resident’s efforts to legalize recreational marijuana is the lack of medical marijuana legalization. The four states that have legalized recreational marijuana has legalized medical marijuana long before the fun stuff was legalized. The state legislature has caught on, and a few have recently backed a medical marijuana bill. If it passes, the governor may not sign it into law, but at least it will change the tide in the minds of the legislature, and citizens who are still unwilling to believe the healing effects medical marijuana has on those with terminal illnesses.

If it passes, a medical marijuana payment processing account will be needed for any merchant who passes the state’s test to sell it. While there are no tests in place in Florida yet, their test will probably mirror those in other states. Regulations will be tough – as they should be – and finding a payment processor will be tough, as well. This is because these merchants are considered “high risk” in the processing world. The industry is risky, mainly because it is still marijuana in any form is still a hotly contested federal issue. Recreational is firmly illegal to the Feds, and once medical marijuana hits a market, talks of legalized recreational marijuana soon follows. Or, in the case of Florida, they are both argued at the same time, be it by different people.

If, or perhaps when, medical marijuana is legalized in Florida, its merchants will need a payment processor that knows the industry. Few do, and it is important that you search for an established and experienced processor, like MMA, to help you throughout your journey. These businesses are risky, but you will find that the risk is worth the reward when you see the calming effects medical marijuana has on its users.

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Cannabis Trade Groups Adds Pressure to Improve Marijuana Bank Access

Marijuana and Dollar notesFor the majority of medical marijuana companies, the entrepreneurs behind them wish to be completely transparent and viewed as a legitimate business. Because financial institutions are regulated on the federal level, most banks and credit unions have been reluctant to offer their services. Even though the business is legal, financial institutions still shy away.

Because of this, many marijuana businesses are forced to operate in cash-only. This is not only completely unsafe for the business, but it also makes it difficult for the owners to be transparent. The head of Oregon Banker’ Association, Linda Navarro, revealed to the Northwest Public Radio that many banks would be willing and even happy to offer their services, but the current federal barriers are just too great for them to manage at this point in time.

As a result, The National Cannabis Industry Association, a national trade group, is expanding its advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. The purpose behind this expansion is to address the industry’s top federal priorities: fair federal taxation and basic banking services. In this effort, The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) has partnered with two D.C.-based public affairs firms: Jochum Shore & Trossevin PC and Heather Podesta + Partners.

The NCIA Deputy Director, Taylor West, said that “Bringing on these two firms is a big step forward for us, but also a very real indicator of the fact that we as an industry are taking our legislative strategy very seriously. We recognize the benefits of bringing in highly skilled people who work in this environment”.

The regulatory structure that banks must follow has made it difficult for marijuana businesses. They are treated much differently than other types of legal businesses. The hope is that the teaming of these firms will be the answer to the industry’s needs in that it will revolutionize the way those in the sector do business.

While marijuana companies wait for the industry to grow and for improvements to be made, many companies are turning to medical marijuana payment processing from alternative providers. Providers such as Marijuana Merchant Account (MMA) specialize in offering accounts that are tailored to a marijuana company’s needs. A great advantage to this type of merchant account is that the application process is fast, simple and hassle-free. Until the pressure and regulations for banks are changed, medical marijuana payment processing will remain a great option for marijuana companies in need of payment processing.

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California is Wanting a Marijuana Bank

Marijuana Business FundingBanks are everywhere, and most of us have an issue with our bank at one time or another. However, for legalized marijuana merchants in California, these issues are never-ending. From finding a business account, to the fear (and reality) of having that account closed without notice, Californian marijuana merchants are in a mess when it comes to finding and keeping a bank account. While the idea of a marijuana bank is great, in the long-term it may face issues. The main issue is the Fed.

The Federal Government is an issue because 1) the regulate the banking system, and 2) marijuana is still illegal in the Fed’s eyes. Yes, even though so many states have some form of legalized marijuana, it is still a federal crime to possess it. Because of its federal illegality, banks are not wanting to deal with these business. However, a cash-only business is hazardous, as there is no way to verify or recoup the funds if stolen. Cash-only businesses are at a higher risk for burglary, and sadly, it happens often. While the industry as a whole is at a higher risk of being robbed, those who advertise that they are cash-only have put a target on their backs.

Instead of all of this chaos, marijuana merchants need to search for a medical marijuana payment processing account. Yes, it is possible to find a legal payment processor for the marijuana industry. While banks are tightening the reigns on who they will, and will not, work with, the marijuana payment processing industry is picking up the slack. There are many who claim to be educated and experienced in the industry, so be sure to do your research. Not all are created equal, and even processing fees can vary with each processor. Processing fees are huge, and high processing rates can sink a new or struggling company. However, before going with the processor with the lower rates, check around and do not rush. Be sure to do your research before signing on with a marijuana payment processor, as this is one of the most important things you will invest in for your business.

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