Square is sampling some CBD: the payment processing company has started a beta for CBD companies.
Access to the financial instruments a company needs is a widespread problem in the cannabis industry. Everything from short term business loans to things like bank accounts and even payment processing services can be problematic or impossible to obtain. Even CBD, which was legalized nationwide last year with the 2018 Farm Bill, is proving to be problematic for banks. Numerous CBD companies are facing pushback, with many banks not even caring to differentiate between CBD and other cannabis products containing THC. How does a company sell its CBD over the internet if they can’t even take credit cards?
Square, the payment processing company, has launched a beta program for CBD companies that could be a big step to changing that. “Square is currently conducting an invite-only beta for some CBD products,” a spokesperson for Square told Forbes contributor Tom Angell, and the publisher of Marijuana Moment, in an email. Square is, simply put, testing the allowance of CBD companies to use their platform to accept payments, and perhaps even perform other services that Square offers such as short term loans. So far they have opened up the invite-only program to a select number of CBD companies. It’s a beta though, so if everything goes well we can likely expect the program to be opened up to more companies sometime in the future, although Square hasn’t publicly stated that just yet.
The company also confirmed the move to The New Consumer, although they didn’t provide additional details to either.
This is a big move for Square. They have refused to do business with CBD companies for years, but when asked why the change, the spokesperson said that Square watches public policy and continues to offer new opportunities to clients.
Otherwise, access to financial services has actually deteriorated since the passage of the Farm Bill, a trend which has been significant enough to attract the attention of lawmakers who say it’s not what they intended to happen. “I’ve had constituent businesses tell me that their access to financial products, specifically card services, have actually deteriorated since we descheduled industrial hemp in the Farm Bill,” Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) said. “This obviously conflicts with congressional intent.”