CannaPlanners Founder, Will Read was interviewed by local NY/VT NBC affiliate in regards to some of the banking challenges facing businesses operating in the legal CBD/Hemp space.
Click the picture below to check out the taped interview and to read the full article.
Here is the full article:
COLCHESTER, Vt. —
Rebecca Robbins and Jackie Lewis have worked together in massage therapy for the last few years.
Now, they’re trying to grow their own personal ventures.
“Like any small business, it’s good to diversify,” Lewis said.
But the pair said they’re in a bind when it comes to a budding new market: CBD.
They had been using the same booking company, Vagaro, which they said is commonly used in their industry, for credit card transactions.
Lewis is no longer associated with the company.
She told NBC5 when she tried to swipe a card for a customer, she got an email from the company, telling her to remove any references to CBD from her website and social media pages.
The women argue that puts them at a competitive disadvantage with other companies that are able to market products.
“I can’t tell people that I actually offer it until I’ve got them through the door,” Robbins said. “And a lot of people are looking for CBD nowadays. And if you can’t tell people that you have it available, they’re going to go someplace else.”
Vagaro did not respond to a request for comment in time for this story.
But in a web chat with Lewis, a representative wrote that “since (CBD) continues to be federally restricted, the bank isn’t allowing the sales of such items.”
“It’s been a problem for every one of our clients trying to sell products online,” said Will Read, who founded CannaPlanners.
His company is a creative design and web agency for cannabis companies.
Read said banking is the problem, that CBD is still listed as a high-risk product, akin to gambling.
Larger chain stores like Walgreens and CVS have announced that they’ll start selling CBD products in certain states, including Vermont.
Read said the difference is money.
“While the product itself falls into the high-risk category, the business does not,” he said.
Last year’s Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, but the FDA is still sifting through derivative products, like CBD.
That’s according to Andrew Subin, a lawyer with Vermont Cannabis Solutions.
“We thought that that should take care of all these banking problems. However, even though the Farm Bill did pass and hemp was removed from the Controlled Substances Act, we still see a lot of banks reluctant to bank in the CBD sector” Subin said. “It’s not the federal law that’s stopping them from opening these accounts and running these accounts, it’s their own reluctance to get involved in this area.”
He went on to say there are other banking options out there, but they can be more expensive and difficult to manage.
“Us small businesses — wellness practitioners who have really done research — who really are looking at providing a beneficial, safe product, aren’t allowed to tell the public about it, and that’s a problem,” Robbins said.