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What Does It Mean To Be Compliant In Cannabis?

August 22, 2022
Adam Glogovsky

Compliance means full transparency with a diligent client approval process. Compliant companies present their solutions to State regulators to showcase how they can improve the operations and safety of businesses and consumers. Additionally, they will have experienced personnel and thorough onboarding processes that allow them to understand exactly who they are serving.


Federal laws regulate marijuana sales in the U.S. Cannabis is now legal in some form in 47 states. Under the Controlled Substance Act, it’s categorized as Schedule I, which limits access to traditional services providers for advertising, banking, payments, etc. Due to the schedule of cannabis’s status, all ancillary third-party providers must adhere to strict vetting processes to ensure cannabis-related businesses are legitimate. During onboarding, companies will verify necessary licensing, beneficial owners, and bank information. For banking and payments providers, it’s key to prevent money laundering schemes from accessing financial services. If any suspicious activity were to arise, it must be reported by the bank to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) or face severe penalties.


Historically, cash was the solution


Up until recently, most cannabis payments have been made with cash, while businesses continue to search for viable banking options. As you can imagine, this is not the most secure and safe way for dispensaries to operate. Having large amounts of cash on hand puts businesses and delivery drivers at risk for robberies. Human error/theft can lead to inaccurate record keeping and losses. There is the fact that e-commerce cannabis menus will allow dispensaries to act more like traditional retailers. A platform that provides customers digital payment options that are reconciled simply will operationalize a business and keep customers coming back while spending more. Aeropay can do both of these things and more via bank-to-bank transfers powered by the ACH network.

Credit cards are not compliant for cannabis

Customers find themselves asking, “Are there any dispensaries that accept credit cards?” The answer is no. Large payment processors, such as VISA, avoid working with dispensaries entirely to avoid the strict laws and possible prosecution. 

There is some legislation, such as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), that has passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but the current banking issues will likely remain unchanged until federal reforms are actually signed into law therefore thc credit card processing will remain illegal. 


Working with the best in the business


Aeropay has built a strong relationship with the leading compliance-based banking program, Safe Harbor. Safe harbor was one of the first cannabis solution banking programs and have been pioneers in industry ever since. This means that payments for dispensaries are processed by asecure financial institution that is following federal guidance.


This is not the case when cannabis businesses utilize a cashless ATM processor or PIN debit cards. Both of these options work with acquiring banks that are violating card network policy. If you ask these companies to provide approval from the card networks for their activity, they will be unable to because it does not exist. Different from Aeropay, they will levy you with hardware costs, locked-in contracts, and hefty cannabis payment processing fees that you’ll want to pass on to your customers. Cannabis purchases should not involve additional fees or unnecessary naming/rounding that obfuscate the nature of a payment in any way.


Secure payments for dispensaries and emerging businesses


Aeropay’s web-based payment solution was strategically created to be simple to create an account and reuse over time. This comes with several validation and screening procedures that go on behind the scenes. Customers may feel apprehension connecting their bank account to a digital payment provider leaving them wondering, is Aeropay safe?


The answer is yes - Aeropay encrypts data, does not store your bank login info, and monitors transaction activity to ensure no one besides you has access to your account. Aeropay is vigilant with security and protecting data. Each customer’s profile only requires a few details and no SSN or address. For additional info on Aeropay’s data practices, please refer to the Privacy Policy.


Aeropay is the compliant solution for you


Are you tired of wondering if your payment provider is compliant — or if they are going to be around in the future? Then, it’s time to explore digital payments with Aeropay. We have plenty of success stories that we can share to back up everything we’ve explained above as we want you to be the next one! At the end of the day, compliance is at the heart of Aeropay as it is our passion to make you and your customers feel safe while enjoying the things you do.


Adam Glogovsky

Director of Compliance & Operations
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