The account has a monthly fee of $200 and a refundable application fee of $150
Since cannabis is now legal in Canada, you would think the industry would profit from its success. But nearly four years since pot became legit, with financial services still virtually denied to producers, this is just another case of banks being a real buzzkill.
Mark Jones, COO of Surrey Community savings bankwhich has six branches in British Columbia, thinks the stigma surrounding the industry is to blame.
“I was on the phone with a retailer who was crying,” Jones says. “For over a year they jumped through every imaginable hoops, invested all their money in the store, had everything ready to go – all their document licenses, the blessing of the local council, the RCMP, the municipal authority. And then they went to open an account, and they were treated like criminals wherever they went.
To recognize and validate the cannabis sector, Community Savings launched the bank account 18/6 (which can be opened online) to reduce some of the barriers to banking. Aimed at licensed growers in the province, the account has a monthly fee of $200 and an application fee of $150, the latter of which is refunded after six months in the bank.
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“The culture industry is just beginning to flourish in the province,” notes Jones. “We’re starting to see more grower licenses for the craft grow space, where you have micro-growers. It’s mom and pop, the small version of a producer, someone who grows up in a relatively smaller space and comes out with a very high quality product.
Every business needs a bank account, and the sad reality is that despite countless hours of due diligence and personal investment to become a licensed grower, many growers and retailers on the verge of taking off are left behind. account by financial institutions. “Or, if they find a partner who’s willing to open an account for them, they’re outrageously priced, with application fees running into the thousands,” Jones says.
As the industry grows, it’s reassuring to know that lines of credit are opening up for growers to plant in BC.