Sector Snapshot - Payment Solutions for the Cannabis Industry
Point Roberts WA, Delta, BC -- September 10, 2019 -- InvestorsHub NewsWire -- via Investorideas.com, a leading investor news resource covering hemp and cannabis stocks releases a snapshot reporting on banking and payment issues in the cannabis industry in both the US and Canada, and some of the new payment solutions coming to market aiming to address these issues.
In recent news, Arizona began looking to FinTech and stablecoin to help solve the payments problem faced by the cannabis industry. According to a recent announcement from the State’s Attorney General, digital token startup ALTA “has been approved to enter Arizona’s FinTech Sandbox,” making it the seventh participant in the innovative program.
“ALTA is a private financial services ‘club’ using money transmission services and digital asset technology aimed at providing a cash management solution for licensed medical marijuana providers and vendors. ALTA uses digital tokens to allow members to safely transfer cash. ALTA allows those tokens to be redeemed for cash and the value of the token never fluctuates,” the announcement said.
As one recent analysis put it, “Cryptocurrency accounts and transactions are anonymous, an additional benefit to customers who don’t want their marijuana purchases known.” Not only that, but “digital assets provide for the immediate settlement of funds, or when combined with blockchain technology provides for nearly instantaneous validation of all transactions, as opposed to waiting hours or days for a credit card payment to post.”
Global Payout Inc.’s (OTC: GOHE) subsidiary company, MTrac Tech Corporation is a software technology, sales and marketing, and business development company focused on “high risk” and “high cost” industries. The Company’s flagship product is the MTrac payment platform offering a full-service solution with technology offerings including Payment Platform, Blockchain, Compliance, POS, E-Wallet, Mobile Application and Digital Payment Solutions.
The Company today reported, “For the better part of the past several months the Company has been fully engaged in a two-year audit as part of a key and necessary requirement to effectively complete its Form-10 filing and provide the Company with the fully reporting status that management has been eager to achieve since assuming control of the Company in June of 2018. Since April of this year, the Company has been working in collaboration with Albeck Financial Services, Inc. to review and reconcile the Company’s financial records from the last two years in preparation to be turned over for review and audit by M&K CPAS, PLLC, one of the final steps required prior to filing the Form-10. And while the Company admits that at times this process has been painstakingly intricate and complex, it is both pleased in the progress that has been made and recognizes the overall significance it will provide in helping Global Payout establish a strong financial foundation that it believes will be pivotal in fostering its anticipated growth and expansion over the next several years.”
“We have approached this process of reconciling our financials with extreme care and prudence as we understand how important achieving fully reporting status is to the company,” said Global Payout COO, David Flores. Filing our Form-10 remains at the very top of our agenda given the credibility and transparency it will afford us. The filing is a vital component to establish Global Payout and MTrac Tech as legitimate powerhouses in the cannabis and fintech market sectors and we will continue to work diligently on its completion.”
The Company said it anticipates releasing additional updates as it relates to this ongoing audit and as it gets closer to filing its Form-10.
Not only are we seeing payment issues in the cannabis industry, but also in the emerging hemp/CBD space. Entering the public market, Lightspeed POS Inc. (TSX: LSPD), one of the TSX’s most notable IPO’s this year, is known as a disrupter in the payment industry. Lightspeed® POS software has been a major provider of much needed organization and productivity to the CBD market by managing customers, inventory and employees all in one easy system.
According to a report on payments, “Lightspeed® has been around since 2013 and is a merchant favorite with over 50k users. Now, with the regulation changes on hemp oil, CBD merchants can now take advantage of this amazing POS system. CBD businesses are now able to move out of the shadows and flourish along with the growing public demand for their products.”
Continued: “Lightspeed® allows you to integrate to iPad POS Systems, mobile credit card readers and computer desktops. Bring your CBD shop into the 21st century and provide the comfort and convenience customers have come to expect.”
In other recent news, some retailers have found innovative new approaches to dealing with these payment problems. In one example, credit card statements will show that a purchase was made at the “Midgrun Eats LLC Food Truck, not at the Blüm Marijuana Dispensary,” the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.
“It’s not even a back door, it’s more like an upper window,” Jeremy Skaff of Colorado-based Journey Business Solutions told the newspaper. Skaff is a marijuana business financial advisor.
The label allows Blüm to take credit cards in an industry that is typically cash-only. “The more options that you give people to pay, the more business you’re going to get. No one carries cash anymore,” Skaff told the news outlet. No other dispensaries in Nevada’s Washoe County take credit cards except the six Blüm shops.
Size also matters in this young industry, as according to one recent report, Planet 13 Holding’s 13,000-square-foot legal retail dispensary in Vegas includes a “pizzeria and coffee house to attract customers who don’t partake in the now-legal herb.” Not only that, but “it offers an Apple Store-like atmosphere, with sleek modern decor, digital projections and motion-sensor displays, and friendly associates toting iPads.”
Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (CSE: PLTH) (OTC: PLNHF) also recently announced that the Cannabition Cannabis Museum has entered into a lease with Planet 13 to be part of the Las Vegas Cannabis Entertainment Complex. Cannabition previously operated a 10,500 sq. ft. cannabis-themed immersive art museum in Las Vegas featuring more than 20 unique, cannabis inspired installations that celebrate the art, culture and history of the medical and recreational cannabis experience. For more details on Cannabition please visit https://cannabition.com. To view Cannabition's plans for the SuperStore please visit here.
"Cannabition's multi-level immersive cannabis art museum fits perfectly with the SuperStore mission to create an interactive and differentiated cannabis-based experience," said Larry Scheffler Co-CEO of Planet 13. "The SuperStore's addition of a Café, Pizzeria, event center, customer facing production facility and now Cannabition, will continue to cement the SuperStore's reputation as a one-of-a-kind shopping and entertainment destination in Las Vegas; creating an experience that no dispensary in the world can replicate."
J.J. Walker, Founder of Cannabition added, "The SuperStore, which already hosts over 3,000 cannabis enthusiasts per day, is the perfect location to bring Cannabition to a huge new audience and to be a part of the premier cannabis destination in the world. Our interactive cannabis-themed art museum has been featured on CNN, Conan O'Brian, and CNBC and I know Planet 13 visitors will love our immersive exhibits, innovative event space and curated retail store."
The lease is for a five-year term, with an option to extend for an additional three years. As of the date of this press release, the anticipated size of the Cannabition premises is 7,000 square feet. Although the final opening date remains subject to obtaining regulatory approvals in Nevada, the parties anticipate that the facility will open in Q2 of 2020.
The cannabis cash and payment problem is not only limited to the US, as a similar problem exists in Canada, where pot is legal across the entire country, but where the reluctance of US-based financial institutions and payment service providers is also felt.
While this lack interest from US financial institutions may be felt, it hasn’t slowed the ambitions of Canadian companies such as AgraFlora Organics International Inc. (CSE: AGRA) (OTC: AGFAF), a growth oriented and diversified international cannabis company, who recently provided some licensing guidance and operational updates pertaining to the Company’s 2,200,000 square foot Delta Greenhouse Complex.
The Company’s Phase 1 retrofit of its flagship Delta Greenhouse Complex is comprised of approximately 431,000 square feet of cultivation/processing expanse, including over 130,000 square feet of net flower canopy and is estimated to produce 15,000,000 million grams of premium cannabis annually. With the completion of PSC's Phase 1 retrofit, the Company's current annual projected output of dried flower is approximately 160,000 kg including 2020 forecasted production at its purpose built AAA Heidelberg craft cannabis cultivation facility. In addition, AgraFlora anticipates the successful recapture of over 1,000,000 grams of premium cannabis trim to be manufactured into ancillary value-added cannabis products on an annualized basis.
AgraFlora worked with experienced security and licensing consultants at 3|Sixty Secure to obtain consulting services and produce the attestation package for the license application. 3|Sixty’s consultants are industry experts who have worked directly with more than 60 per cent of Canadian LPs and ensure their clients’ attestation packages meet the highest standards possible.
Brandon Boddy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AgraFlora stated, “The successful submission of our Evidence Package to Health Canada is a momentous milestone in AgraFlora’s evolution towards the cultivation of premium, genetically characterized cannabis under 2.2 million square feet of glass at our world-class Delta Greenhouse Complex. Based on the most recent timelines from Health Canada, AgraFlora anticipates the award of a standard cultivation license within six to eight weeks.”
AgraFlora projects that Phase 1 of the Delta Greenhouse Complex retrofit will be completed on or before October 31st, 2019 and upon receipt of a standard cultivation license, in accordance with the Cannabis Act and Regulations, expects to immediately import a portfolio of high-end cultivars under a declaration from Health Canada. As a result of extensive deliberations with PSC and its industry consultants, the Company's internal forecasts indicate that the inaugural harvest at its Delta Greenhouse Complex will occur within the first quarter of 2020.
Until the passing of the proposed Safe Banking Act, which the US House of Representatives is expected to vote on in the coming weeks, both US and Canadian cannabis companies will have to continue to rely on innovative payment solutions utilizing fintech and blockchain technologies. Furthermore, while the Safe Banking Act would provide much needed institutional support, the retail segment of the industry may continue to rely on these new payment technologies as they provide not only safe/secure payment methods but also advanced data analytics which has become a highly valued commodity to the industry.
For investors following cannabis stocks, Investor Ideas has created a stock directory of publicly traded CSE, TSX, TSXV, OTC, NASDAQ, NYSE, ASX Marijuana/Hemp Stocks
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