Over the last few months, U.S. cannabis proponents are seeing the cannabis movement building, moving toward legalization, watching and reveling in the several small ‘victories’ that have taken place:
- Cannabis legalization in Canada
- States legalizing recreational cannabis (most recently Michigan, and many more considering)
- States legalizing medical cannabis (Missouri, ditto)
One of those small victories could prove to be massive: the Farm Bill, which passed through the U.S. Senate on Dec. 11, and, provided it has the endorsement of President Donald Trump, will be a game-changer for cannabis payment processing.
The Farm Bill isn’t going to legalize cannabis for recreational use, but we fully believe it will be a giant step in that direction, and there are five compelling reasons to back it up.
This is Why the Farm Bill Impacts Cannabis Payment Processing
The Farm Bill has many components to it, some with little or nothing to do with the cannabis industry, such as the enhancement of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), on which more than 10 percent of our population relies. It also involves forestry and conservation improvements and crop insurance, each a crucial cause.
Here are the factors we feel will change the cannabis industry dramatically:
- No longer a controlled substance: An integral part of the Farm Bill calls for the removal of hemp from the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Hemp was/is listed as a Schedule I substance – simply because of its relation to the cannabis plant – among the likes of heroin, methamphetamines and LSD. ‘De-scheduling’ hemp from the CSA – which has never happened with any substance – should virtually eliminate any fears banks and the credit card brands would have about processing payments, as well as fear of legal trouble by established hemp farmers in the 35 legal states.
- Interstate trade: With legal hemp cultivation encompassing 35 states, the Farm Bill basically makes hemp cultivation like any other crop – corn, tomatoes, or lettuce – and allows farmers to trade with one another across state lines, without the worry of prosecution by the federal government.
- Federal crop insurance eligibility: For the first time, hemp farmers are eligible for federal crop insurance in the case of natural and/or unforeseen disasters. In what will undoubtedly provide peace of mind, hemp farmers could never secure crop insurance from the federal government previously since the growth of hemp was technically ‘illegal,’ and considered a Schedule I substance. The Farm Bill changes that.
- States in control, not the feds: As we alluded above, hemp farmers no longer have the worry about having their crops seized or shut down. The Farm Bill hands regulating authority to each individual state to govern as it sees fit.
- Impact on CBD: Recently we blogged about how the Farm Bill will impact the CBD industry, which is expected to generate more than $22 billion by 2023. With the passing of the bill, that figure could be overwhelmingly surpassed. It begs the obvious question: Could the removal of CBD from the Controlled Substances Act be too far away? If so, it would mark another giant step toward proper cannabis payment processing.
Talk to us about our current cannabis payment processing solutions
While Instabill currently has cannabis payment processing solutions, we would very much like to add credit card processing to our menu of solutions before long. With significant developments such as the Farm Bill, the STATES Act and the Rohrabacher-Leary Amendment, cannabis proponents cannot help but feel that the U.S. is moving in the right direction.
At present, Instabill offers a solution similar to a debit card and a mobile wallet: licensed cannabis storefront merchants offer the card to their customers and patients, who connect the card to their bank accounts and load the necessary funds to make purchases.
To find out more about our cannabis payment processing solution, we encourage merchants to have a 10-minute conversation with us about the possibilities. Our merchant account experts are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. (U.S. eastern time) at 1-800-530-2444. Inquiries received at off business hours will addressed the next day.