Making your mark in cannabis banking

If there ever was a time for credit unions to consider cannabis, it is now.

I get more than a few strange looks from my former banking colleagues when they find out I now help financial institutions get into cannabis banking. Many still view it as too risky, and the ingrained image of the “stoner owner” does not instill a lot of confidence amongst bankers. However, in the words of Bob Dylan, “the times they are a-changin’.”

Not only is high-quality capital flowing into this fast-growing sector, but the people leading it are bringing deep traditional business experience across the entire cannabis ecosystem. As a result, the market opportunity is growing exponentially. According to the latest findings from New Frontier Data, the U.S. legal cannabis industry is projected to double to $41.5 billion by 2025. Recreational cannabis programs, now legal in 15 states, are primarily driving this growth. Several more states are likely to follow suit this year, and Democratic control of both Congress and the White House is expected to accelerate progress toward eventual full federal legalization.

If there ever was a time to consider cannabis banking, it is now. Here are some of the trends I see shaping the market over the next few years.

 

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