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Money Matters: How to Sign Up for CanPay (& Why You Should!)

As anyone who’s ever visited a dispensary knows, the cannabis industry has a money problem. Because most banks—fearful of running afoul of federal regulations regarding income derived from an “illegal” source—refuse to serve cannabis dispensaries, most of them are forced to operate on a cash-only basis. It’s inconvenient—even dangerous—to customers and dispensary staff alike. And despite major pushes by lawmakers, it’s a problem that persists.

Fortunately, there’s hope on the horizon. In the absence of a long-term solution—more on that in a moment—a new cannabis-friendly debit app is making the simple act of shopping for cannabis a whole lot more convenient. It’s called CanPay, and we’re big fans. In bringing a clever and intuitive solution to the issue of cannabis transactions, in fact, it may just be a game-changer. Here’s the backstory.


CanPay: New Cannabis Debit App Promises Simplicity and Transparency

While legal cannabis is a roughly $24 billion business in the United States, dispensaries—and their customers—are in a pickle when it comes to how all those transactions actually take place. Denied such basic banking services as savings accounts, merchant processing, and other necessities, dispensaries are forced to insist on cash-only transactions. Customers either need to plan ahead and bring sufficient cash—or be willing to pony up the fees for those in-store ATMs—when they make their purchases. And trust us when we say that we don’t want you to spend any more than you have to in order to access our safe, legal and well-regulated cannabis.

That’s where CanPay comes in. A mobile phone app, the service links customers’ banking accounts with merchants’ using a standard bank-to-bank transfer service. The brainchild of CEO Distin Eide, the Colorado-based company first took shape in 2016, working on the hope that two sets of federal guidelines—the Cole Memo and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network—promised some protection against federal prosecution.

Today, CanPay services dispensaries in some 28 states and the District of Columbia. (These include Green Goods locations in Arizona, Minnesota, and New Mexico.) The service is quick and easy to set up. What’s more, there are no “convenience fees” charged to customers. (Some banks do charge a small fee for such ACH transactions; check with your banking representative for specifics).

If you can’t tell, we’re pretty excited by this new debit system. But in the long term, developments on the national level may lead to even bigger and better changes for the industry—and its customers—as a whole.


Cannabis and Your Money: Looking Ahead to a Permanent Solution

CanPay is a great option for those who don’t want to bring large amounts of cash to dispensaries. But the SAFE Banking Act—a suite of cannabis banking laws designed to provide relief to the industry—will bring even more impactful changes (assuming it makes it through Congress).

The SAFE Act is the creation of Representative Ed Perlmutter, Democrat of Arvada, Colorado. He’s introduced a version of the bill to every Congress since 2013. What’s more, the House of Representatives has already passed the bill, not once but three times! The problem has been the Senate, where solid Republican control has erected an impassible roadblock to the bill’s becoming law.

But now that Democrats control the upper chamber of Congress, there’s hope that the SAFE Act’s moment has finally arrived. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has prioritized cannabis reform for the current session of Congress.


Some financial experts caution that because cannabis is still a Schedule I drug under federal law, the bill doesn’t provide banks total protection against prosecution. But here at Green Goods, we remain hopeful. We’re hoping that the eventual passage of the SAFE Act will simplify our transactions and reduce overhead costs.

Needless to say, we’ll keep you up to date on news concerning this important milestone. And we thank you for your business! We hope that offering CanPay as an option will make for an even simpler, more convenient, and more pleasurable shopping experience for you!