With the cannabis market showing signs of steady growth, the two largest cannabis companies in the world announced a merger if and when cannabis becomes legal in the United States. Expecting heavy demand, many dispensaries are beginning to incorporate payment platforms using cryptocurrency in order to offer cashless payment.

There is no hiding the mass forward momentum the North American cannabis movement garnered over even the last two years alone. Canada legalized cannabis nationwide on the 17th of October, 2018. Less than a month later, Michigan midterm voters legalized recreational cannabis, making it the 11th American state with sensible, adult use cannabis laws.

A move similar to Canada seems to be on the brink in the United States. As a result of the aforementioned 2018 midterms, what has been described as the, “most marijuana friendly congress in history” opened session, and today continues to move cannabis bills forward in the house, with a vote on the SAFE cannabis banking bill coming this spring.  

While cannabis has become popular in the halls of congress, it’s also slowly but surely gained general social acceptance. Peter Tosh famously sang that that doctors, nurses lawyers, and even judges smoke cannabis. Today, this has become true, with new CBS news polls showing nearly two thirds of Americans want to see marijuana legalized.

Earl Blumenauer, (D-OR), described in a press release for the STATES act, a bill that would end federal prohibition that, “You are watching a sea change on the politics of cannabis...I will guarantee that there will never be an anti-cannabis candidate who is elected president of the U.S.”

The industry is beckoning the end of marijuana prohibition national scale, and luckily, the tides indicate this isn’t quite far off.

Most American states have legalized or decriminalized cannabis in some form

Canopy Growth Anticipates Large Scale Legalization

Canopy Growth’s recently announced merger with U.S. cannabis firm, Acreage Holdings, will only go through if and when the United States legalizes cannabis for general adult use. Many in the industry see this as a harbinger for eventual legalization, and are planning accordingly.

Canopy Growth, a Canadian based marijuana producer and perhaps the largest cannabis company in the known universe, recently announced their entry plan into the United States vastly profitable, yet legally prohibited cannabis market. You may remember Canopy growth as one of the first publicly traded marijuana stocks.

Bloomberg reported the terms of the deal as follows: Canopy Growth will acquire Acreage holdings, a united states based cannabis firm, for 3.4 billion dollars, with an initial payment of 300 million granted to Acreage shareholders. Canopy would then assume all of Acreage Holdings’ stock, and Acreage dispensaries would be given access to Canopy Growth products.

The most significant aspect of the deal, however, concerns the timeline surrounding when this meteoric merger will take place. Alongside the 300 million dollars former Acreage shareholders received, they will also receive 0.5818 of a Canopy share when cannabis becomes federally legal in the United States.

Therefore, the deal is an entirely contingent one, which won’t take place until the nearly century old prohibition on marijuana products is lifted, and in a relatively quick fashion. Some have even speculated the two companies know something about a potential change in federal law that would remove cannabis from list of schedule 1 controlled substances.

Although this change would be sweeping, it would not be without precedent. Hemp was recently removed from schedule 1 status through the 2018 Farm Bill. Moreover, the FDA recently approved the first medicine derived from an active ingredient in marijuana, called Epidiolex, for those with severe epilepsy. Change is on the horizon, and Acreage and Canopy are banking on it.

However, their deal doesn’t anticipate this will happen within the year. The terms allow the companies to dissolve the agreement if marijuana isn’t legal within the next 90 months, or 7 and  a half years, which give an estimate of 2027 as the latest cannabis could become legal in America, if this deal is any indication. Until then, the two companies will operate independent of one another.  

According to Acreage CEO Kevin Murphy, “Having access to Canopy Growth’s deep resources will enable us to innovate, develop and distribute quality cannabis brands across the U.S. and continue expanding our U.S. footprint.”

Marijuana businesses could save a lot of money, and improve sales, if they can integrate digital payment into their stores

Marijuana Banking Services: A Problem of Access

While new developments in congress seem promising for granting cannabis businesses access to traditional banking services, many marijuana businesses cannot wait for their banking woes to be solved by federal pen. Instead, cannabis businesses are looking toward innovative, digital payment solutions.

It’s apparent the United States government must do the right thing for marijuana businesses when it comes banking access. The cannabis industry has grown, but the cash only nature of many marijuana businesses may shy away investors, with many customers turning back to black market for better access, and having all that cash can make dispensaries targets for robberies.

Marijuana businesses know they cannot wait for the government to right the wrongs of prohibition, as their banking problems need solutions in the short term. The SAFE banking act would solve this problem, and allow marijuana groups like Canopy to enter the U.S. market legitimately. That being said, SAFE must pass both the house and the senate before becoming law, and that will take time.

This is why many dispensaries have begun seeking new, innovative technology that could help them solve this problem, and provide better options on their end, in terms of banking and taxes, and for the customer, in terms of accepted forms of payment.

More than a third of all California cannabis customers experienced issues with no electronic payments

Ten Thirty Six and Dash Cryptocurrency

The Ten Thirty Six platform has recently integrated Dash, a cryptocurrency designed for the cannabis industry, with the ability to instantly send digital payment anonymously. Ten Thirty Six has recently raised over $10 million in series A funding to implement this technology in legal cannabis markets across the country.

Cash is being raised quickly for new, innovative digital solutions to some of the cannabis industries biggest hurdles. Digital cannabis compliance and payment platform, Alt Thirty Six, recently announced their company had raised over $10 million in series A funding.

The Alt Thirty Six platform combines Blockchain data tracking and Dash, a cannabis cryptocurrency, to help dispensaries perform the transfer of funds necessary to allow for cashless payments, helping avoid the limitations imposed by lack of access to banking.

Dash is a particularly appealing cannabis cryptocurrency, mainly because of it’s Instant Send, and Private Send features, which allow transactions between customer and business to occur instantaneously and anonymously, a major plus for a time and regulation pressed industry like cannabis.

This pool of series A funding will allow Alt Thirty Six to accumulate the licensure necessary to operate across the various legal marijuana states that populate America. Alt Thirty Six hopes to see their platform blossom throughout the entire market, especially with national legalization on the doorstep.

Founder and CEO of Alt Thirty Six, Ken Ramirez, described his company’s goal as, “revolutionizing the cannabis space by increasing access to compliant digital payments, making transactions easier and faster for all cannabis businesses.”

About the Author

Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, SEO specialist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and cannabis. Chris currently writes for SEO purposes for cannabis clients, as well as creative pieces about medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time. Linkedin, Twitter

May 2, 2019

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