Square, the digital payments company, is getting into the CBD market, launching a payment processing service for the industry.
Forbes, citing Square, reported that a year after CBD, which is derived from hemp, was legalized in the U.S., Square is stepping in to help businesses in the sector that still struggle to access basic financial services. The industry still has trouble processing payments and maintaining bank accounts and Square appears to want to help. “Square is currently conducting an invite-only beta for some CBD products,” a spokesperson for the company told Forbes in an email. The spokesperson went on to say that Square pays attention to changing public policies and aims to find new opportunities for its customers as a result of them.
The move on the part of Square comes as the CBD market was dealt bad news when Elavon, a unit of U.S. Bank, recently said it wouldn’t process payments for companies that sell CBD, reported Forbes. Still, the industry does have bipartisan support, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Ron Wyden sending letters in April to federal government agencies calling for new guidance on how hemp companies can get access to financial services. “While some financial institutions have agreed to offer financial products to the growing hemp industry, many of them have not due to confusion over the legal status of hemp,” the lawmakers wrote, according to Forbes. “However, as hemp is no longer a controlled substance, financial institutions should feel secure in engaging with this industry.”
CBD and marijuana supporters hailed the move by Square, with Morgan Fox, a spokeswoman for the National Cannabis Industry Association, welcoming the service. “Forward-thinking companies are stepping in to fill the gap created by outdated federal banking policies, and helping address the problems caused by a lack of financial services in the cannabis industry,” Fox said in the report. “Lawmakers should take heed and open this space to all financial institutions.”