(PRESS RELEASE) SAN DIEGO, Calif-On July 7th, 2017, a Colorado Credit Union and a Cannabis Software company came together to propose a solution to the Cannabis Banking Working Group for California’s Banking Crisis.
Last year California voter’s voted on Proposition 64 to legalize the use of recreational cannabis. However, the medicinal use of cannabis in California has been thriving since 1996. Now 22 years later, California is realizing the issues that the cannabis industry is facing as things start moving towards recreational in less than 6 months. State Treasurer, John Chiang saw the biggest issue was banking for the cannabis industry. Cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 drug under the controlled substances act by the federal government, which results in banks and other financial institutions to not work with cannabis companies.
This resulted in the formation of the Cannabis Banking Working Group. The Cannabis Banking Working Group is made up of representatives from law enforcement, regulators, banks, credit unions, tax authorities, local government and the cannabis industry looking to find a practical and timely approach to address this state-federal conflict. For the past 8 months, the group has been holding meetings throughout California in hopes of finding a solution. After hearing many suggestions from crypto-currency to pre-paid card programs where you can load your money into a digital wallet, it was starting to look like the solutions offered were looking very insufficient to the cash issues California would be facing.
A software company in San Diego, California called EventHi Inc. which is the first online event management platform, publicly announced that they are now working with Safe Harbor Private Bank, a compliance based cannabis banking program. Safe Harbor which is a division of Partner Colorado Credit Union is looking to adopt it’s Marijuana Related Business (MRB) program outside the state of Colorado and is currently launching it’s test group with EventHi being first of this program in California.
The CEO of EventHi, Ali Fakhri and Sundie Seefried, CEO of Partner Colorado Credit Union were asked to speak at the Cannabis Banking Working Group in San Diego on Friday, July 7th, 2017 to present this MRB program and how it could be a working solution for California. They were joined by Julie Robinson, Senior Vice President and Compliance Risk Manager of Riverside Bank.
The MRB Program is a fully compliant cannabis banking program. The process developed is a step by step structure for financial institutions looking to setup a Marijuana/Banking program within their organization to be able to work with cannabis businesses.
Safe Harbor has been banking to the cannabis industry for nearly 3 years. They have undergone 4 state and federal exams during that time successfully. Just last month they have banked over $85 million, annualizing to over $1 billion a year.
EventHi, similar to Eventbrite and Ticketmaster, has been in development for that past two years. For the past 11 months, they have been trying to find a banking solution that would allow them to be as compliant as possible, with no success, until three months ago. Safe Harbor began their due diligence process which included background checks, in-depth company research, interaction and implementation of Anti-Laundering Money procedures implemented into their software and business model, soon thereafter they were finally approved.
Ali Fakhri, CEO of EventHi stated to the Cannabis Banking Working Group,”This program gives me the security to run my company like any other business and most importantly gives me the safety that I can offer to my employees while working at EventHi. I believe that the MRB program is the best solution for banks to adopt in California to handle the crisis in 2018.”
Sundie Seefried, the CEO of Colorado-based Safe Harbor Private Banking, has been banking the cannabis industry for nearly three years with a compliant banking solution. As she told the Cannabis Working Group, “we have undergone four state and federal exams successfully and we serve 130 cannabis-related businesses with annual deposits totaling $1 billion.” As a credit union, our commitment is serving an underserved, unbanked cannabis industry, keeping communities safer and helping Safe Harbor clients, like Ali Fakhri of EventHi, conduct business safely, she said. Sundie has written a groundbreaking how-to book on cannabis banking, Navigating Safe Harbor: Cannabis Banking in a Time of Uncertainty.
EventHi is currently signing up event organizers to join their beta, which is set to launch in August of 2017. EventHi is not only creating a safe hosting platform for their users, but they are creating a unique ecosystem that allows the organizers, attendees, and even sponsors to all come together in one place. Some of the features they have built to stay competitive include sponsorship proposal tools for organizers to create a marketplace for companies and organizations, medical verification access, online merchandise store, and even a review system which allows for sponsors and attendees to review cannabis events.
To learn more on how you can join EventHi, you can go to www.eventhi.io