On yesterday’s Webinar Wednesday we had our monthly legal review with the Bradley-Arant Law firm’s cannabis team. Whitt Steineker and Hunter Robinson did their typical good job of walking us through the legal issues of the day for the hemp industry.
We focused on banking for this session. Our takeaways were:
1. Hemp is 100% legal. End of story. However, its up to the bank to decide if they want to help your hemp business.
2. Fear of the unknown is the most likely reason they won’t open an account. There is still far too much ignorance in the marketplace and some banks simply haven’t done their homework to figure out the opportunities that exist in the hemp industry. Many are afraid a hemp grower is just a front for a marijuana grower.
3. The bank’s legal counsel needs some cover. Having a larger law firm like Bradley may well be all it takes for a bank’s legal counsel to walk their bank through the information gathering process at a more rapid pace. Said another way, having attorneys who have done their cannabis homework to share their knowledge with fellow attorneys can move things along quicker.
Fortunately, we have a banking account set up for the co-op, but it was only after we showed our banker we were in the education/marketing business and not selling products. If we were starting a hemp company today, and if our bank were hesitant or unwilling, we’d call Whitt or Hunter and have them call the bank’s attorneys and see if there was an opportunity to move forward.
If there was no budging, we’d take our accounts elsewhere.