Getting a cannabis cash into a Federal Reserve has been like finding the holy grail. In Colorado, credit unions have sued in order to be able to establish a master account, which is the key to cannabis banking. This past summer, the Fourth Corner Credit Union won a partial victory when a court said that the Federal Bank of Kansas City couldn’t block access.
Apparently, while that was happening in Colorado, HARDCAR Security found the grail in the state of California. The company has been secretly working in a pilot program for the last four to five months covering some the largest cannabis accounts in California. HARDCAR has been depositing the money in both the Federal Bank of San Francisco and the branch in Los Angeles. “No one else has been able to get into the Fed in California,” said HARDCAR Security CEO Todd Kleparis.
A bank sponsored HARDCAR with the Federal Reserve and all of its guards go through federal background checks. “We bring the money to their locations and they go through it,” said Kleperis. “Our company has moved over $25 million in a few short months.” The most important piece of this banking puzzle is that the cannabis company money is now co-mingled with regular money. It legitimizes the cash and allows it to enter into the monetary system.
Cities Also Need Help With Cannabis Cash
In addition to picking up the cannabis business money and depositing it with the bank, HARDCAR said it is also going to be assisting cities with the movement of their cannabis cash. “No other armored car company wants to take the cannabis cash,” said Kelperis, “This risk is too much. Think about all those grow sites in Desert Hot Springs. Who is going to go get it? We’re going to go to the cities and help them put all these tax revenues in the bank.”
Most of the focus on solving the cannabis banking problem has been on the plant touching businesses, but it also turns out that the municipalities were finding that their banks wanted nothing to do with the cannabis tax revenues. Kleperis mentioned that Los Angeles contemplated setting up its own bank, but that it would take years to establish. He also believes that by getting access to the Federal Reserve system, it will keep more of the money in the state and put more money back into the system. There are many stories of “backyard banks” where farmers bury cash because they have no way to bank it and worry about robberies.
HARDCAR is a company filled with military veterans and that may have made the decision for the Federal Reserve to accept cannabis cash as little easier. Or it could be that the California cannabis market will dwarf the Colorado market and that much cash floating around the state would make for a dangerous situation. Either way, it’s a huge step forward for cannabis banking and the mainstreaming of the industry’s money. Kleperis added, “It’s a huge win.”