Despite rapidly growing interest in the medical cannabis industry, the head of the industry’s regulator has identified banking obstacles at the top of several challenges hampering investment.
Shanika Roberts-Odle, the acting chief executive officer (CEO) of the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority (BMCLA), made the revelation on Friday as the agency granted the University of the West Indies the first research and development licence.
“We have an issue as it relates to banking. That is the absolute reality but we are not the only persons who [have] ever had that problem. California, for many years, was a cash-only business with large warehouses [filled with] cash,” she said.
“What I will say to you, is that it is not an issue I am unwilling to continue to attempt to bridge the gap [on]. I know that the [permanent secretary] and the minister are with me on that in terms of bridging the gap of comfortability for our banks, and for their US correspondent partners, and how do we move forward.”
“We are also looking at alternatives,” the acting CEO added.
“When you don’t have horse, sometimes you have to ride cow.”
US banks – with whom most domestic banks do business – are unable to take funds from cannabis businesses, which risks prosecution for “aiding and abetting” and money laundering, US federal crimes. Cannabis possession and selling are still federal felonies, despite the legalisation of recreational cannabis in 24 states, while…