EXCLUSIVE: Banking-Fit Means Your Cannabis Business Is At The 'Pinnacle Of Fitness,' Experts Explain At Benzinga Conference

Zinger Key Points
  • Cannabis is a “competitive industry,” and those looking to build their business, should “embrace it,” Green Check's Kevin Hart said at CCC.
  • Vicente LLP's Ayinehsazian said being fit for banking means your business is at the “pinnacle of fitness.”

Cannabis is a "competitive industry," and those looking to build their business should "embrace it," says Kevin Hart, founder and CEO of Green Check Verified, a leader in banking solutions for the cannabis industry.

To get the much-needed capital, all you need to do is not be afraid of the competitive environment, Hart told those gathered at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Florida on Tuesday.

"There’s access to financial and business services at your fingertips," Hart said, adding, "You just have to be prepared to share some information."

For Adam Stettner, founder and CEO of FundCanna, “that information is how the money will be used." Stetter joined Hart and two other industry experts, Ryan Himmel, VP and head of strategic partnerships at LeafLink and Sahar Ayinehsazian, a partner in Vicente LLP‘s Los Angeles office. The panel was moderated by Jeanne M. Sullivan, chief investment officer at Arcview Ventures.

The panelist discussed the complexities of banking for cannabis businesses, outlining best practices for financial fitness and strategies for achieving banking access.

As the head of the company that provides access to flexible capital for the cannabis industry, Stettner is most interested in how the "money will be applied and what the repayment terms look like,' while thinking about"what the loopholes are," in terms of the borrows financial fitness and strength.

What Does Being Fit Mean?

When assessing if someone is fit as a borrower, the main parameter is cash flow, he said.

See also: New Financing Solutions Change The Game For The Cannabis Industry

"It’s very hard to determine how you qualify for repayment and how that repayment will impact your business if you don’t have a baseline of revenue from which to calculate," Stettner explained.

Vicente LLP’s Ayinehsazian said being fit for banking means your business is at the "pinnacle of fitness."

Why? That's due to banking being closely related to the many different aspects of a business, including being compliant with operations, running smoothly with corporate records being in order, she explained.

"You’re also fit for a surprise visit from a regulator, you’re also fit for a potential investor or a potential lender to come in and take a look at you," Ayinehsazian noted.

Know What You Are Dealing With

She also emphasized cannabis operators need to understand the price paid for capital and the potential ‘ripple effects' that come with it.

"There’s no such thing as a free lunch," Ayinehsazian said. "So if you are able to access capital, but it seems a little bit too good to be true, it probably is a little bit too good to be true."

LeafLink’s Himmel, representing the industry’s wholesale platform that focuses on cannabis businesses being more fit as it relates to banking, has a similar opinion.

One of the most important aspects of any company's financial fitness is knowing how to rationalize tools at its disposal and making data-driven decisions, he said.

Cannabis businesses need to "have the ability to manage inventory," to avoid "causing bad unhealthy behavior such as channel stuffing in the market."

"We cannot be in a situation in a year from now, where we still have states where there’s three years worth of inventory at the wholesale level," Himmel continued.

Instead, he is proposing more consolidation and providing cannabis operators with more value in a single unified experience to help them be "better fit to get banking services."

After all, cannabis operators don’t want to be burdened with regulations on the financial side of their businesses, as Green Check’s Hart noted.

To address that, Green Check is working on providing availability and creating that "frictionless environment so you don’t injure yourself and you know have problems of having to go out and get new bank accounts and everything."

Now read: Cannabis Banking Reform ‘Closer Than Ever,’ D.C. Insiders Tell Benzinga Conference: Cannabis ETF On The Move Tuesday

Photo by Jean Laurenceau

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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

Get your tickets now on bzcannabis.com – Prices will increase very soon!