Signed into law on December 20, 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill may present a tremendous opportunity for banks and payments companies to provide banking, processing, and other services to the hemp industry. We expect a variety of companies to move swiftly in developing, marketing, and selling products (including CBD oil) that, until yesterday, were controlled substances. This means that banks and payment processors should be prepared for a flood of inquiries from the industry about opening bank, merchant processing, and other financial accounts.

While the Farm Bill “legalizes” hemp, there remain a number of open questions that financial institutions should consider before they start serving the industry. This article provides a brief overview of the Farm Bill’s impact on the legal status of hemp, highlights some of the open questions, and provides suggested best practices for banks and processors seeking to work with the hemp industry.

Continue Reading New Farm Bill Cracks Open Door to Processing for Legalized Hemp and CBD Oil

cubanPresident Obama has created a lot of buzz about opening the Cuban market to Americans, but it is a long way from buzz to profits.  On December 17, 2014, the President and various members of his administration announced sweeping changes in the 50-plus year economic embargo against Cuba.  Normalization of diplomatic relations, increased travel, the ability to use U.S. debit and credit cards, increased commerce, and a number of other changes almost makes one want to break out a Cuban cigar right here in the nation’s capital and start ginning (or rumming, to create a word) up advertisements for the Cuban market.

But that would be premature given what the “buzz” currently allows.  Lighting up the Cubano is still illegal (indeed, even having it in the U.S. is illegal).  Although U.S. law currently allows limited commercial exports to Cuba (mostly agricultural goods and medicines), and the President has proposed expanding trade, a number of major hurdles stand in the way of full scale trade: 
Continue Reading Advertising in Cuba? Not Yet, Says Uncle Sam