First Green Bank out of Orlando is offering banking services to the state’s medical marijuana businesses. The bank’s former mission was to offer financial services to electric car owners and those wanting solar panels.
First Green Bank’s corporate officers are aware that they’re treading on rocky waters, according to Sun Sentinel. The bank’s competition is just standing by and seeing what may happen. Many fear that the Justice Department will prosecute them and seize assets.
First Green Bank’s charter year was 2009. Their objective was to promote social and environmental responsibility. Six of Florida’s state-licensed medical marijuana businesses are now doing business with the bank. Among them are Green Solutions, Surterra and Trulieve. With the five recently awarded licenses and five upcoming licenses, the bank is hoping they will seek services with First Green Bank as well.
Ken LaRoe, founder and Chairman of First Green Bank, said, “I suspect we’ll have the entire industry by [the fall]. Also, we’ll focus on the ancillary industry – physicians, attorneys and fertilizer guys.”
Lex Ford, Senior Vice President, said, “We’re the only real game in town.”
Patients have just two options to pay for their medicine in Florida, cash or CANPAY.
All monies collected from the dispensaries are done through armored truck pickup service. Once the funds are collected, they’re hauled off to a Federal Reserve vault.
Ford said, “It never comes back to the bank except by electronic transfer. We never touch the cash.”
This helps keep dispensary employees safe and shows that illicit money isn’t being laundered.
For LaRoe, the decision to open up services to the medical marijuana industry is personal.
LaRoe said, “My wife developed a seizure disorder and she was able to be cured with cannabis. It’s a miracle drug.”
Surterra made the first marijuana industry deposit in July 2016. First Green Bank did seek proper direction from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
Kim Rivers of Trulieve said, “We knew from the beginning that this business is different and highly, highly regulated. We give First Green any and all information asked for. We have a very transparent relationship with them and support their efforts to be above board and in compliance.”