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  • Writer's pictureElucidation Strategies

Access to Financial Services Shouldn't Be This Hard

The continued federal prohibition and state-by-state workaround approach causes endless roadblocks, negatively impacting every aspect of the cannabis industry.

Access to banking services is a basic necessity for all businesses.  Just how hard is it for a cannabusiness to get what they need when it comes to money-related services?

Elucidation Strategies, a non-plant-touching consulting agency that works in the cannabis education and planning space, just found out.

ES recently switched accounting software services.  When completing the invoice template in the new Freshbooks account, the option to accept credit card payments via Stripe was integrated into the process.  The Stripe account was authorized during the set-up.

Within 2 hours of the account creation, ES received this:

After responding to Stripe with a "No," to the "Will your business selling information/courses on how to grow marijuana?" inquiry, ES received this:

ES went through the appeal process many times, asking for specific information about the violation, to receive this:

Next, customer service representative Mark chimed in with a reinforcing, vague response.

After another round of appeals, CSR Sean provided addtional corporate-copy insight about the determination that ES is a restricted business.

Prohibited Businesses

You must not use Stripe’s services for the following activities.


  • Cannabis products

  • Cannabis dispensaries and related businesses

What was the action that prompted the Stripe account shut-down?

ES generated an invoice for a library that had booked an interactive, educational Cannabis Community Conversation program. According to Stripe, that public program activity falls under the "Cannabis dispensaries and related businesses."

After filing an official complaint beyond the standard review process -

Elucidation Strategies, a consulting agency that works in the cannabis space without any direct plant-touching operations, is not eligible for an account with one of the largest financial services and SaaS companies in the world.

Wow. Just wow.

When we consider the immovable roadblocks for a boutique cannabis consulting agency that provides education and strategic planning services - a non-plant-touching company! - the realization about the monumental challenges that exist for licensed operators hits fast and hard.

This one outrageous examples sheds light on just how far the continued Category 1 classification and federal prohibition reaches. This impacts every single aspect of ANY cannabis operation (or ancillary!), especially in regards to finances. It's imperative to acknowledge the implications and limitations for opening a bank account, obtaining financing, tax deductions and other accounting activities, and so much more...

Yes, New Jersey has a legal cannabis market (alongside 40 other medicinal/23 other adult-use states), but the advocacy work is far from over. To all of the operators out there trying to get ahead, your work continues to inspire as its obvious that adversity looms with every step forward you attempt.

At ES, we will do whatever we can to provide acurate and relevant education to address destigmatization and eliminate the damaging cannabis narrative that has plagued the country for decades.

Contact Elucidation Strategies for more information about cannabis educational services.


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