The Cannabis Industry continues to grown with states legalizing recreational and medical marijuana use regularly. Despite remaining a federally illegal substance this industry continues to flourish and gown. In 2020 the US Marijuana sales reached $17.5 billion, with research showing it is likely to continue to grow. Despite the states legalizing cannabis, the industry continues to face many hurdles including the inability to alternative payments (currently primarily a cash industry). Harry Brelsford of The Cannatech Group sits down with Vik Devjee of CIMA Cash Handling to discuss the importance of alternative payments, and what he is seeing in the industry.
Harry Brelsford – Hey, welcome back to the CannaTech Podcast. I’m with Vik at CIMA. How’re you doing, ViK?
Vik Devjee -Hey, how are you? How are you? Good to see you again.
Harry Brelsford – Good, good. So good to have you back on. So wanted to talk about maybe alternative payment methodologies in the cannabis vertical? What’s going on?
Vik Devjee – Yeah, it’s, you know, it’s interesting area we are, obviously we participate in lots of conversations and discussions around the broader cannabis industry, and so on. And, you know, we see a lot of appetite, I guess is the right word for it. appetite and desire for alternative ways to pay for product and cannabis, right. And what we’re finding and what we still see today is that the alternatives are just not mature enough in the industry yet to be mainstream payment options for cannabis dispensary owners. And therefore there’s this heavy reliance and still heavy dependency on cash as the primary payment mechanism inside of inside of the cannabis industry. So that’s kind of the rail that we are, we’re involved in. That’s all we do. As an organization, we help retailers and banks and hospitality business, automate cash handling processes, and and so that’s really our focus is while those alternative payment scenarios don’t exist, they’re not mature, they’re not legal, whatever that case is, right? Whatever it is, I’ll focus is just how do we help them deal with the cash?
Harry Brelsford – Yeah, yeah, no kidding. What is their the safe Banking Act? How could that affect you? I’m just making this question. But what what does that do for you?
Vik Devjee -Yeah, that’s, that’s an interesting one, I think about it a lot. But, you know, I also, I also lean on the broader retail industry that we participate in. And the conversations we have with retailers that are today maturity to retailers, like grocery retailers, and convenience store, retailers, and so on. And while they can accept all forms of cash payment, the split tends to be in depending on the industry, but you know, in fast food, it’s sometimes 5050 cash versus non cash. Grocery could be 3070, you know, cash versus non cash. So, ultimately the store a relevance for cash in even those industries. So, what I’m what I’m saying is that even after the safe Banking Act, passes, when it does, the question I always ask myself is, what impact is that going to have on the amount of cash flowing through cannabis dispensary? So my guess is, and it’s just a guess, at this stage is, is it will continue to be very relevant in cannabis for a number of reasons. And anomaly being one of those? Yeah, no, I hear you know. So. So, you know, I think I think the, the percentage of cash in cannabis, in my opinion, will be higher than traditional retail environments for a long time, even after safe Banking Act. So maybe like, once the safe Banking Act passes, all of a sudden cash is going to disappear, and everyone’s going to, you know, implement credit card payments, or digital payments of some sort. And cash will just disappear. I don’t think that’s going to be the case at all. What it means, though, is that, you know, we might just see slightly less demand for automation in certain dispensaries, because the percentages are, are not in the favor of automating. But we’re still seeing huge demand for automating cash handling processes in traditional retail environments, where cash is the smaller percentage to the overall value of payments in their businesses. So yeah, I’m not I’m not losing sleep over the fact that we won’t have opportunities in the cannabis space for cash automation when that? Yeah,
Harry Brelsford – yeah, no, I concur. And that would also lead into foreign transactions in foreign countries. No. Are you only in the USA? Or, you know, because the cannabis is opening up in other countries, of course, Canada being the simple example. But D across borders.
Vik Devjee -We as an organization do Yeah, so CIMA is a global company we sell in 45 Different countries through okay. So yeah, we can handle multi currency and we do sell our technology in countries we are partners that represent our products in Canada, too. Yeah. Yeah. So we have a lot of experience dealing with different currencies and different economies and, and so on, and you’ll be amazed at how cash is handled differently. Yeah. In different parts of the world. Like it’s just it’s it’s phenomenal how those variances are.
Harry Brelsford -That’s what I was getting at, you know, from my travels back in the day. of countries and I still have a bag full of coins and currency over here. Countries.
Vik Devjee -Yeah, absolutely. Yep. And it’s, it’s, you know, coin is still a relevant part of that that whole industry we’ve experienced a lot of coin challenges, coin supply chain challenges recently but they’re getting better. But yeah, it’s a it’s an interesting place and fortunately for us we get to cross a number of different borders.
Harry Brelsford -Alright, Vic, great to catch up with you take care of my friend.
Vik Devjee -Lovely to chat again, Harry, take care. Thanks for having me on. Ciao.