Marijuana is legal in several states but illegal on a federal level. So, on top of the typical problems faced by every retail-related business, marijuana businesses must clear additional financial hurdles stemming from their products’ legal status.
Many marijuana businesses are unable to open bank accounts and therefore deal mostly in cash. This requires high-tech security systems, like 24/7 video surveillance, reinforced doors, and windows. Armored trucks are needed to transport hundreds of thousands in cash regularly.
Businesses that do have accounts with credit unions pay a massive price. There’s an upfront fee of approximately $10,000 to cover financial audits and background checks. Some credit unions also charge at least $5,000 a month for ongoing due diligence and reporting mandated by FinCEN. And since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not permit deductions for businesses involved with illegal substances, marijuana businesses must pay twice or even three times as much in taxes than a conventional retailer.
With so few lending sources available, a marijuana business could easily make the mistake of financing significant business expenses with a credit card. In certain areas, the only alternative is risking your home’s loss with a home equity line of credit.
United Capital Source has experience in facilitating Small Business Loans for Marijuana Dispensaries & Businesses. We have access to all types of business lending products. Contact us today for your FREE business funding consultation!
Banks and credit unions are certainly taking their time warming up to the marijuana industry. Such institutions have been legally permitted to provide small business loans to marijuana businesses since 2014, but more than two years later, less than 40% of marijuana businesses have bank accounts.
That number isn’t expected to grow as long as marijuana remains federally classified in the same category as heroin. The revenue generated by marijuana businesses is technically rooted in an illegal substance. The few institutions that do work with marijuana businesses offer minimal services, like direct deposit and sending tax payments to the state.
Starting and maintaining a marijuana business is incredibly expensive. The cost to purchase warehouse space in Colorado has reportedly doubled over the past two years, and marijuana businesses must pay an extra 10% on federal employee withholding taxes because they can’t pay them electronically. Marijuana businesses also aren’t eligible for the same tax deductions as traditional small businesses, forcing them to double or triple the amount of taxes they would normally pay, reports ThinkProgress.
A viable solution to these funding difficulties lies in alternative business financing, and no, we’re not just talking about investors. Giving up a stake in your marijuana business is much more expensive than, say, securing a working capital loan, especially if your company is poised for a buyout.
Colorado-based vaporizer company Green Smoke, for example, was purchased by Altria Group for $110 million. If Green Smoke had given away 10% of the company, they would have had to pay $11,000,000 at the time of the sale. Another option could have been giving up 10% debt-equity in exchange for $2 million in working capital with 18% interest over the course of two years. This would have cost them just $2,360,000 at the time of the sale.
Sources of business funding are sparse for the marijuana industry. Still, according to Cashnibis, several Colorado marijuana businesses have received millions in working capital loans, real estate loans, and equipment financing. These companies proved good cash flow, had a strong financial history and sought at least $250,000. Regarding working capital loans, terms ranged from 12-24 months, with rates starting from the mid-teens up to more than 20%. Cultivation equipment cannot legally be used as collateral, so a down payment of 35 to 45% is usually required.
Marijuana business loans are available for California businesses as well. San Francisco-based SPARC was previously looking to expand its grow facility from 10,000 to 25,000 square feet. The company was recently able to make this happen by securing a $430,000 three-year lease on equipment.
Another method of alternative business financing that is beginning to gain traction for marijuana businesses is crowdfunding.
Eaze Solutions, a San Francisco maker of technology for marijuana delivery services, utilized crowdfunding to fund part of a $1.5 million expansion. Redwood City’s Loto Labs was able to crowdfund more than $220,000 to fund the production of a new vaporizer. Potential donors are understandably suspicious of up-and-coming marijuana businesses, so many tend to prove legitimacy using graphs and videos that outline their goals.
There are even cannabis-centric crowdfunding platforms like Cannafundr, Potfundr, WeCanna, and CannaDabbaDo for marijuana businesses that may have been rejected from popular sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. However, most marijuana businesses that have found success from crowdfunding did so because they were able to secure partnerships with angel investors and venture capitalists looking for a stake in the business.
In addition to federal law, the marijuana industry’s risky reputation is also attributed to the constant changes in regulations, some of which can have detrimental effects on cash flow and make it extremely difficult to repay debt. United Capital Source specializes in facilitating funding for companies that regularly experience inconsistencies in cash flow and has never rejected a potential borrower solely because he or she belonged to a stereotypically “risky” industry. Terms are extremely flexible, allowing business owners to pay off debt without trouble despite the most extreme, seasonal drops in revenue.
Major banks might be afraid of marijuana’s historical reputation, but United Capital Source‘s lender network does not discriminate based on industry stereotypes. We have worked with plenty of industries that are stereotyped as “low-growth” or “risky.”
And unlike banks, our network’s small business loans are incredibly versatile and can therefore be customized to offset the unique cash flow issues of marijuana businesses. We can facilitate working capital loans to cover rising regular expenses or standard business term loans for larger initiatives, like adding warehouse space, meeting security regulations, or ordering excessive inventory long before it will be sold.
Another viable option for revenue-generating investments is revenue based business loans. This working capital loan is designed for businesses with consistently strong revenue, which is an undeniable attribute of this booming industry. Payments are deducted as a fixed percentage of monthly revenue. Your largest payments would theoretically not be made until your products are selling like wildfire.
With this payment system, you could launch a long-term marketing campaign, increase staff, or buy new equipment without having to compromise operational funding to make payments shortly after. Multiple working capital loans have also proven to be very effective when it comes to paying suppliers at the right time to grow their businesses just like yours.
We are well-aware that debt financing might be a completely new experience for a marijuana business. Rest assured: You do not have to worry about being taken advantage of or being restricted from certain business funding programs. We are more than happy to negotiate terms that accommodate your individual financial cycle and walk you through every step of the repayment process. The marijuana industry’s explosive growth is inevitable. But marijuana businesses will only serve their expanding customer base if companies like UCS are willing to take this epic journey with them!
Is your marijuana business ready to expand? Call 855.217.4785 or visit the UCS website to chat with a business funding expert who has solved this dilemma many times before. Potential borrowers are judged exclusively by performance, so if the cash flow is there, you will not miss out on your chance to cash in on the world’s fastest-growing industry! Apply now to see how much you qualify for!
|LOAN TYPES||MAX AMOUNTS||RATES||SPEED|
|Merchant Cash Advances||$5k – $1m||Starting at 1-6% p/mo||1-2 business days|
|SBA Loan||$50k-$5.5m||Starting at Prime + 2.75%||8-12 weeks|
|Business Term Loan||$10k to $5m||Starting at 1-4% p/mo||1-3 business days|
|Business Line of Credit||$1k to $1m||Starting at 1% p/mo||1-3 business days|
|Receivables/Invoice Financing||$10k-$10m||Starting at 1% p/mo||1-2 weeks|
|Equipment Financing||Up to $5m per piece||Starting at 3.5% (SBA)||3-10+ business days|
|Revenue Based Business Loans||$5K – $1m||Starting at 1-6% p/mo||1-2 business days|