Cash in the U.S. Legal Cannabis Market: The Unseen Cost of Cash in a Pandemic

Cash spending on legal cannabis by U.S. consumers is rising despite broader economic turbulence.

Boston, June 16, 2020 – The legal cannabis sector in the United States has faced significant challenges in gaining access to financial services, resulting in an overreliance on cash that causes significant problems for the industry and affects cannabis businesses, banks, tax collection, law enforcement, regulators, and public health and safety. Despite these challenges, the sector continues to expand. Does it hold significant opportunities for banks?

This report, produced by Aite Group in conjunction with the Emerging Markets Coalition, is a snapshot of the use of cash in the legal cannabis sector. It looks at the legal underpinnings that force such a heavy reliance on cash, the current and forecast use of cash in the medical and adult-use space, and some of the opportunities for banks and other financial institutions. It is primarily based on publicly available data sources, including state-level bodies and tax authorities, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, as well as on Aite Group’s in-house data modelling.

This 19-page Impact Report contains three figures and two tables. Clients of Aite Group’s Wholesale Banking & Payments service can download this report, the corresponding charts, and the Executive Impact Deck.

This report mentionsAbaca, American Express, Apple, Dama Financial, Discover, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Hypur, ICS, Mastercard, NatureTrak, Shield Compliance, SpenceLabs, Square, Starbucks, Stripe, and Visa.

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