NEW YORK: The marijuana industry grew at a 30 percent annual rate from 2015-2016, with Arcview Market Research predicting a 25 percent compound annual growth rate through 2021. As large as it is diverse, the industry now serves 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, where marijuana has become legal for medicinal and/or recreational use.
Demand, supply, and product diversity are fueling the growth. However, federal banking regulations restrict financial activity related to marijuana-based businesses. Global Payout (OTC: GOHE) (GOHE Profile) has unveiled a way around the cannabis industry's unbankability, as its MoneyTrac subsidiary offers an alternative fintech solution that allows the cannabis industry to access traditional banking services. SinglePoint, Inc. (OTC: SING) has implemented a similar strategy, while alternative payment solutions are poised to benefit organizations such as American Cannabis Company (OTC: AMMJ), Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTC: MCOA), and Easton Pharmaceuticals (OTC: EAPH), which are contributing to the industry's growth and diversity.
Businesses selling cannabis face money laundering and other penalties under federal law, given marijuana's classification under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 drug. The solution: alternative banking and electronic financial systems.
While Global Payout (OTC: GOHE) (founded as a prepaid card company in 2009) displays its financial technology prowess via its Global Reserve Platform, introduced in 2016 (http://nnw.fm/tKnY1), its MoneyTrac Technology subsidiary offers a full range of financial services to companies in high-risk markets. Mobile apps, an e-Wallet, and bill payment are part of its Payment Solution Platform, branded as Virtu Network Solutions. Relationships with affiliated partners support compliance and cash flow logistics.
MoneyTrac even enables clients to brand their payment platform, thanks to a white-label payment software solution. However, it is not limited to secure financial services. The subsidiary also offers business consulting, branding, marketing, and website design, mobile site development, and e-Commerce services. Its recent incorporation of bitcoin technology also affords a secure payment option for retail and wholesale customers. It avoids the challenges of all-cash transactions related to accounting, safety, and storage and fulfills a need by cannabis companies to efficiently manage their finances and overall businesses.
MoneyTrac also has a contract with H Smart Inc., a division of Marijuana Company of America, enabling the company to indirectly enter the multibillion-dollar cannabidiol (CBD) market (http://nnw.fm/2lvKq). H Smart, a developer and distributor of advanced wellness and CBD products, will profit from the use of technology offered through MoneyTrac to pay commissions for its affiliates. Global Payout expects this agreement will create significant revenue for MoneyTrac in the current fiscal quarter.
Further growing its roots in the cannabis industry, MoneyTrac recently finalized a majority ownership acquisition of PotSaver, a revenue-producing community periodical providing listings on discounted cannabis-related products for Southern California dispensaries and shops. The acquisition is expected to provide MTRAC with an immediate revenue stream related to PotSaver's existing subscription-based earnings.
"The majority ownership acquisition of PotSaver marks a significant milestone for MoneyTrac Technology," MoneyTrac, COO, stated in the news release. "Not only does it provide our company with an immediate source of revenue, but it provides us with a unique opportunity to take a proven revenue-generating business model and expand it through the infusion of the many different tools and resources we have available through our networking, software and business development capabilities."
MoneyTrac has also completed a joint-venture agreement with BlazeNow Inc., a majority owned subsidiary of MediaTechnics Corporation (OTC: MEDT). BlazeNow, once called the "Yelp" of the cannabis industry by NY Daily News, is an advertising and data collection platform focused on connecting cannabis-related businesses with patients and customers. MoneyTrac plans to use this partnership to pursue joint-revenue products and services, pooling each of the companies' resources to grow both brands.
Another cannabis-focused payment solutions provider is SinglePoint (SING), which, in addition to its alternative banking solutions, is building a solution to utilize cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Its SingleSeed Payments solution offers a non-cash alternative to traditional banking with cashless ATM terminals customers can use their debit or credit cards with dispensaries and other retailers. Mobile phone payments are supported as well, thanks to the Pay by Text service that optimizes the point-of-sale experience. It is integrated with the Text Message Marketing system, which lets clients communicate brand announcements and coupon codes to consumers. SingleSeed offers high-risk credit card processing as well, helping businesses and dispensaries establish transparent merchant accounts.
Fintech has helped contribute to the success of the marijuana industry, and the diversity of products and services. American Cannabis Company (OTCQB: AMMJ) is one that has prospered in the current market, helping clients with everything from financial matters to state licensing applications, to facility design and construction, equipment fulfillment, and branding/marketing. The company also offers compliance auditing services to manage activities such as licensing renewal, record keeping, seed-to-sale inventory tracking, packaging and labeling, waste disposal, and transportation procedures. It offers several cultivation solutions including SoHum Living Soils that can yield stronger and healthier plants. A range of extraction and infusion systems, and equipment, are sold as well. From the commercial Pot Washer to a child-resistance packaging, The Sachel, to the high-density Cultivation Cube, there is no shortage of diversity in this company's product catalog.
Marijuana Company of America (OTC: MCOA) is taking on the market in a different way, building on a diverse portfolio of investments and joint ventures. Established as a publicly traded company in 2015, it offers marketing and distribution services to legal cannabis firms. The organization is also involved in product research and development, including recent hemp cultivation trials in New Brunswick, Canada, as part of a joint venture with MCOA in preparation for commercial cultivation. It's wholly owned subsidiary, hempSMART, Inc. recently launched Full Spectrum Drops as a cannabidiol product free of THC and offered in four flavors. Also, the company operates the hempSMART website and e-commerce network marketing platform. Growth is a major component of the business plan, as the company has discussed establishing a presence in various countries going into 2018 and beyond.
Operating in various pharmaceutical sectors, Easton Pharmaceuticals (OTC: EAPH) is vested in the e-vaporizer liquid market thanks to an acquisition of iBliss, Inc. The company also recently closed an agreement with Alliance Group for 45 acres of land to cultivate and produce medical and recreational marijuana. It advanced $575,000 CDN towards this interest, for the agricultural land located north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In September 2017, it advanced another $1 million CDN to the firm, and is in the process of attaining permission from national and local governments to legally grow cannabis. Growth and diversity are evident here, especially given Canada's legalization of recreational marijuana on a national scale.
As the cannabis industry grows, traditional banking options remain off-limits. This has created many challenges for companies looking to develop their brands and turn a profit. Bitcoin technology and proprietary payment platforms such as MoneyTrac have provided alternatives that avoid the potential legal challenges of banking. Global Payout and SinglePoint have paved the way in this area. The growth and diversity of the burgeoning legal global cannabis industry is therefore not being deterred by such challenges. American Cannabis Company; Marijuana Company of America, Inc.; and Easton Pharmaceuticals are all examples of companies growing through acquisitions, partnerships, and diverse product and service offerings despite a lack of support from traditional financial institutions.