A normal chief financial officer’s job is to look after the balance sheets and bank statements. But pot business job bears similarities to the illicit trade inclusive of transportation of cash under the surveillance of guns.
Ask Tom DiGiovanni, this chief financial officer, and former Ernst & Young accountant who works to protect the revenues for his company in an unmarked armored van from the probability of thieves.
He says “Over the course of a month, we probably have $2 million in cash that’s in some state of transit, which is expected to rise to $4 million by the end of this year which would definitely require much guarded mobile vehicles.”
He adds, “It seems crazy to sit around them. They wear tactical gears and ankle holsters which gives one a feeling of missions in the movie.” He smiles in a silly way and says, “it looks like I am Ray Liotta’s brother with a nightclub bouncer’s build”
He further agrees that he likes adventure, in his work life. It gives you a push of a gangster even though you are not.
Marijuana is declared legal for medical and recreational purpose in 34 states. A lot many businesses have ventured into this market but the financial industry is still at par. None of the major U.S banks allows opening account for a company like Canndescent.
Generally, the anti-cannabis groups oppose the bill and argue about the threats associated with public health.
Financial institutions serving the pot industry are small, state-chartered banks or credit unions which are also monitored on a regular basis to identify any suspicious activity. A cannabis business has to pay thousands as a monthly fee in order to have an account. It is because of extra risk costs even more. Canndescent invested $200,000 in a weighing machine that packs six times faster. The interest rate is higher as compared to the normal rate.
Most of the times, individual investors finance the cannabis business. Canndescent has built 27000 square foot house in desert hot springs with the money coming from Friends and family.
Digiovanni says that “Growing number of sales has added a too much headache to manage the money. He has to employ workers to do that.
He further adds “It’s three or four hours a day that they’re standing in front of that machine, feeding cash into it,”. And it must be counted three times, at an undisclosed location, after every transfer — a process we’re not at all allowed to see. “It gets transported again on a random schedule to our processing facility, which is in a different city that I won’t name,” he says.
Alyson Martin, co-founder of news site Cannabis wire states that “Safety is one primary argument in favor of legalizing banking for the industry” because most of it is the cash-only business is the favorite prey for the robbers and thieves, she added further.
DiGiovanni believes that legislation will eventually pass the bill and in the long run, it would help in generating revenues for the government. But before that, I’ll continue to move piles of cash in a disguised bulletproof van.