The federal laws concerning marijuana makes banking for cannabis related business difficult. There have been reports of higher crime around marijuana dispensaries and one of the leading theories as to why is that criminals know that dispensaries often have a lot of cash on their premises. Some states are working on establishing special banks for the marijuana industry, but in the meantime alternatives need to be sought out and an armored truck service could help.
California has a huge economy and has some of the biggest demand for legal marijuana in the country. An armored car service catering to the cannabis industry has just started up to help cannabis businesses transport money and marijuana products. Hardcar Security, the armored truck business, may be a great solution until the federal government comes around on legalizing marijuana.
A pair of California business partners think they’ve found their niche in the burgeoning cannabis industry: Armored cars that move money and marijuana across the state.
Because marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, few banks will open accounts for marijuana businesses, meaning most operate entirely in cash. To buy supplies or pay taxes, they need to move that cash.
Then there’s the products themselves — marijuana plants, edibles, CBD oil, associated equipment, all valuable in themselves.
“We’re either going to triple or quadruple in size in 2018,” when sales of recreational marijuana begin in California, Hardcar Security CEO Todd Kleperis said.
Founded in late 2015, the Palm Springs-based company generated “a few hundred thousand” dollars in revenue in 2016 and will be “well into a million” in 2017, Kleperis said.
They have eight full-time and 20 part-time employees — most of whom Kleperis expects to bring on full time after recreational sales begin in California on Jan. 2, and most of whom are military veterans.
Kleperis said Hardcar has 25 regular clients, most of them in northern California. His drivers move cannabis products from growers and manufacturers there to dispensaries in southern California.
Kleperis and COO Jeff Breier met more than a decade ago in China, where both worked in security technology. By 2015, both were closely watching the cannabis industry. They partnered and opened an office in the California desert, hoping to serve the fast-growing industry.
Terry Blevins, president and CEO of Santa Monica-based Armaplex, saw the same opportunity. About eight months ago, the former police officer and longtime security professional launched Armaplex, which offers transportation and on-site security as well as consulting services.
“I just saw there was going to be a huge opportunity for security,” Blevins said. “I knew it was going to be a highly regulated industry. I knew that a lot of the people who have been in the industry for decades may not have the security experience to secure their own product and cash, so they’re going to be turning to people like me.”
Blevins, who routinely speaks at industry conferences about security issues, estimated that California’s marijuana businesses will be spending as much as $200 million on transportation and security within two years of recreational sales beginning Jan. 1.
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