The Sunshine State of Florida begins the uneasy steps bridging the new green backed market with the old greenback market.

Cannabis is finally allowed to have its own bank account in Florida and this will be the first time that it’s openly acknowledged and allowed to happen in view of the state and federal government. While it may not seem evident why, this is a huge and important step in the foundation of not only legitimizing the field but also offering important protections and allowing for the field to grow, much like its product, at a measured and predictable rate. It also provides Florida and Floridians the opportunity to be on the forefront of a new era.

Kudos to First Green Bank of Orlando, Florida for being one of the few banks in the country providing banking services for medical cannabis. It’s opened seven locations since 2009 and can only keep going up. It’s a brave move to be the first, and it’s not often the most highly rewarded step. The delicate effort that they must move with to prevent drawing the ire of the feds is mired in paperwork and bureaucracy. Many of the rules they play by will become the standard, at least in the beginning, and it’s sure to have some growing pains.

Of course, the local community can give back and support the effort, much like First Green Bank gives back to the environment through their clean initiatives. Every dollar the local citizen can save or use through that bank, it keeps funds active, and your favorite budtender paid. It keeps smiling faces in their lobby and you just might save some dough on your checking! Beyond the uniqueness of this particular local bank, there are plenty of reasons to use any local bank.

Thanks to federal protection over banking, there is a conflict of interest between 99.9% of banks and the cannabis market. Cannabis is still federally illegal; banks, being federal entities to a moderate extent, cannot touch money from cannabis or offer protection over it. No federal insurance over deposits and no use of any federal, financial infrastructure to move funds from one area to another. Mind you, the IRS will still come for your taxes from the sale of the meds or tax your income if you are an employee, but there’s no easy way to go about it.

Maybe most importantly, but not as romantic or evident, is the usage of bank financing versus private loans and credit cards. All business operate on debt to some extent. It can be to buy the new dryer for the laundromat or to get the parking lot repainted. Not every business can spot those costs upfront. By the use of financing through a local bank or credit union, these ventures can scale up their production, marketing, and facilities. Cannabis will have a hard time getting out of the days of the shoe box and pocket scale if the owners and investors cannot gain access to the funds needed to grow and legitimize the business.