The cannabis industry on Guam faces high risks due to the island's isolation and intake of foreign currency from the tourism industry, according to Sundie Seefried, the president and founder of Safe Harbor Financial and one of the presenters during Friday's virtual cannabis roundtable hosted by the Office of the Attorney General.
Seefried said cannabis would be a cash-intensive business for some time due to the stigma around it, and cash-intensive businesses are a risk to the financial system. Her company, Safe Harbor, was created in 2015 to address a major issue that had plagued the cannabis industry in Colorado - access to financial services.
"Getting money off (Guam) is a problem. Cash on the island is going to be a problem if you don't implement some type of program up front," Seefried said. "The sooner you can go into some type of digitized model, the sooner everybody is going to be safer, and cash won't be a problem to get off the island, so you won't have to store the cash in the vaults. So, it does pay to talk about this before you issue the licenses before you help the businesses up and running, is how you're going to handle that cash."
Seefried said she could only see the CanPay model working for Guam at this time, as it had worked in Hawaii. CanPay is a payment app for cannabis retailers and other emerging industries, according to the app website.
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