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LR Businessmen Announce Cashless System for Medical Marijuana Industry

2 min read

Four Little Rock businessmen have launched a company that will offer cashless banking services to the state’s new medical marijuana industry through an Arkansas bank that has not yet been identified.

MediPays is the name under which Rockview Digital Solutions LLC will offer its services. Rockview was incorporated in September by CEO Brian Bauer, CFO John Foley, Chief Technology Officer Greg Ellis and Chief Legal Officer Dan Roda, and Roda told Arkansas Business they are the only investors in the company.

The MediPays product is a mobile wallet into which patients with prescriptions for medical marijuana can load money that can be used only at participating marijuana dispensaries. Roda compared a MediPays account to a health savings account that can only be used for specific purchases. 

The MediPays accounts will be deposited into the unidentified bank with which Rockview has an exclusive contract in Arkansas, so customers will eventually know the identity of the bank that holds their deposits, Roda said.

Similarly, marijuana-related businesses can use the platform to pay bills, manage payroll and create financial reporting for stakeholders and regulators, according to a press release MediPays issued on Monday.

MediPays hopes that its cashless system can set an industry standard. “It would be great if Arkansas could take the lead in taking the cash out of this business,” Roda said.

The marijuana industry has legal standing in 29 states but is still illegal under federal law. This has created a complicated landscape for federally insured banks, and credit card issuers have refused to provide merchant accounts to marijuana-related businesses like dispensaries and cultivators.

No bank in Arkansas has publicly announced plans to provide services to the marijuana industry, which is ramping up since being approved by 53 percent of voters in November 2016. The state Medical Marijuana Commission plans to announce winning bids for five cultivation licenses on Feb. 27. 

State Rep. Doug House, the North Little Rock Republican who took the lead in passing enabling legislation for the medical marijuana amendment, said Monday evening that MediPays’ and its relationship with an in-state bank had relieved him of a nagging concern.

“I started this thing with absolute terror and morphed into blind hope and faith, and I’m to the point of confidence that we have banks. The last step will be assurance,” he said.

“Over all, I’m really pleased. The banking situation I was really dreading.”

MediPays will have an exhibit at the Ark-La-Tex Cannabis Business Expo at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock on Wednesday and Thursday.

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