Six of Florida’s seven licensed medical cannabis companies are doing business at First Green Bank, an Orlando-area financial institution founded in 2009, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The small firm has just six branches throughout Central Florida, managing about $622 million in assets.
Lex Ford, a senior vice president at First Green, said the institution was started down the path of working with the cannabis industry because founder Ken LaRoe’s wife was changed when she began using cannabis for seizures. LaRoe founded the bank with social responsibility and environmental principles in mind, offering low-interest rate loans and discounts on “green” initiatives.
Ford indicated that the bank employs a team who work exclusively with cannabis business clients and they have very strict policies and security procedures in place because “cash is still king” in the cannabis space due to federal law.
“We presented our plan to the FCC, FDIC and every regulatory group out there possible,” Ford said in the report, noting that they use armored cars to pick up the cash, which is deposited directly into an account in the Federal Reserve. “It’s possible to do this. We just have to do it right. So we’re being as transparent as possible.”