Best Cannabis Loan Lenders

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 10, 2022

If you’re in the cannabis industry, you know how important it is to have a good lender. Cannabis businesses are often considered high risk by traditional lenders, which can make it difficult to get the financing you need. Thankfully, specific cannabis lenders make it easier to access funding for your dispensary or other cannabis-based business. If you’re having trouble getting a loan from a standard business lending option, consider these companies that offer flexible financing options for cannabis business owners. 

The Best Cannabis Lenders

Benzinga has put together a list of the best cannabis lenders to help you locate the cannabis lending services you need to get your business up and running or develop your next project. These companies specialize in lending to the cannabis industry, and they understand the unique risks and challenges that come with it. Though these cannabis lending services may have unique requirements that vary from traditional financing institutions, they can be more flexible when it comes to qualifying for financing. 

Canna Business Resources

Think of Canna Business Resources as a one-stop shop for all the financial support your cannabis business needs. The firm offers specialty cannabis loans, helping you kickstart your dispensary, distribution firm, growing company, expand, manage new projects, handle payroll, etc. 

Working capital loans from Canna Business Resources require no proof of revenue, tax returns or pay stubs. The firm simply reviews business income, credit ratings, bank deposits per month and other factors. In short, you’re not considered “risky” just because you work in the cannabis industry. You have a lending partner in Canna Business Resources, and you work with a personal business advisor who will steer you toward a loan that is perfect for your company. 

Finally, Canna Business Resources makes it possible for small businesses to get started in their respective communities. While you may feel the community needs a cannabis or CBD dispensary, you can grow on your land or you have industrial space that lends itself to production or distribution, it can be hard to obtain funding. That is why you look to Canna Business Resources to learn what is possible.

First Down Funding

First Down Funding is a leading provider of small business loans within the cannabis industry. It offers loans of up to $300,000, and it has a simple and easy application process. In many cases, applicants will have access to the money that they requested in a loan within 72 hours of submitting their application if they qualify. This means that First Down Funding can be a strong choice for applicants who need funding urgently or who are in the last stages of launching their business. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $300,000, with fee-based APRs. The terms of First Down Funding loans start at 12 months and go as high as 120 months (1 to 10 years).

One of the attributes that makes First Down Funding stand out is its acceptance of low credit scores. This cannabis lending firm may accept applicants with credit scores in the 400s, and personal guarantees aren’t re quired for those with poor credit to access funding. 

First Down Funding is ideal for established cannabis businesses, so if you’ve been around for a while and need additional capital injected into your company, First Down Funding is worth checking out. But if you’re trying to get your cannabis business off the ground, you might want to look elsewhere. First Down Funding requires you to have been in business for at least two years to qualify for funding, and you must have an annual revenue of at least $300,000, meaning that new businesses will not qualify for lending services. 

Green Leaf Money

Green Leaf Money is a direct lender that specializes in loans for the cannabis industry. One of the things that sets Green Leaf Money apart is that it helps find lenders who are willing to loan money to cannabis companies. As such, Green Leaf Money serves as a middleman, bridging a gap that might otherwise be inaccessible to cannabis business owners.

Green Leaf Money can find you loans of varying amounts, so if you need a smaller loan, this could be a good option for you. Loans start at just $1,000 and go up to as much as $250,000. The company also offers short-term loans with terms as short as 12 months — or as many as 144 months (12 years).

If you feel more comfortable working with lenders and banks yourself, you might want to look elsewhere. Just know that you may have a harder time getting approval without Green Leaf Money’s connections. The company maintains connections with cannabis-approved lenders, so there’s a much better likelihood of getting the loan you want by going through Green Leaf Money.

To qualify for a loan, you need to have a good credit score of at least 700 points to be considered by Green Leaf Money’s lenders. The fees are also on the high side, with APRs that can go as high as 30% (they start at 6.98%). Be ready to present documentation of your income, as well as financial statements and balance sheets. The requirements are strict compared to other options, but Green Leaf Money is a powerful advocate for cannabis companies.

United Capital Source

United Capital Source is a business lending firm that doesn’t solely cater to cannabis companies but rather to high-risk businesses. United Capital Source represents all kinds of businesses, including those within the cannabis industry. 

As an alternative cannabis lending firm, United Capital Source offers a wide range of financing options, with loan limitations that are higher than many other competing companies. Loans start out at $10,000 and go to $5 million. If you weren’t looking for that much of a cash injection, it’s recommended that you consider another option. However, if you need a good portion of capital to aid in your business ventures, United Capital Source could be the answer you’re looking for. APRs start at just 5% and go up based on your loan, credit score and other factors.

Speaking of credit, United Capital Source accepts credit scores as low as 550. You don’t need years of experience to get approved — just six months in business is all that the lender’s looking for. While this is great news for newer cannabis companies, it’s bad news for entrepreneurs hoping to start their own cannabis businesses with the funding from the loan that they receive. 

Diamond Business Loans

Diamond Business Loans is somewhat of a unique entry, as its strong point is helping cannabis companies that haven’t been successful in securing funding elsewhere. If you’ve been rejected for funding from other options (including those on this list), you might want to consider submitting an application with Diamond Business Loans. 

Diamond Business Loans offers short-term loans, with terms as short as 12 months and as long as 60 months. The 12-month option is shorter than many other lenders, making Diamond Business Loans a better option if you’re looking for fast cash and you know that you’ll be able to make your repayments quickly. 

Loan amounts range from $25,000 to $150,000. Getting approved and getting your funding can take a while, however. Most users’ applications will take several weeks to be approved, and it can take even longer if you have special considerations that Diamond must take into account during underwriting. So if you need a quick cash injection, Diamond Business Loans might not be the best option for your business. You must have a credit score of at least 680 points to secure a loan with Diamond’s team. 

When Should Cannabis Companies Take Out Loans?

You might be wondering when the best time is to take out a loan as a cannabis company. The answer, unfortunately, isn’t as black and white as you might hope. The truth is that there are numerous reasons why you might need to take out a loan for your cannabis business, many of which can overlap others. Some of the most common reasons why cannabis companies request business loans include the following. 

  • Inventory: The most common reason for taking out a loan in the cannabis industry is to buy inventory. This requirement is especially common for new dispensary businesses that need to stock their shelves before they open their doors to the public.
  • Expansion: Many businesses in the cannabis industry take out loans for expansion purposes, including anything from opening a new location to increasing the size of your current facility. If your business manufactures cannabis products, you can also use your loan on the research and development of new products. 
  • Advertising and marketing: One of the best ways to grow your cannabis company is to invest in advertising and marketing. Unfortunately, these things can be quite expensive. As such, many companies take out loans to cover the costs associated with getting the name of their business out there in the local community, especially shortly after opening the business.
  • Working capital: In addition to the reasons mentioned above, many companies also take out loans for working capital. This money can be used for anything from paying employees to covering the cost of day-to-day operations during the period when the business is not yet independently financially viable. 

No matter what your reason for taking out a loan, it’s important to do your research and choose the right business lending company for your needs.

Benefits of Cannabis Loans

You gain a number of benefits that come along with taking out a loan as a cannabis company. From much-needed cash injections to increased opportunities for growth, loans can be a great way to take your business to the next level. Some of the benefits that you might be able to take advantage of when you take out a cannabis loan include the following. 

  • Access to capital: One of the biggest benefits of taking out a loan is that it gives you access to capital that you might not otherwise have. You can use this funding to stock your business, purchase supplies and pay for advertising or payroll and other expenses you might run into while running the day-to-day operations of your business. 
  • Increased growth potential: With access to additional capital, you will have more opportunities for growth. This could mean anything from expanding your current operation to opening a new location.
  • Improved cash flow: In addition to giving you access to capital, loans can also improve your cash flow. You will have a set amount of money coming in each month, which can be used to cover expenses and keep your business running smoothly. While you’ll need to pay the money back according to the terms of your loan, knowing that you have capital to cover payroll and commercial operating expenses can give you peace of mind as you build your stability as a business. 

Mistakes to Avoid When Getting a Cannabis Loan

While a cannabis loan can be a useful tool for getting your business up and running or developing a new product, it’s important to remember that uncontrolled debt has the potential to ruin your business. Avoid these common mistakes when applying for your cannabis loan.

  • Not calculating your interest rate: When you take out a loan, you’ll pay back your principal balance (the amount you borrowed) with additional interest. The interest you pay is expressed in terms of the annual percentage rate (APR), which is the yearly percentage of interest charged on the loan. An APR that’s too high can make paying your loan back difficult — so be sure you know your APR and how it will influence your payments before you sign a loan.
  • Borrowing too much money: Just because you might be approved for a big loan doesn’t mean you should take it. Failing to pay back your loan can have devastating consequences for your business, which is why it’s so important to consider what your business can realistically afford to pay back over time. If you’re in the earlier stages of establishing yourself as a business, consider a loan with a longer term to lower the amount that you need to pay each month. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What are some alternatives to cannabis loans?

A

Some alternatives to traditional cannabis loans include peer-to-peer personal lending, personal loans and direct investments from individuals (angel investments). Do not lie about your business or attempt to use a middleman to conceal the nature of your cannabis business in order to be approved for a loan — this is a violation of federal law.

Q

Are cannabis loans legal?

A

So long as you live in an area where it is legal to sell cannabis products, you have the right licensing and your business is operating within the terms of your state’s law, cannabis loans are legal. However, these businesses present clear risks on the side of the lender, as they’re relatively new classes of operations. This means that it can be more difficult to be approved for a loan for a cannabis business when compared to another type of small business.

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.