Don’t Take Chances. Partner with PowerQwest for 100% Compliant ATMs

Finance and banking continues to be one of the cannabis industry’s most negatively impactful issues. With the plant still rendered federally illegal, many banks are reluctant to do business with cannabis operators – and that forces many dispensaries to continue relying on cash-only transactions.

There are a number of problems with this approach: 

  1. Customers being less willing to engage with the business 
  2. Dispensaries being left especially vulnerable to theft 

Because of this, financial solutions to the notorious nationwide cannabis cash problem are in high demand throughout the industry.

PowerQwest Financial, the cannabis-focused subdivision of Paramount Management Group, was founded in response to this resounding cry for help. The company offers 100 percent compliant ATMs to cannabis operators: mitigating risk, maximizing profit, and educating business owners on their most viable options within the cannabis financial sphere. 

We sat down with PowerQwest Financial Director of Retail Sales Jim Krawczyk to discuss the company’s foundation and explore how PowerQwest helps bridge the confusing gap between consumer and operator at nationwide cannabis transactions. 

Leafwire: How was PowerQwest first formed?

Jim Krawczyk: PowerQwest is our cannabis entity that we brought to life a few years ago. We wanted to get into the cannabis space, and one of our private equity partners had some interest in the market. We formed PowerQwest in response to that – and as a way for us to jump into the cannabis arena.

LW: What sort of services does PowerQwest offer the cannabis industry?

JK: We offer 100 percent compliant ATM solutions to our customers. It’s a closed loop system: the money comes from a credit union to the federal reserve to an armored car guard, and is then deposited directly into the ATM.

This means no one can interject their own cash, which renders it 100 percent compliant. ATMs can easily be turned into money laundering machines, and that’s where things get murky for operators under federal scrutiny. 

LW: Why do cannabis dispensaries need ATMs in the first place?

JK: Since cannabis isn’t legal on a federal level, Visa and MasterCard don’t allow retailers to accept credit or debit cards for cannabis purchases. That means they have to rely on cash, and the safest and easiest way to provide customers with that cash is via ATMs – preferably one or more per store. 

LW: What are some cannabis industry-specific challenges you’ve come across since founding PowerQwest?

JK: The industry has a lot of rules and regulations. When you’re talking about putting an ATM in a convenience store, there aren’t many rules to worry about. We can sell an ATM to the owner and install it – we can do whatever we want. Cannabis is much more rigid.

With dispensaries we have to own the ATM, load it with cash, and from our benefit and backend, we have to make sure the dispensary owner has their best interest involved as well. It’s important to ensure we’re doing everything we can to make sure they don’t get investigated by the Feds because they’re doing something that is illegal. 

LW: In your experience, are dispensary owners commonly uneducated when it comes to what is and isn’t allowed for ATM transactions?

JK: Yes. There are consultants in New York state, for example, where cannabis was very recently legalized telling dispensary owners the wrong information already. I have a partner who’s run across a few owners whose consultant told them, “Oh, just buy an ATM and you’ll be good” – and that’s not the way we do things.

Every state will be a little different, of course. We try to reach out to newer states who are just getting new licenses, focusing on educating them before they get saturated with too much misinformation. We partner with other companies as well, which is how we get a lot of our referrals.

LW: How does your referral program work?

JK: If you work in the cannabis industry and run across a dispensary that is in need of an ATM, you can refer them to us. That will get you five percent of the monthly profit for every location that goes live for the life of the contract. And in addition to that recurring income, our partners receive a one-time $150 payment for each location once it becomes active.

To refer someone, you can simply reach out to your dispensary contacts, provide them with the marketing materials we supply, and introduce them to our team. We handle the rest.

LW: What is your ultimate goal as a company when it comes to helping advance the industry’s ongoing banking issues?

JK: We want to continue educating dispensary owners on the rules and regulations of the ATM: what is acceptable, what isn’t, and what will keep them out of trouble with the federal government. 

LW: Why should a cannabis operator work with PowerQwest for ATM solutions?

JK: Inflation is at a record level, and as a result, everyone can use a little extra money every month. We are one of the only ATM companies that provide surcharge income to the dispensary owner. That’s why we created this unique program. But more importantly: our partners can trust PowerQwest to provide nationwide service, reliable 24/7 support, and customized programs that meet the unique needs of the dispensary every time.

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