9/15/17 UPDATE: the credit card option (Visa & Mastercard only) is once again live on our website!
July 12th, 2017, 3:45pm MT
The Issue: We’re unfortunately writing to let you know about an issue we and the whole CBD/hemp extract industry are dealing with, specifically regarding our ability to process credit and debit cards. Over the last few years it’s become increasingly difficult to secure reliable, affordable, and domestic credit card processing solutions, and many accounts are in fact being shut down with funds being held for substantial periods of time. This is happening despite the fact that sales of industrial hemp are legal in the United States per Section 7606 of The Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the 2014 Farm Bill, and several iterations of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, both of which remain in effect right now (not to mention federal court precedent which protects naturally occurring cannabinoids in industrial hemp).
We’re terribly sorry for the inconvenience, but today we will be disabling the credit card option on our website because we currently aren’t able to capture the charges. Please bear with us as we resolve this issue. We do have multiple new credit card processing applications being processed at the moment, and while they’re not ideal solutions, we do plan to have them up and running before the end of the month.
Current Acceptable Payment Methods: In the meantime, we have several reliable forms of payment that we’d really appreciate you using if you order from us in the near future: eCheck/ACH, checks, money orders, cash, or direct electronic transfers via your bank’s website (such as “Bill Pay”).
Via our website, eCheck/ACH is the only option for the moment. To use the other forms of payment mentioned above (money order, check, “Bill Pay,” etc.) please email or call (9a-5p MT) to place your order, as those options aren’t available on the website itself.
Solutions To The Issue: There is silver lining! This financial issue has become so paramount to the industry that it’s reached the highest levels of government. Less than two weeks ago a group of Senators wrote a letter hoping to ultimately give financial institutions the comfort they need to provide services to the legal industrial hemp industry.
There are also some pieces of federal legislation that were introduced this year that if passed would very expressly protect banks and other financial institutions regarding their engagement with cannabis related businesses, which is great, but quite honestly it shouldn’t have to come to that for Bluebird’s particular sub-industry since industrial hemp grown and marketed pursuant to the 2014 Farm Bill is completely legal and exempt from the Controlled Substances Act.
If you’d like to support our industry’s efforts in resolving this issue, you can call your state representatives in Congress and let them know you’re concerned that financial institutions are hesitant/unwilling to work with legal industrial hemp companies, and that you hope they will help to immediately fix the issue.
Thank you for your time reading this, and again we’re very sorry to have to share this unfortunate news with you. We and many others are working extremely hard to overcome this unjust obstacle. As always, please email or call us if you have any questions. We’ll be doing our best to get the credit card option back up on our site ASAP.
August 30th Update:
Credit Card Processing Accounts: we have been approved by several credit card processing companies, but so far they are off-shore accounts that a massive portion of the industry is unfortunately reliant on. Our leadership team is discussing whether we will choose to move forward with one of these or not. We still have pending applications with some more preferable options that have required a substantial amount of information from us and equally as much due diligence on their parts, and if we don’t get approved with any of these current pending applications we may pull the trigger on one of the off-shore accounts we’ve already been approved for.
eCheck: the eCheck option has been working very well for us, and for the vast majority of our clients. Unfortunately some banks (Bank of the West, all credit unions, and some others that we will list on the checkout page soon) don’t accept this type of eCheck transfer, even though it’s been perfectly legal for about fifteen years, the majority of domestic banks do allow for it, it’s as secure if not more so than credit cards, and it’s just as easy to use for online ordering as is using a credit card.
Invoice Order: In addition to the eCheck option, we’ve added an “Invoice Order” option on the checkout page for all customers to choose. When this option is chosen, no payment takes place in order to submit the order through the checkout page. You can just press the Submit Order button, and an email will immediately be sent to you with your order details, our bank account and payment information, and our physical address if you choose to pay by check or money order. You can pay with a money order or check, or you can electronically transfer the funds to our account (i.e. “Bill Pay,” “PopMoney,” or Wire Transfer). When payment is received, we will quickly thereafter move the order into processing. To expedite this, you can send your payment confirmation (screen shot or email confirmation) to our email: [email protected]
Bitcoin: We’ve also enabled a Bitcoin payment option on our website. If you aren’t already familiar with Bitcoin, you can learn about it by visiting our Bitcoin FAQ.
Regulatory update: The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 has been introduced in the House, and we’re seeking to add an amendment, among others, that would expressly protect financial institutions in regards to them providing services to industrial hemp companies. This bill probably has a better chance of passing than any other hemp related ones introduced this year, so we want to make the best of it. We are also pursuing other federal bills that if passed would solve many of our industry’s issues.
The Hemp Industry Association and Hoban Law Group, along with the industry, have filed two lawsuits against the DEA this year that are pending a ruling or trial in the 9th district federal court in San Francisco. One lawsuit seeks to get the DEA to change their stance on industrial hemp, specifically the content in their 2016 “Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp.” They continually conflate our products with marijuana despite the fact that federal law excludes them from the Controlled Substances Act and defines hemp as a distinct plant. The other lawsuit seeks to hold the DEA in contempt of court for failing to follow 2004 court orders that permanently enjoined (banned) them from regulating non-narcotic industrial hemp. We expect a favorable outcome to these lawsuits, and regardless of any new law passed, a positive outcome to the lawsuits will likely make it easier to run a hemp business since so many agencies and institutions rely on the DEA’s guidance.