Part 3: Marijuana business owners can’t buy a home

Southern Oregon — When it comes to marijuana, banking, and home loans, the situation is very complicated.

Federal marijuana laws are preventing cannabis business owners in Southern Oregon from buying a home, but a Medford company called “Pacific Capital Solutions” says it can help marijuana business owners get a home loan.

“Peer-to-peer lending is kind of what it’s considered… One person lending to another,” Hawkins said.

Morgan Hawkins is an owner of Pacific Capital Solutions in Medford.

As a private lender mortage company, Hawkins says they’re able to offer home loans for marijuana business owners.

That’s something standard banks and mortgage lenders aren’t able to do since most are federally insured.

“I’m gonna ask for all the same stuff any other lending institution will – bank or broker – but the only difference is I get to look at it slightly different because I don’t have those federal overlays,” Morgan Hawkins said.

Because Pacific Capital Solutions is private, its funds come from individual people who have IRA’s, 401(k)’s, or savings plans that yield.

There are only a few private lenders locally, but they still have some requirements for marijuana business owners.

“We want to make sure they’re paying their taxes because tax evasion is big. We have to make sure that they can in fact pay for the loan that we’re giving them,” Hawkins said.

And their money has to be in some sort of a bank.

That’s where Wauna Credit Union comes in.

Chief marketing officer Debi Smiley says Wauna Credit Union is a community credit union that serves anyone who does business in Columbia, Clatstop and Western Washington counties in Oregon, as well as Pacific County in Washington.

Earlier this year, the credit union rolled out a program that includes businesses in the cannabis industry.

“They’re a legitimate business, and it’s our business as a community credit union to serve all businesses,” Debi Smiley said.

Smiley says offering financial services to the cannabis industry makes it safer since there’s a lot of risk in a cash-based business.

Wauna Credit Union was able to create the program after two years of research and due diligence by working with the National Credit Union Administration.

The NCUA approved the credit union’s need to serve all people in the community, but it will strictly monitor those involved.

“There is a very high level management of every purchase, every transaction… From both the businesses purchase of the merchandise, to the sale of the merchandise,” Smiley said.

Both Wauna Credit Union and Pacific Capital Solutions say its only fair to serve business owners in the cannabis industry since it is in fact legal in the state of Oregon.

“It’s not like they’re just walking in and selling like black market style. I mean they’re doing it very much above warden, and they’re doing everything that people are telling them they need to do,” Hawkins said.

According to Smiley, there are several other credit unions in central Oregon that are offering similar services for marijuana business owners, and she predicts that will only grow as time goes on.

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