Payment processor Square broadened its services to businesses that sell cannabidiol (CBD) products this week. CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabis compound.
The announcement follows an invite-only pilot program the processor rolled out in May for CBD businesses.
- "We believe everyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy," Square said in a blog post Thursday. "Today, we're thrilled to launch our CBD early-access program, which allows businesses in the U.S. to sell CBD products on Square quickly, easily, and securely."
Square's decision to move into the CBD space shows the San Francisco-based company is paying close attention to the traction the emerging industry is gaining.
Data firm Nielsen said it expects the U.S.'s legal cannabis market to reach $41 billion by 2025.
The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and the CBD derived from it. But businesses associated with cannabis-derived products have struggled to access banking services because cannabis remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level.
The hemp industry's challenges caught the attention of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which in August issued interim guidance for its credit union members that want to enter the space.
NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood emphasized in a letter to members that hemp is no longer a controlled substance at the federal level because of the Farm Bill.
Another bill that would provide protections for banks that service cannabis-related businesses in states where the drug is legal is gaining support in Congress.
Several late additions to the bill include protections for banks that service hemp and CBD businesses.
Although it remains to be seen whether the bill will pass, the new provisions will likely appeal to GOP lawmakers who have backed the hemp industry.