All cannabis sold in Alaska must be tested for potency and contaminants. But marijuana businesses in the state will now have one less testing facility to choose from, as Anchorage-based Steep Hill has been forced to close.
In an Instagram post from March 30 Steep Hill announced that “Wells Fargo called in the loan on [their] building” and has been forced to move.
According to Steep Hill CEO Brian Coyle, their relationship with Wells Fargo has been deteriorating for some time. Wells Fargo claims the conflict was initiated by a federal banking regulation that prevents banks from funding cannabis-based business.
“It is currently Wells Fargo’s policy not to knowingly bank marijuana businesses, based on federal laws under which the sale and use of marijuana is still illegal,” Wells Fargo spokesperson Brian Kennedy said to The Seattle Times.
But Coyle believes Wells Fargo is just trying to shift the blame.
“To me, Wells Fargo is the real bad guy here. They could give a ---- about Alaska. Only 700,000 people in Alaska; that’s less than the city of San Francisco. We need to hold their feet to the fire. If they’re going to be doing business in Alaska, they should be following Alaska’s state laws.”
Brandon Emmett of Alaska's Marijuana Control Board is sympathetic towards Steep Hill and their customers, but doesn't think this will have a great affect on the Alaskan cannabis industry.
“The businesses that use Steep Hill are going to be inconvenienced. Obviously Steep Hill is going to be extremely inconvenienced, but as far as the industry as a whole is concerned, I don’t think it will be a major issue."