Here’s why it’s so hard for small businesses to sell CBD

Like many entrepreneurs with cannabis-adjacent businesses, Maya Shaw’s path to opening up her online shop started as a dissatisfied consumer. “I didn’t really find a store or space that felt like a community I could really be a part of,” she said.

Shaw’s online store, Shaw BK, opened last April. It is fiercely mission- and community-driven and informed by her experience as a woman of color, with items like handmade pipes and CBD tinctures from women and minority artisans.

When Shaw first launched her shop using payment processor Stripe, everything seemed fine. Many small businesses opt Stripe thanks to its easy setup and pay-as-you-go fee structure, which deducts 2.7 to 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per credit card transaction. But after about nine months, Stripe informed her that she could no longer use its service because her store was a “cannabis-affiliated business.” She had 15 days to find another payment processor.

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