FIS is hiring for a team focused on serving cannabis merchants as payments companies look to tap into an industry set to reach $100 billion by 2030 - Read of Green
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FIS is hiring for a team focused on serving cannabis merchants as payments companies look to tap into an industry set to reach $100 billion by 2030



  • FIS is hiring a senior strategy manager to lead a new cannabis and CBD team.
  • The hire will define the product roadmap and legal requirements to support cannabis and CBD merchants.
  • Other payments players, like Square, have started working with CBD merchants, too.

Financial-tech giant FIS is building a team focused on the cannabis and CBD industry as it looks to tap into an up-and-coming market for payments players.  

FIS, which offers key back-end tech for payments, is hiring a senior strategy manager to lead cannabis and CBD payments products, according to a job posting viewed by Insider. The new hire will develop FIS’ strategy when it comes to cannabis and CBD merchants.

“Cannabis and CBD is a new, high growth space for payments, so you will be crucial in preparing FIS on an operational and strategic level. You will help define the product roadmap, legal requirements, onboarding requirements, marketing plans, and key accounts to win on a global scale,” the job posting states. 

A spokesperson for FIS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Cannabis and CBD merchants are typically classified as ‘high-risk’ businesses. Many payments players, including Stripe and PayPal, won’t process payments for those merchants.

A main issue is that CBD still exists in a legal grey area in the US. It’s legal when derived from hemp, but the FDA still hasn’t clarified rules governing the industry. Merchants that sell products containing CBD are mostly forced to use offshore processors that charge higher fees per transaction, as Insider has reported.

“It’s always helpful when a legitimate company comes into the industry, especially for smaller or medium-sized businesses,” Annie Rouse, the cofounder of Hemp Mellow, a hemp and CBD brand, and Anavii Market, a Lexington, Kentucky based CBD e-commerce company, told Insider. 

Rouse says that for the most part, CBD sellers are forced to pay fees upward of 4.5% per transaction, whereas non-CBD or cannabis companies pay around 2.5%.

“That really hinders growth, especially for smaller companies,” she said. 

Products containing THC, the chief psychoactive compound in cannabis, are federally illegal despite the fact that 18 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

But as states begin to legalize cannabis, payments players are starting to see a massive opportunity. Analysts from Cowen, an investment bank, estimate the cannabis industry will reach $100 billion in revenue by 2030. 

Square, for its part, began working with CBD sellers in 2019. 

“We have seen an influx of payment processors focused on ‘high risk’ transactions for merchant services,” Deepali Vyas, a Korn Ferry recruiter with a focus on fintech and payments, told Insider via email.

Other high-risk industries like online dating, gaming, and e-cigarettes, have also become more common for payments services. 

“We will see more and more established payment processors get comfortable in the ‘high risk’ merchant services, given their capabilities for understanding regulation and integration,” Vyas said.

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