Living the Dream: Shawn DeNae

Shawn DeNae
CEO
Washington Bud Company
Smokey Point, WA

If there is one thing that unites people in the cannabis scene, it’s our ability to figure out the workaround.

We’ve needed a tractor for a long time. A tractor is a key piece of equipment to manage our 10-acre pot farm. A tractor allows us the option of amending our soil, easily moving heavy pots and pallets of equipment, maintaining our road and efficiently mowing the hay field. A tractor would greatly help with general maintenance of the entire property.

The issue is the heavy price tag, so a recent offer of 0% financing with 0% down for 84 months caught our attention. In our construction days, unsecured lines of credit flowed through our hands, but since the 2008 recession we have worked hard to not rely upon credit. But we need a tractor and are willing to go into debt for it.

Working remotely with the salesmen to choose the correct horsepower and fully accessorize the tractor was easy. Filling out a credit application actually thrilled me. We knew not to put the tractor in the name of the weed company, so I filled it out with our building company information and got approved right away. And then we waited. And waited.

Someone with the heavy equipment finance company had googled me, realized we are in the cannabis business and pulled the approved financing! The sales team went to work to convince the underwriter that the construction and cannabis business are completely separate businesses and the tractor financing should move forward. They won the argument and proceeded to get our tractor freighted from California. We set a delivery date, but that day came and went. The underwriter had reversed the approval again, and the dealer was left holding the bag on our shiny new tractor.

The solution to break through the log jam was the offer to put 20% down. That carrot worked and financing was reapproved. More waiting … apparently more nervousness coming from the finance company. Now, they wanted to ensure the payments with a mandatory automatic withdrawal from the building company bank account. No problem. I sent them a voided check. They had no more excuses and allowed the transaction to conclude.

These workarounds for cannabis companies to acquire equipment are common. We kept our building company license and bank account active for just this sort of need. I just find it ridiculous that we have to create workarounds to conduct legal transactions for a legally licensed business.

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