CBD: Top Questions about Square’s CBD Early Access Program (EAP)

Square launched a CBD Early Access Program to qualified sellers in the United States on October 3, 2019 and since then, many sellers have expressed interest in the program.


I sat down with the Program Manager @Sean, and our Compliance Manager @Agardner to learn about the Early Access Program and to answer some frequently asked questions. 


First, to get everyone up-to-speed, Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as hemp. Unlike marjiuana, CBD contains only very small amounts of THC. CBD-infused products come in many forms. As more states legalize hemp and hemp-derived CBD products, its popularity is growing steadily. Square’s Early Access Program enables qualified sellers to accept payments for some hemp-derived CBD products.


Let’s get started!







So, what is Square’s CBD Early Access Program (EAP)?


Sean: Following the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the “2018 Farm Bill”), and the subsequent legalization of some hemp and hemp-derived CBD products in many states, Square wanted to offer an industry-leading solution that would be fair and inclusive to sellers of all sizes. 


Our EAP enables sellers to accept payments for certain hemp and hemp-derived CBD products that have less than 0.3% THC in most states in the United States. 

What products can I sell within the Early Access Program (EAP)?


Adrian: As mentioned by Sean, if approved to be part of the EAP you can accept payments for some hemp and hemp-derived CBD products that have less than 0.3% THC in certain states in the US. These products must be produced and sold in compliance with applicable law, including but not limited to the Farm Bill, 2018 and relevant State laws. 


Some products sold by sellers in our program include: cbd-infused oil, bath soaps, salves, candles, and balms.

What are the the per-transaction fees to accept payments for CBD with Square? 


Sean: If you’re part of the EAP your per transaction fees will be:

  • In person contactless payments, swiped or inserted chip cards, and swiped magstripe have a 3.90%+10¢ fee.
  • Online and Square API transactions have a 4.20% +30¢ fee.
  • Keyed In, Card on File, Virtual Terminal Transactions have a 4.80% + 10¢ fee.

Keep in mind that it’s free to create a Square account and there are no annual fees with Square. 



Does Square place processing limits or reserves on accounts in the CBD Early Access Program (EAP)? 


Sean: For accounts that are accepted into our EAP, a processing limit or rolling reserve may apply. Limits and reserves on new types of business accounts are consistent with industry standards to protect against unexpected loss events. We evaluate accounts on a case by case basis, but overall, our program aims to serve sellers of all sizes fairly. 



Can I sell CBD products online?


Sean: If accepted to the EAP, you can sell CBD products online with Square, or with one of our eCommerce partners like WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Konnektive, Limelight, or C-Trax. Learn more about Square’s free online store.



Can I sell CBD products outside the US? 


Adrian: At this time, you can only sell CBD products to customers within the US in the states that have legalized it. Make sure to check the most recent laws on the sale of CBD in your state.  



How do I join the Early Access Program? 


Sean: If you are interested in joining the program, you can visit our CBD page, and then click “Get started.” We’ll ask for some information about your business and estimated annual revenue, and then follow up with you directly. 


If you’re new to Square, it’s important that you don’t sign up for a standard Square account before we reach out to you, as it could affect your ability to participate in the program.  



Can I sell CBD products as part of an existing business I have with Square? 


Sean: Sure! We’ll just need you to fill out the same application that I shared above. We’ll evaluate the items you’d like to sell. Depending on the amount of volume you plan to sell, your account may be subject to our CBD pricing. We’ll have that conversation when we follow up with you. 



I’ve heard the application process takes a long time? 


Adrian: We’ve received a large amount of interest in our program and we are working hard to review every application. After you submit your application, we’ll send you a confirmation email that has an estimate of how long until we’re able to follow up with you. We really appreciate your patience during this step.


Some things to keep in mind while you’re waiting to hear from us, since your account may be subject to review and we may request some additional information and documentation, it’s helpful if you have the following things on hand: 


  • A description of the CBD products you sell  — such as item name, the type of product (cbd-infused lotion, candle);
  • Certificate of Analysis (COA) — which is a document from an accredited laboratory that shows the quantity of various cannabinoids in a product. Manufacturers should send every batch of every product they make to a lab for testing, to protect their customers and prove that their products are within the legal limitations of THC (0.3%); and
  • Additional information about your business — e.g. bank statements, payment volume, average transaction size, your refund or cancellation policy, if you plan to sell online, and a sample invoice or contract (if you use invoices or contracts).


You’ll be notified by email if we need you to submit additional information, and you can upload your documents from your secure online Square Dashboard.  



What happens if Square identifies a problem with my CBD products? 


Adrian: If we find an issue with one of your products, we’ll ask you to address the issue or remove the item by sending you a notification email, which will link to your online dashboard with more details. We may also need to suspend your account during this review. If you do not remedy the issue, your account will be deactivated. 



What is Square’s stance on medical claims associated with CBD and what can I say about my CBD products? 


Adrian: Our program is industry-leading, and that means we must be extra diligent about maintaining a robust EAP framework, aligned with applicable laws. There are strict standards associated with medical claims and  CBD products, which we must enforce. But more than that, we want our financial system to be fair and square to everyone, and that includes your customers.


While we can’t provide legal advice or a list of terms or phrases that are allowed or not allowed, our review process is built on FDA and other relevant guidelines. We don’t allow any claims that your CBD products may be used to cure, treat, or aid conditions such as anxiety, inflammation, depression, PTSD, ADHD, Cancer, or any other health conditions.  


The FDA, among others, has helpful guidance around CBD and you can learn more on the FDA’s website. However, you should consult with your attorney and CBD experts to ensure your CBD products and practices are compliant. 



Does Square plan to enable CBD sales outside the US? 

Sean: Currently we’re focusing on building a really great program in the US, but if we launch an early access program in other countries — we’ll be sure to announce it! We definitely appreciate all of the interest!




Thanks for reading and for being part of the Seller Community. If you’d like more information about accepting payments for CBD in Square’s Early Access Program, visit our Support Center. If you’re ready to get started selling CBD, visit our CBD program page

️ Helen
Seller Community Manager

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Message 1 of 5

I have CBD Prodcuts for sale, can I sell Delta 8 as well?

Message 2 of 5
Square Community Moderator

Hi @Seanzy123,


I moved your post to an existing thread that goes over the CBD Early Access Program and what the requirements of it are once you're approved for it or in the approval process.


Check out the information above and links for relevant information. In the future, don't hesitate to search your question first here or on the Support Center for your quickest answer!

Ashley C
Community Moderator, Square
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Message 3 of 5

In 2019 square started allowing in person sales of cannabis topicals that contain less than 3% THC. 

Would we be allowed to sell these products mail order to states that allow their sale. 

Message 4 of 5
Square Community Moderator

Thanks for reaching out! I've merged your post to an existing thread where Helen details a lot of the questions you may be having about CBD. There are also some really helpful links in her post that will help you find the THC percentages and requirements we must follow for CBD participation. 


I hope this helps and always let me know if you have any other questions!

Community Moderator, Square
Sign in and click Mark as Best Answer if my reply answers your question.
Message 5 of 5