NORMAN – A new medical marijuana dispensary in Norman has a ground-breaking new partnership with a bank. It is the first business of its kind where patients do not have to pay with cash.

Vertica is changing the state’s industry from first seed to final sale. When you step through the door of the new luxury cannabis company in Norman, you will immediately notice the décor of fish-looking lighting fixtures. That is not by accident.

Live tilapia are at the heart of the operation on their farm in Eufaula.

“It basically is the Swiss army knife of fish,” said grower Phillip Jacobson. “It can handle a lot more diverse environments, and it produces a high-quality protein.”

The tilapia becomes a special life source for rows of cannabis seedlings, just like the lettuce that grew in the greenhouse before. Retail operations manager Tommy Griffith said the nutrients from the fish pump up the terpenes in each strain, causing the patient to not just see the difference; they taste it, too.

Griffith explained, “With the terpenes being increased like that, you just get a blast of flavor in your mouth.”

At Vertica, though, you can choose if your desired dosage is grown in soil, water with fish or water without fish.

“We can have three of the same products grown in different environments, and it might produce different results for different patients,” said Vertica CEO Craig Carter, who has a background as an accountant and attorney.

Carter has been working to get his new venture off the ground all year with one major goal, backing from a bank.

“The banks were desperate for a provider that would help them do all their compliance if they’re going to get into the industry,” Carter said.

First National Bank of Oklahoma finally agreed to give him a shot, and now his patients can pay with the Hypur app.

“You just put in your PAC, which is your Personal Account Code,” said Griffith.

Having less cash in the store makes it physically and financially secure.

Carter said, “Every transaction that we’ve done since we’ve opened has been fully banked, fully transparent.”

Carter hopes this partnership can open the doors for others in the industry to have their own safer storefront.

Vertica will open its flagship store in Oklahoma City at the end of June. Additional locations in Edmond and Stillwater will open before the end of the year. To learn more, click here.