Nevada senator pushes for banking access for cannabis businesses

Nevada Senator pushes for banking access for cannabis businesses
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 11:39 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - “No Visa, no Mastercard, as a matter of fact, they’ve come out recently against cannabis,” shared Nevada cannabis producer Ed Alexander of SOL Cannabis. Alexander is one of many people in the cannabis industry looking for greater acceptance.

Now, there is a push in Washington to help cannabis businesses with banking. Senator Jacky Rosen is leading the charge, arguing cannabis dispensaries bring in millions of dollars of revenue to the state and should have access to basic services. FOX5 spoke to Rosen about new legislation known as the SAFER Banking Act.

“These are just outdated federal policies that we have to change,” Rosen contended. Though cannabis is now legal for medical or recreational use in most states, most banks will not do business with the cannabis industry because marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. Cannabis was legalized back in 2017 in Nevada and Rosen says she has been advocating on behalf of cannabis businesses ever since. “They still haven’t had access in all these years to the regular banking resources that any other small business would have,” Rosen explained. Without access to the banking system, dispensary owners are forced to deal solely in cash which can make them big targets for criminals.

FOX5 has covered several robberies of dispensaries and cannabis delivery drivers in the Las Vegas Valley over the years, one crime ended in an officer-involved shooting when the robbers were stopped in the act. Senator Rosen says making businesses deal exclusively cash is a huge public safety risk and not just for the businesses. “I’ve had our tax department come and talk to me about this because businesses have to pay their regular taxes or pay other things, they are carrying around large amounts of cash...It makes them vulnerable to attack,” Rosen asserted.

Rosen says 99% of businesses in Nevada are small businesses like most cannabis operations. Rosen believes these legally operating businesses deserve access to banking and insurance services. “I just want our cannabis businesses to be treated like every other small business,” said Rosen.

The SAFER Banking Act advanced out of the Senate Banking Committee last week and now goes to the Senate floor. Senator Rosen also believes cannabis businesses should have access to federal small business loans. Rosen plans to soon introduce a bill that would make that possible.