LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Green and getting greener. The marijuana business is on fire in Nevada, but it still has what many consider is a dangerous flaw in the system.
13 Investigates looks at the fix that some lawmakers are trying to roll out.
“It just makes the whole situation a little bit more, I guess you could say, nerve-racking,” said Alex Myers.
Myers is a regular at Inyo Dispensary, and like all the customers she has to pay for her cannabis with cash.
“It’s inconvenient,” she said. “It’s very inconvenient. I have to pay an additional fee.”
That’s because most banks don’t deal with marijuana money,
All that cash creates obvious security concerns, as 13 Investigates first reported in 2015 when the industry was budding.
“I don’t like having to carry a large amount of cash on me,” said Myers. “Especially when I’m coming to buy something such as marijuana, because of the fact it makes it a little bit more dangerous for me as a young woman.”
If it’s legal to buy marijuana in Nevada, what’s preventing the banks from doing business with cannabis companies after all these years?
“Because it’s considered illegal money,” said Jim Lamb with the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association.
Illegal because, despite being legal to buy and consume in some form in over 30 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the eyes of the feds.
Tyler Kimas is the executive director of the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board.
“From the regulatory enforcement side of things. I mean, large cash transactions are the unique signature, right, for money laundering,” said Klimas.
This is why cannabis businesses have so many hurdles in handling their money.
“There are suspicious activity reports,” Lamb explained, “all other types of reporting related