LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – With over 20,000 pot pros in Las Vegas this week for the MJBizCon it’s clear cannabis is here to stay.
But 13 Action News, once again, is looking into a major link that’s still missing in the industry, putting a lot of people’s safety at risk.
In 2015, three years ago almost to the day, I reported about a number of robberies at dispensaries across the country.
The security problem? No place to stash all that cannabis cash because the banks said “sorry we’re closed” when it comes to marijuana money. So what’s changed since my first report?
“Nothing’s changed. Nothing has. It’s still basically the same situation as it was 3, 4 years ago,” says Jim Lamb with the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association.
The pros in the industry tell us the cannabis trade remains a cash-only business.
“At the end of the day, you still can’t make deposits.” David Goldwater, who owns Inyo dispensary, told us about this problem in 2015. And now?
“Banks still don’t make loans,” Goldwater explains. “It’s still impossible to pay your vendors. We still don’t take credit cards. Everybody’s still at risk.”
When the first seeds of a marijuana industry were planted in Nevada, many banked on the idea that credit unions or thrifts would fill the void.
“We had some efforts at the state level to maybe come up with some creative solutions,” says Goldwater.
But as long as marijuana remains a schedule one drug under federal law, banks don’t want to take any greenbacks made from the green leaf.
In fact it’s getting more difficult.
“Maybe there was some, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ activity around there,” says Goldwater. “But in the past three years, I think the banking regulators have come in to their constituents in the banking industry