Tuesday, April 23, 2019 | 2 a.m.
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen has long positioned herself as a friend to marijuana businesses, pushing legislation such the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act in the past as a member of the House of Representatives.
It’s a trend the Nevada Democrat is continuing in her first term in the Senate. She has signed on to a bill that would allow cannabis businesses in states with legalized marijuana to access banking.
At a roundtable Monday at the Writer’s Block bookstore, she heard concerns from members of the marijuana industry in Nevada about access to banking services and other business issues.
“(I learned) how important it is to people, how passionate they are about growing their business, about wanting to stay here, wanting to operate in a safe way,” she said.
Banks are generally wary of accepting money from marijuana-based businesses due to federal law. Money made from marijuana is considered by the federal government to be illicit, and banks technically run the risk of being accused of money laundering if they accept money from the industry. This has led marijuana businesses to turn to cash as an alternative, an outcome that critics say opens the businesses up to increased chances of danger, such as robbery.
Banking reform for these businesses, Rosen said, is necessary for them to operate in a comfortable manner. The bill she’s signed on to, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act, would do that, she said. “We have to do everything we can to make sure our legislation catches up to the way our lifestyles are,” she said.