Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto, Jacky Rosen support bank access for marijuana businesses – Tahoe Daily Tribune

Both of Nevada’s U.S. senators have signed on to legislation designed to provide legal marijuana businesses access to banks.

“Recreational marijuana use is now legal in Nevada and nine other states across the country and medical marijuana is legal in 33 states,” said Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev. “It’s time we created an infrastructure that would allow the marijuana industry in these states to operate legally and provide legitimate cannabis-related businesses with access to the banking system.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., echoed that point.

“Nevada’s marijuana businesses are continuing to operate as cash-only businesses as a result of federal laws blocking access to financial institutions and services, leaving many of these businesses susceptible to theft,” she said in voicing her support for the SAFE Banking, the legislation that would allow marijuana businesses the same access to financial institutions as other legal businesses..

The House Financial Services Committee voted 45-15 to advance the proposed bill in later March after amending it to include provisions to provide a safe harbor for insurance companies and improve access of financial services to minority- and women-owned cannabis businesses.

The proposal was originally introduced by Reps. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado and Denny Heck of Washington state, both Democrats, and Ohio Republicans Steve Stivers and Warren Davidson.

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Banks generally balk at servicing the marijuana industry for fear it could expose them to legal trouble from the federal government, which still considers marijuana illegal.

As a result, a large portion of the fledgling industry is left to operate on a cash-only basis, which creates security, money laundering and other criminal concerns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Send an email to Tribune staff at [email protected].

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