weather icon Clear

Proposed bill could let Nevada marijuana businesses work with banks

Updated August 17, 2018 - 8:44 pm

CARSON CITY — Nevada’s first full year of legal adult-use marijuana sales is set to exceed more than $400 million in sales. But the dispensaries, producers and marijuana growers in the state still have no stable place for all that cash.

A proposed law for the 2019 Nevada Legislature could prove to be a remedy for what is seen as one of the biggest issues facing the booming cannabis industry in the Silver State.

The proposal comes from Senate Judiciary Committee, currently chaired by state Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas. It would create a state-chartered bank where privately insured institutions would be licensed to handle money from marijuana businesses.

Most major banks are federally regulated, and because marijuana is illegal federally, most banks aren’t willing to work with marijuana companies for fear of becoming a target of the federal government.

That’s led to most marijuana companies dealing in cash only. And when it comes time to pay taxes or rent, it involves carrying around large amounts of cash, often in duffel bags, which presents an inherent security risk by making those businesses an easy target for thieves.

“Banking is definitely a top priority,” said Riana Durrett, executive director of the Nevada Dispensary Association. “It’s a matter of security and safety for everyone involved.”

The final language of Segerblom’s bill is still being drafted, but he said it will closely mirror a recent proposal from the California Legislature.

If Segerblom’s bill becomes law, marijuana businesses would be able to deposit money into state-licensed banks, which would issue checks that could be used for things such as paying taxes to the state, rent and vendors.

Under Segerblom’s bill, the state-chartered banks would be privately or self-insured. For local credit unions, such as the Clark County Credit Union or Silver State Schools Credit Union, that would eliminate much of the risk associated of working with marijuana businesses.

But Durrett said that in order for a charter bank system to work, it would need to be financially feasible for the cannabis companies. Other proposals that have come up in recent years, she said, have not been affordable options for the industry.

“We need banking, but we need it to be cost effective,” Durrett said.

Segerblom, who will give up his state Senate seat if he wins election to the Clark County Commission in November, said he hopes the bill will spur bigger banks to work with marijuana companies.

“What I’m hoping to do is light a fire under banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America” Segerblom said.

But the inspiration for Segerblom’s bill was dealt a blow last week when it failed to clear the California Legislature’s appropriations committee.

Segerblom said he thinks that it would have been easier to push the bill through the Nevada Legislature if it had been successful in California, but he doesn’t think that failure will be an automatic death knell for his bill.

“I still think that if we can follow their model, we’ll be better off,” Segerblom said. “It’s clear that we can’t just sit around and twiddle our thumbs and wait for something to happen.”

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Nevada marijuana license ruling could come next week

A Nevada judge said Friday she expects next week to finish hearing a case involving dozens of companies that lost bids to open new retail pot stores asking her to stop the state from licensing more marijuana businesses.

California to increase enforcement against illegal pot shops

California is planning to intensify its enforcement against the state’s thriving illegal marijuana market, including launching an ad campaign Friday that urges consumers to seek out licensed shops with safe products.

Officials raid 247 Colorado homes growing black market pot

Authorities said Friday they raided hundreds of black market marijuana operations in Colorado that flouted the state’s cannabis law by growing tens of thousands of plants in Denver-area homes and selling the drugs out of state.

Governor announces plan to legalize marijuana in Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday he’s reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year.