Nevada AG Ford leading push for banking bill for cannabis businesses
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is leading a coalition of 21 attorneys general urging Congress to approve legislation allowing legal cannabis businesses access to the banking system.
Ford said existing federal laws bar banks from dealing with cannabis businesses, forcing legal businesses to operate mainly in cash.
“I believe each state knows its industry and needs best and I urge Congress to pass legislation that will allow Nevada and other states to determine the best approach for regulating cannabis within their borders,” Ford said in a statement.
Either medical, recreational cannabis or both are now legal in 33 states and territories.
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Ford said making legal businesses operate almost completely in cash poses serious safety threats. He cited the 2016 murder of a security guard at a Colorado dispensary and recent robberies at Northern California cannabis businesses.
The proposed legislation — known as the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act” — has strong bipartisan support with 60 cosponsors in the House and 10 in the Senate, Ford said.
According to media reports, the STATES Act was first introduced on June 7, 2018, by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass).
A similar bill was introduced the same day in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and David Joyce (R-Ohio).
The STATES Act was reintroduced on April 4, 2019, in both the House and the Senate.
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“It’s kind of hard. This is happening nationwide,” a critical care nurse who works at Renown Health told The Nevada Independent. “This isn’t just a Renown issue. Nationwide, nurses and providers are being forced into these situations where they have to choose if they’re going to take care of this patient or if they’re going to walk away.”