Nevada cannabis laws have made recreational marijuana use legal for years now. However, since cannabis is still considered illegal at a federal level, federal laws prohibit cannabis related business from having access to financial institutions such as banks. Businesses are forced to work on a cash basis, putting both customers and employees at an increased risk for crime. In additional to the issue of public safety, local and state agencies have experienced increased stress when these cash-based business pay their taxes. Fiona Ma, CA state treasurer, reports in the Washington Post cases of cannabis businesses paying taxes with suitcases filled with cash after driving hundreds of miles to deliver the payment.

Lawmakers are addressing this issue through the Secure And Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 to help state-approved marijuana businesses receive access to banks.

What Is the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act?

Banks are reluctant to provide services directly to cannabis businesses due to the possibility of federal prosecution. However, even providing services to a business whose customers are a cannabis business can be a burden as in the case of State Bank Northwest. The bank’s president reported increased legal risk and compliance burdens if the bank were to provide services for an energy provider whose customers are cannabis related businesses.

SAFE Banking Act of 2019 will allow state-approved cannabis businesses access to banks without repercussion from federal regulations.

Which Nevada Lawmakers Support the SAFE Banking Act of 2019?

Proponents of the Safe Banking Act in the state of Nevada include Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez-Masto, who were both initial cosponsors of the Senate legislation and Representative Mark Amodei. Governor Sisolak signed a letter urging Congress to pass the legislation along with 19 other governors on June 13th.

The Safe and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 was approved in the House by the Financial Services Committee in March, but has yet to pass in the Senate.

What Assistance Can NAE Offer to Nevada’s Cannabis Businesses?

NAE understands the challenges that Nevada employers face. In an area that is difficult to navigate, such as the cannabis industry, NAE can guide business through state and federal laws to help them stay compliant

Government Relations Services offered by NAE:

Government Resources
NAE is the one-stop shop for the latest on government regulators including advisory opinions, fact sheets and required notices

Information of Government Agencies
NAE maintains close relationships with many state and federal regulatory agencies to ensure you have access to the latest guidance and information on their enforcement position

Legislative & Regulatory Advocacy
NAE monitors legislative processes so you don’t have to. NAE advocates on the behalf of Nevada businesses before legislative and regulatory bodies to ensure your position is heard.

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Do you know all your obligations as a Nevada employer? The Nevada Association of Employers (NAE) is here to help. Our staff of HR professionals is equipped with the knowledge and experience to assist employers in navigating the often-complex world of employment-related statutes and regulations. Contact NAE today!

For more information about NAE and what we do for Nevada employers, visit our website. If you are a Nevada employer interested in membership, please contact or join today!

Source – The Nevada Independent, Forbes