93°F
weather icon Clear

Officials urge letting cannabis firms to access banking system

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 state and territorial attorneys general urging Congress to pass the federal Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, which would give legal marijuana-related businesses access to the federal banking system.

Ford on May 8, 2019, co-sponsored a similar letter to congressional leadership. Tuesday’s letter is a renewed effort by Ford and attorneys general across the country urging Congress to advance these same goals as part of any future COVID-19 relief package.

The SAFE Banking Act has widespread, bipartisan support with 206 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House passed the bill in September 2019. The HEROES Act relief legislation, which the House approved last week, also included the language of the SAFE Banking Act.

“As one of the states that has legalized the use of marijuana, this legislation would help law enforcement, tax agencies and regulators monitor local marijuana businesses and transactions,” Ford said. “I’m proud to redouble my efforts with Congress to pass this important legislation.”

Under existing law, federal regulators prohibit financial institutions from providing services to marijuana businesses in states where medical or retail marijuana sales are legal. Forcing legal businesses to operate as cash-only operations poses serious safety threats, creating targets for violent and white-collar crime. The SAFE Banking Act permits marijuana-related businesses in states and territories with existing regulatory structures to access the federal banking system.

In their letter, the attorneys general note that the COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on problems that the SAFE Banking Act is intended to remedy. Since the pandemic began, threats to public safety caused by a cash-intensive business model have intensified. The presence of large cash transactions places law enforcement, tax regulators, consumers and patients at heightened risk of exposure to the virus.

Finally, the marijuana industry is estimated to have generated $15 billion in sales in 2019 and will provide critical relief in the form of tax revenue for state and local governments predicting budget shortfalls due to the pandemic.

In addition to Nevada, states and territories participating in this letter include Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Eight Republicans, six Democrats battling for Nevada’s Congressional District 4 nomination

Editor’s Note: The Pahrump Valley Times had a misprinted page in its 2020 Special Election section on Friday, May 22. Four candidates from Nevada’s Congressional District 4 were affected by this incident (Also, see note to readers from the Times on A1 in this edition). This writing only includes the lost content and doesn’t reflect the original writing in full.

Leslie Street paving to commence tomorrow in Pahrump

Pahrump Valley motorists who regularly travel along Leslie Street might want to consider another route this Thursday and Friday, May 28 and 29, as the repaving project for the stretch of Leslie Street between Basin Avenue and Irene Street is set to take place over the next two days.

Beatty High School sends off seniors drive-thru style

“Pomp and Circumstance” played, and the Beatty High School Class of 2020 gathered at the school’s football field to receive diplomas. It was a typical high school graduation ceremony. Except it wasn’t.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Saturday, May 23 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $9 million.

Sisolak announces Phase 2 of reopening to start Friday

On a day when Gov. Steve Sisolak had to cancel an in-person press conference because of possible exposure to COVID-19, he announced that the state is ready to move into Phase 2 of the “Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery” reopening plan starting Friday and reiterated that June 4 is the target date for reopening casinos.

DMV staff preparing for offices to reopen

The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles is preparing to reopen after shutting down March 16, but a reopening date has not been set. All full-service DMV offices remain closed.

HHS delivering funds to expand COVID-19 testing

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday it is delivering $11 billion in new funding to support testing for COVID-19.

Nye County tax sale goes to online format

The Nye County treasurer’s office will hold its first online tax-defaulted property sale on auction website Bid4Assets.com beginning May 31.

Nevada Health Link enrolls 6,000 during special period

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange announced Tuesday that Nevada Health Link enrolled 6,017 Nevadans during its limited-time Exceptional Circumstance Special Enrollment Period that ended May 15.