Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford has thown his support in with a national coalition looking to make banking easier for legal cannabis businesses.
Cannabis has become a legal industry in 33 states. Attorneys general in 22 of those states (now including Nevada) have joined together to push U.S. Congress to pass the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act.”
“Defending states’ rights, protecting public safety and improving our criminal justice system are priorities for my administration,” Ford said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Current federal law prohibits the cannabis industry from using the banking industry because federal law still considers cannabis an illegal substance.
The attorneys general argue that the "result is that much of this industry is forced to conduct business on a cash-only model. In turn, this contributes to a public safety threat as cash intensive businesses are often targets for criminal activity and make it more difficult to track revenues for taxation and regulatory compliance purposes.”
In addition to the safety concern, there is also a concern over business rights.
“This inconsistency puts a significant burden upon businesses working to operate in a legal industry in a manner that is safe and compliant with state law, as well as on law enforcement agencies trying to ensure complicity to regulations," they argue. "It also represents a substantial imposition on the prerogative of states and territories to choose those policies that work best for them and their citizens.”
On its current trajectory, the cannabis business is expected to reach $80 billion in the next decade.