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Marijuana businesses may have trouble finding a bank

Reported by: Kelsey Thomas
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Updated: 5/01 12:17 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Nevada's latest budding business is legal under Nevada law, but most banks steer clear of these all-cash operations.

Where will their owners store their money when they open shop in Clark County?

The same federal government that regulates banking transactions also says selling marijuana is a crime, so people who open medical marijuana businesses in Clark County can't get banks to do business with them.

It could cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, per month to operate a medical marijuana business.

Medical marijuana is a cash cow for states, but still considered part of the illegal drug trade in the eyes of the Unites States government.

Entrepreneurs who are hoping to cash in on Clark County's cannabis industry know most banks won’t take their money.

"It makes them prime targets for burglary, for theft, to be held up," said attorney Alicia Ashcraft.

The Obama administration recently issued guidelines giving banks the green light to do business with marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized the drug.

Attorney Bruce Gale says it's difficult to find a local bank that will accept medical marijuana money: "In Clark County, I’m still shopping for a friendly bank and or credit union. I’ve spoken with Wells Fargo, and they’ve said no." 

This is a predicament for any business, especially one dealing in cash.

"For now, initially I think most establishments are going to have large safes on property to keep that cash," Ashcraft said.

Ashcraft believes that will continue as long as state and federal laws continue to clash.

"Hopefully the law is going to change," Ashcraft said.

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