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Banking still an issue with legal marijuana businesses in Nevada

The Nevada Tax Commission approved the temporary regulations allowing the sale of retail pot, clearing the way for legal marijuana sales to begin as early as July 1. (Nathan O'Neal | KSNV)

Since marijuana is still considered a ‘dangerous drug’ by the federal government, it’s a predominantly cash-driven industry. Legal marijuana businesses in Nevada still aren’t allowed to work with banks.

This week, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto joined eight other senators to introduce legislation that would open up banking for state-sanctioned marijuana businesses.

“We need to put the right infrastructure in place for the marijuana industry to operate legally and securely,” said Cortez Masto in a statement.

At Shango Las Vegas, cannabis is a cash-only business. A single ATM machine sits in the middle of the room for patients to use when paying with cash.

However, business in a cash-driven world complicates everyday challenges, from paying taxes to paying employees. It’s an operation so sensitive, even the location and method for storing the cash is a secret.

“Every dollar costs more than a dollar here because we have to increase our security,” said Matthew Gardiner of Shango Las Vegas. “You have to have additional staff just to handle the cash.”

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