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Gov. Sandoval joins coalition calling for relief of federal marijuana ban

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Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval joined a group of 12 governors calling on Congress to pass a bill that provides federal protections to state-sponsored marijuana programs.

When the U.S. Justice Department rolled back federal protections to existing marijuana programs at the direction of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Acres Cannabis CEO John Mueller says the industry took a hit.

“All of a sudden, funding freezes up and employment freezes up. Everything in the industry starts seizing as it would in any industry,” said Mueller.

Now a new federal bill called the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act” aims to ease the federal ban on marijuana and leave it up to the states.

This comes as President Donald Trump is pondering a major shift on pot policy.

"We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes," the president said last week when asked about a proposal that would let states legalize cannabis.

A dozen governors are now backing the bill, including Sandoval, who opposed legalizing pot in Nevada.

The bi-partisan letter to Congress says in part, "Our Citizens have spoken, we are responding."

The governors' group is also seeking to relax the federal rule on banking that forces cash-only operations, which industry experts call both a burden and a risk.

“I think by opening this back up and have the full support of the U.S. Congress and – God willing – our president, I think it’s going to change the entire game for the industry,” said Mueller.

Additionally, a group of mayors from six cities with legalized marijuana has formed a coalition to call for the feds to remove marijuana to its list of illegal drugs. The group including Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

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