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Tender problem: Cash-only operation early hiccup for recreational pot businesses

It was – for the most part – smiles for customers waiting in long lines Saturday awaiting their chance to buy recreational marijuana legally in Nevada. (KSNV)

It’s a cash-only business with no place to put the cash.

Recreational marijuana sales debuted in Nevada with long lines just after midnight Saturday.

Matthew Gardiner, vice president of Shango Las Vegas, said his location is doing “10 to 12 times the business” it received when it operated as a medical marijuana dispensary.

It means thousands of dollars are flowing into Shango each day – and cash flows out, as well. But local banks will not work with them. Doing business with a cannabis company would be committing an illegal act.

RELATED | Brisk sales, large crowds mark Vegas' first weekend of recreational pot sales

Shango instead has to operate with paper money. It makes paying employees, paying taxes, and securing the business difficult.

Gardiner points to a bill now in front of Congress as a possible solution. “It’s the holy grail,” Gardiner tells us.

That bill is called the SAFE Act of 2017, or Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act. It allows banks to work with legal and licensed cannabis companies.

The bill was introduced in April but has no scheduled votes.

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