Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2021

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Henderson keeps up pressure on pot dispensaries to find banks

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, but officials in Henderson are still urging the city’s five dispensaries to find financial institutions to deposit their cash as soon as possible.

Members of the Henderson City Council said as much Tuesday night during a biweekly meeting, addressing the owners of The+Source, Essence, Jenny’s, Nevada Wellness Center and The Dispensary NV to make “more significant progress.” The declaration, from Councilman Dan Shaw, came just months after the council voted to lift a moratorium on sales of the plants, which existed in part due to security issues and financial insecurity from a lack of banking options.

“The goal is to get banking here locally through credit unions and banks willing to facilitate accounts,” Shaw said.

A small number of dispensaries in Colorado, Oregon and Washington have accounts where the banking institution knows deposited money comes from marijuana sales. But banks in Nevada won’t allow dispensaries to open accounts because marijuana remains illegal under federal law and most banks are federally insured.

Las Vegas-based First Security Bank of Nevada offered banking for medical marijuana stores for less than a year but stopped dealing with the industry because banking with weed stores was “cost prohibitive” and “burdensome,” CEO Jason Awad told the Las Vegas Sun last summer.

All five dispensaries had representatives in attendance Tuesday night. Speaking on behalf of the dispensary owners, Andrew Jolley — owner of The+Source and president of the Nevada Dispensary Association — told the council that Henderson pot store owners had “a heavy lobbying presence” in Washington, D.C., and were in the process of encouraging multiple pot-friendly credit unions from other states to expand to the Las Vegas Valley.

Jolley’s assurance was good enough for Shaw, who commended the Henderson pot store owners for their efforts in searching for banking since a moratorium delaying recreational pot sales in the city for more than three months last year was lifted last October. The city council voted unanimously on a motion to extend dispensary owners’ local licenses for six months.

“We want them to be successful,” Shaw said, “and we want to keep pressure on them to find banking.”

Editor’s note: Brian Greenspun, the CEO, publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, has an ownership interest in Essence Cannabis Dispensary.