This week we’ve been looking at the impact of marijuana in the state’s that have already made pot legal.
A big concern in many of those 9 states what do you do with the cash made from selling cannabis?
Reporter Patrick Walker is in Nevada, where he spoke with one marijuana pioneer– who says some of her private bank accounts were recently shut down.
The reason I’m speaking out about it is because I want everyone to know it’s getting out of hand,” Priscilla Vilchis, CEO of Premium Produce said.
Priscilla Vilchis has made a name for herself, getting her foot in the door in Nevada’s booming marijuana industry, and as a nationally-known advocate.
But that led executives from her long-time personal bank, which she doesn’t want to name at this point, telling her attorney her business was no longer wanted.
“They said I became a high-risk client, shortly after, they asked me to close my accounts,” Vilchis added.
Banks largely do not to do business with cannabis-related companies, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, so accepting money is akin to money laundering.
But Vilchis says her accounts were for personal and other businesses pre-dating her cultivation endeavors.
“In no way did I ever deposit any marijuana money into a bank, we’re highly-regulated, we know state, federal laws,” Vilchis said.
Vilchis is not the only one who is raising concern.
“They close them down, give them a notice that says ‘you have, you know, 3 days to close your bank account,’ so it’s pretty scary,” said State Senator Tick Segerblom, Clark County (D).
State Senator Tick Segerblom, often called the godfather of Neveda’s marijuana industry says some banks, in his case, Wells Fargo, have gone too far.
“I’m involved with a hemp company, and they closed our bank accounts, even though we don’t do marijuana, we do hemp,” Segerblom added.
He’s proposing a banking bill for lawmakers to consider at the State Capitol this coming February.
It would create a state-backed bank for the marijuana industry, skirting the issue of the conflict between cannabis and federally-insured institutions.
It’s also a potential option for people like Vilchis, whom banks question due to their association with the marijuana industry.
“At the end of the day, marijuana is here to stay and the sooner that everyone gets on the same page, the better,” Vilchis said.
There are about 400 banks and credit unions across the country currently taking legal cannabis cash from businesses, according to CNN.
But by doing that, they along with the business take the risk of federal charges.