By Michelle L. Price
A new state law allowing Nevada to test out a limited marijuana banking system is expected to bring some relief to the state's booming cannabis industry where dispensaries and other businesses are forced to deal in cash.
The measure, signed into law Wednesday by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, would let the state treasurer's office set up a three-year pilot program for cannabis businesses.
State Treasurer Zach Conine, who pushed for the program, said the system would try to remove the large amounts of cash that Nevada's pot industry must deal with and instead set up an online system where digital currency could be sent and received.
Conine likened the system to gift cards or digital wallet apps such as Venmo and said the program would not include broader banking services like loans.
"We think it's an innovative solution to a real problem," Conine said.
It's the latest example of states with some form of legal marijuana trying to address the industry's challenges with banking.
Most banks won't do business with the industry because the U.S. government still considers marijuana illegal. Last month, attorneys general from 33 states urged Congress to approve a proposal to open the U.S. banking system to the legal marijuana industry.