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Gov. Steve Sisolak delivers his first State of the State address in the Assembly Chambers on Jan. 16, 2019. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed onto a bipartisan letter with 19 other governors urging Congress to pass legislation that would provide marijuana businesses access to the banking system in states where it is legal.

“Without access to banking services, state-licensed cannabis businesses operate predominantly on a cash basis,” the June 13 letter said. “This poses a significant public safety risk to customers and employees.”

“The cash-only environment puts an additional burden on state and local government agencies that must collect tax and fee payments, in person and in cash, incurring additional public expenses and employee safety risks,” the letter continued.

The governors support legislation that has been introduced in both the House and Senate. In the House, the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019, was approved by the Financial Services Committee in March on a 45 to 15 vote. No action has been taken on the Senate version of the bill.

All members of Nevada’s congressional delegation have signed on as co-sponsors to both bills. Republican Rep. Mark Amodei in March was the last Nevada lawmaker to endorse the measure.

“They shouldn’t be dealing with a whole bunch of cash floating around, like they are now,” Amodei told The Nevada Independent of the marijuana industry after signing onto the bill.

“We urge the full House to pass this legislation to help provide banking services to state-licensed cannabis businesses,” the letter said.

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