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Las Vegas bank backs off medical marijuana accounts

A Las Vegas bank that planned to offer accounts to medical marijuana businesses has backed off, citing the astronomical cost of complying with federal regulations.

First Security Bank of Nevada’s decision leaves some in the legal cannabis industry scrambling for a place to put their money just as they get ready to open for business. Most banks, including the nation’s largest, won’t open accounts for marijuana enterprises because the drug remains illegal under federal law.

“It’s very unfortunate,” said Jason Awad, First Security’s chairman and CEO.

Recalling his attitude when he began breaking the news to clients, he said, “The disappointing part of it is we know most of these people. They have been in the community for years, and we know they run legitimate businesses and they’re good community leaders.”

John Laub, president of the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association, said banking is a major challenge for the industry....

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