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From Banker to Cannabis Exec: How Las Vegas CEO John Sullivan Made the Leap

From CBE staff

Last October, VegasInc. profiled John Sullivan, who they described as “the medical-marijuana banking king of Las Vegas, having signed dozens of planned dispensaries, grow-houses and other pot entrepreneurs as clients.”

Well, just five short months later, you’ll have to change the story.

Sullivan, who was the president and CEO of First Security Bank of Nevada, has jumped from the banking industry to become president and CEO of Integrated Compliance Solutions (ICS), a Las Vegas-based company that is developing ATM-like kiosks for places like medical marijuana dispensaries where customers can make cannabis purchases.

He is notable, as VegasInc. pointed out, as being one of the very few bankers in the state of Nevada (or anywhere else) who “embraced medical marijuana as a new line of business. … (signing) more than 50 medical marijuana clients and developing a name for himself as the industry’s go-to banker.”

Why would a banker take such risks? As VegasInc. noted,

Sullivan knows the risks but views it (legal marijuana) as a legitimate line of commerce and a moral imperative to provide medicine to the sick. Also, letting businesses deposit their cash will make them and their communities safer, he said. Stories abound of dispensary owners keeping duffel bags filled with cash in their basement or in their store. The last thing Las Vegas needs is headlines about a dispensary getting knocked off by guys with submachine guns. “Vegas already has enough dings on its reputation,” Sullivan said.”

So, Sullivan’s move from an executive management position in traditional banking to the legal Cannabis Industry may be unprecedented, but it certainly isn’t a surprise given his recent background.

He told Marijuana Business Daily, “This is exciting to me, to see an industry be created … It’s sort of brand new. It’s like the dot com explosion 20 years ago.”

 

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