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SAFE Banking Act Left Out of Defense Spending Bill

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A bid to include the SAFE Banking Act in a must-pass defense spending bill has failed, leaving advocates searching for a way to pass the legislation that would grant the legal cannabis industry access to banking services. Proponents of the measure had hoped to include provisions of the banking bill, known as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, in the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA), an annual spending bill that funds the military. But the latest version of the NDAA released on Tuesday did not include the cannabis banking language.

Under the SAFE Banking Act, federal banking regulators would be prohibited from penalizing banks that choose to serve cannabis firms doing business in accordance with state law. Under current regulations, banks are subject to penalties under federal money laundering and other laws for servicing such companies, leaving the cannabis industry to operate in a risky environment heavy in cash. 

The legislation was initially introduced in the House in 2013 by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, who has reintroduced the bill each subsequent congressional cycle. The bill has been passed seven times since 2019 by the House of Representatives, but each time the Senate has failed to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote.

Another amendment supported by cannabis policy reform advocates that would have given the states assistance with expunging past marijuana-related convictions also failed to make it to the final version of the defense spending bill. Before the latest text of the NDAA was released on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York told reporters that he was still working on getting the cannabis banking measure passed.

“It’s a priority for me,” Schumer said. “I’d like to get it done. We’ll try and discuss the best way to get it done.”

Republicans Balk At Adding SAFE To Defense Bill

But later in the day, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky admonished Democrats for attempting to attach amendments not related to defense, including the SAFE Banking Act, to the spending bill.

“Even now, House and Senate Democrats are still obstructing efforts to close out the NDAA by trying to jam in unrelated items with no relationship to defense,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “We’re talking about a grab bag of miscellaneous pet priorities — like making our financial system more sympathetic to illegal drugs, or the phony, partisan permitting-‘reform’-in-name-only language that already failed to pass the Senate this year.”

“If Democrats wanted these controversial items so badly, they had two years to move them across the floor. Heck, they could have scheduled those matters for votes this week. But no — we’re doing more mid-level nominations, while Democrats keep half-threatening to take our Armed Forces hostage over these extraneous matters,” said McConnell, adding “The Democrats’ failure to plan ahead for unrelated liberal pet priorities should not be creating uncertainty and confusion for the brave servicemembers who keep us safe. My colleagues across the aisle need to cut the unrelated hostage-taking and put a bipartisan NDAA on the floor.”

What’s Next?

The failure to include the SAFE Banking Act in the NDAA leaves the prospect of passing the cannabis banking legislation before the current Congress adjourns in two weeks unsettled. Morgan Fox, the political director for the cannabis policy reform group the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said that SAFE could be attached to a pending omnibus appropriations bill or perhaps be approved as standalone legislation.

“I’m glad that we still have other options,” Fox said Wednesday. “It’s pretty disappointing.”

“While there has been momentum and optimism around getting SAFE included in the National Defense Authorization Act, it has been known for some time that getting this through would be a challenge,” Sahar Ayinehsazian, partner at the cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, wrote in an email to High Times. “The focus now is on the omnibus appropriations bill, which congress is currently negotiating. SAFE has growing support on both sides of the aisle and I, and many others in the industry close to this issue, think that there is a still a chance that movement can be made on SAFE via the omnibus bill during this session of Congress.”

The SAFE Banking Act is supported by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers made up primarily of representatives and senators from states that have legalized medical marijuana or adult-use cannabis. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 321-110 in the House last year, and senators from both parties are also in favor of passing the measure.

“The Senator is continuing to work every day to build consensus so we can pass “SAFE Banking” into law this year,” a spokesperson for Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines said in an email on Wednesday.

The senior senator from Montana, Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, also said he “would like to see it pass this Congress.”

The banking bill is also supported by nearly two dozen governors in states that have liberalized marijuana policy. In a written statement, Conor Cahill, a spokesman for Democratic Colorado Governor Jared Polis, praised the work of Perlmutter and said he expects the legislation to pass this year.

“Governor Polis has long advocated for the passage of the SAFE Banking Act, and has repeatedly called upon Congress to pass this important legislation to protect cannabis-related businesses, support minority, women, and veteran-owned small businesses owners, create jobs, and strengthen public safety in Colorado communities and in the states,” Cahill wrote in a Tuesday email. “We hope and expect to see the final passage of his decade-long effort by the end of the lame-duck session.”

The post SAFE Banking Act Left Out of Defense Spending Bill appeared first on High Times.

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Germany: Implementation challenges of cannabis legalization

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As many people gathered to dance and listen to music at the Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin, Germany to celebrate the recreational legalization of cannabis on April 1st, 2024. Many have wondered if it’s too early to speak on whether the German government’s new law on the “controlled use of cannabis” will be a success or failure as it still leaves many questions unanswered.

The government’s objectives are simply “eradication of black market sales”. Originally this was planned to be achieved via authorised sales through licensed stores, this was later abandoned due to its conflict with European laws. As a secondary plan, under the new law consumers now have the choice to navigate two options: grow at home with the limitation of 3 plants or join a growers association which limits possession to 30 grams for those between the ages of 18 – 21, 50 grams for anyone older and only 25grams in public

Yet one thing is still at fault, these growers’ associations still need to be created. By law, they will not be able to start operating before July 1 – and to do so, they must first obtain a license with many conservative voices still fighting its implementation in certain parts of Germany

Suppose the regional authorities don’t play ball and instead decide to make setting up these growers’ associations more difficult. In that case, consumers who don’t want to start growing cannabis will continue to buy from their usual dealers. Forsmall-time dealers, the new legislation provides a certain advantage, in that it is now legal to carry 25 grams of cannabis on your person.

Another of the government’s stated aims is to lighten the workload of police officers and judges. With decades of prohibition and repression having failed to reduce cannabis consumption – quite the opposite, in fact – what’s the point in continuing to ask them to apply a failed policy? The problem is that implementing the new law is already proving to be a real headache. It prohibits smoking cannabis near minors, within 100 meters of schools, sports facilities, children’s playgrounds and in pedestrian zones between 7 am and 8 pm.

All these prove to be the first few implementation problems Germany is yet to face and we are excited to see it all come together.

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A taste of Cannabis: South African Edition

A few places that could help you experience the South African cannabis space

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We have all tried our chances with a Google search hoping to find the best places to satisfy our cannabis needs but we never seem to find exactly what we need. With 4/20 coming up, we at CannaAfrika decided to make your life easier and have created our Ganja Guide for your best and safest South African cannabis experience.

Is Cannabis / Marijuana Legal in South Africa?

As you might know, Cannabis in South Africa has been decriminalized by the country’s constitutional court for personal use by adults in private. However, there are still many ifs and buts, grey areas and fairytales.

South Africa is moving towards fully legalising Cannabis shortly. It seems weed is posed to become a major South African export. This has led to a large variety of Weed Clubs, Dispensaries, and health stores selling to the public.

Best Nationwide Online Stores:

  • Taste of Cannabis:

Taste of Cannabis (TOC), a leading CBD retailer under CannaFood International, was established in 2019 at the beginning of South Africa’s cannabis journey. Specializing in high-quality CBD products and Full Spectrum Cannabis Products, TOC addresses various health issues. The company, known for its diverse, innovative and exciting product range collaborates with experts to ensure efficacy. TOC extends its offerings to pets, pain relief, and sexual wellness to allow customers to experience the world of cannabis in many different ways. TOC originally operated online and has expanded to operate in 9 prime kiosk locations, pharmacies across Africa, and other online stores. Find them here www.tasteofcannabis.co.za

  • HighTEA CBD:

HighTEA CBD is a well-known and locally loved online cannabis edibles and vape club. HighTEA is passionate about everything cannabis related and prides itself on creating eye-catching, delicious happy products. Their wellness first mantra is evident in their delight from customer feedback on how their products affected people for the better, coupled with their fame from their CBD gummies and full spectrum cannabis oils that bring life to the small artisanal cannabis products.  Find them here: www.hightecbd.online

CBD Gummies, CBD Oil, Cannabis Products Cape Town, South Africa

(Hightea CBD Cannabis Oils and Edible Products)

  • Tubby’s Kitchen

Run by a mom and son duo Tubby’s Kitchen was started by tasting various local teas and incorporating CBD as a way to heal the body from seizures. Tubby’s vision is all about health and infusing CBD into the dining experience to provide customers with an opportunity to enjoy physical and mental healing for a balanced life. Tubby’s Kitchen fuses your love for cooking and CBD with a great range of CBD teas, pastes, and spices. Now you can choose to start your day off with an amazing CBD cup of tea and enjoy cooking with their tasty paste and spices.  And what adds even more to Tubby’s is the fact that all these products are natural and none are infused with isolate or chemically produced CBD oil. Find them on www.tubbyskitchen.co.za

Best Retail Stores:

  • CannAfrica

CannAfrica is a company that views its products as a new way of thinking and a new way of living, with a focus on healing. With its scientific approach, CannAfrica prides itself on producing products that have been carefully researched and tested to ensure great quality. As a trusted dispensary that has a ton of quality goods such as oils, gummies and coffee, CannAfrica has something that will suit your CBD needs. Their values are all about health and making your way of life a lot more easier and enjoyable. With a great online store and a few store locations in  East Rand Mall, Pretoria, Spriggs and more on the way. For more store locations near you check out their website: www.cannafricaer.com

  • Tree of Life

Tree of Life is a revolutionary health and wellness dispensary founded in 2021 which provides its patients with natural healing products. Tree of Life prides itself on providing organically grown cannabis, roots and select plant-related products which includes oils, capsules, teas and coffees. With an exclusive collaboration with DANK as its storefront provider they are continuously providing wellness and building long-lasting relationships with patients from all walks of life. The stores can be found in Hatfield, Pretoria and Bryston, Johannesburg. For more information visit their website: www.treeoflifestores.co.za

  • Canna Kingdom

Canna Kingdom is known as a one-stop shop for all things cannabis. Hosting a range of products from smoking accessories to therapeutic oils and medicinal pet drops, to growing equipment and nutrients, even infused soft serve ice cream, Canna Kingdom boasts of retailing the largest range of smoking and cannabis products in South Africa, with 4 Johannesburg locations, Parkuhurst, Malibongwe, Hillfox and Glenhazel. Their website is currently under construction but sign up for when they finally launch again: www.cannnakingdom.co.za

Best Private Clubs:

  • Hi-Grow Cafe:

The Hi-Grow brand consists of multiple sub-brands that create one united Community. Hi-Grow Cafe (NPC) is an association of cannabis consumers, cultivators, connoisseurs, and other related stakeholders supporting the growth of the cannabis community in South Africa one tree at a time. Hi-Grow provides the platform for the cannabis community to come together and enjoy the cannabis culture. They are passionate about education and the delivery of accurate information regarding cannabis in South Africa. The cafe is located in Menlo Park, Pretoria. Find out more about your membership at www.higrowcafe.co.za

(Cannabisters Club in Cape Town)

  • Cannibisters:

Cannibisters is a members-only club incorporating a herbal apothecary in Cape Town. It is a home away from home where members can share cannabis and related products privately and responsibly. The club environment is elegantly presented in the familiar style of a retail store, coffee shop and relaxed lounge area. Cannibisters also offers a few nights of the week, either classical or light jazz music and cover bands. The aim is to ensure that they create a peaceful, healing and safe environment. They offer cannabis connoisseurs and medical users a legal space to enjoy and share the herb.

Email High@cannibisters.com

  • Grow One Africa:

Grow One Africa™(GOA) aims to be a self-regulatory organisation and service provider within the recreational craft cannabis social grow club market in South Africa. They provide a self-regulatory Grow Club Compliance Model and then facilitate the opening of private cannabis social clubs in compliance with the 2020 Proposed Cannabis Bill. This model focuses on responsible cannabis use, sharing and cultivation while providing full traceability to all associated GOA cannabis social club members. GOA motto states they believe that social clubs show that it is possible to create a safe, informed community where like-minded people can practise their constitutional rights of possessing and using cannabis in private, while still complying with current legislation. Looking to find a way to start your social club look for further assistance here: www.growone.africa/clubs/

This is just a short list to introduce you to what South Africa could offer you in the world of cannabis. Stay tuned for more as we continue to update our list.

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Weedo: The new kicks on the block

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Ever since the inception of 8000Kicks and their introduction of sustainable hemp footwear, inquiries directed to co-founder Bernardo Carreira often humorously inquire about the safety of smoking the brand’s sneakers. Although a jest, the consistent stream of such queries on the brand’s social media channels augured well. Never one to squander a creative opportunity, Carreira seized upon his clientele’s suggestion by partnering with the renowned European seed bank, Royal Queen Seeds (RQS), to birth WEEDO: an exclusive collection of shoes crafted from premium cannabis blooms.

8000Kicks typically harnesses traditional hemp fibers, transforming them into footwear through a multi-stage process encompassing harvesting, retting, carding, and pulping of the source material, culminating in the spinning of yarn, which is then meticulously woven into textiles of superior quality.

WEEDO footwear, however, diverges from convention by incorporating CBD extracted from the cannabis plant. Each shoe is meticulously crafted using up to 500 grams of top-tier CBD sourced from cannabis plants. They are exceedingly sought-after, with only a limited edition of 100 pairs available. Offered exclusively on the RQS and 8000Kicks websites on a first-come, first-served basis, the steep price range of WEEDO footwear (1000-1500€/$1500USD) reflects the substantial cost and labor invested in producing such a distinctive and captivating product.

According to Carreira, the genesis of WEEDO stemmed from a collaborative brainstorming session conducted via email between himself and RQS President Shai Ramsahai, which culminated in a face-to-face meeting at Spain’s annual Spannabis cannabis expo. “We were already entertaining the idea of a collaboration,” Carreira remarks. “Upon our rendezvous at Spannabis, we formalized our intent. Amidst a plethora of unconventional concepts, the notion of a cannabis-infused shoe took root.”

What does the creation of a cannabis-infused shoe entail? Carreira elucidates that the process involves the utilization of an industrial grinder to pulverize cannabis blooms into minute fragments, subsequently hand-stitched onto the shoe with meticulous precision.

In a bid to spotlight sustainable materials, WEEDO footwear integrates cotton alongside hemp for laces, insoles, and interiors. Furthermore, to ensure the shoes align with vegan and eco-friendly standards, these materials are bonded using water-based adhesive. Moreover, their aesthetic and olfactory appeal is noteworthy.

A footwear marvel: A sneaker boasting innate aging capabilities? This further fuels the enthusiasm of sneaker aficionados for the collaboration between Royal Queen Seeds, 8000Kicks, and Nisiseltor Studio.
Visually, the sneakers evoke the impression of having been uniformly coated in freshly ground cannabis—a spectacle that is surreal, chic, and remarkably sustainable.

photo: 8000Kicks

“The most remarkable aspect of these shoes lies in their appearance, texture, and aroma,” Carreira muses. “Even with the shoe before me in my office, I find it difficult to fathom that we’ve actualized a cannabis-infused shoe. Its singularity is what renders it so captivating.”

Augmenting its novelty is the revelation that fortunate possessors of WEEDO footwear will observe a color metamorphosis over time. This phenomenon is straightforward: owing to their composition of authentic cannabis blooms, the shoes are predisposed to transitioning from verdant to earthy tones as the blooms desiccate.

A sneaker endowed with inherent aging properties? This serves as yet another catalyst for the fervor surrounding this special collaboration between Royal Queen Seeds, 8000Kicks, and Nisiseltor Studio. In fact, Carreira reports an influx of over 5000 new registrations subsequent to the public announcement of WEEDO’s impending release. With such fervent interest, could 8000Kicks continue along this trajectory with subsequent releases featuring authentic cannabis?

“It’s quite a formidable endeavor, truth be told,” Carreira acknowledges. “Presently, our focus is on finalizing the pre-sale launch of WEEDO.”

While the CEO of 8000Kicks understandably directs his attention toward the imminent launch of WEEDO, he remains open to the prospect of future fantastical and groundbreaking innovations.

“Our objective is to deliver WEEDO with unparalleled quality, leaving our clientele astounded, but thereafter…the possibilities are boundless,” he asserts. “Consider this: Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Puma—titans in the industry, yet none have ventured into this realm. Yet, we have—we’ve birthed the world’s inaugural cannabis-infused shoe.”

Remarkable, isn’t it? Ponder on that for a moment.

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