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“A big deal”: What the feds’ move to reclassify marijuana means for Colorado cannabis



Cannabis advocates in Colorado cheered the Biden Administration’s reported move to reclassify marijuana and said the decision likely would reduce businesses’ tax burden significantly.

Industry leaders cautioned that such a move — if finalized — would not resolve some major challenges facing the industry, such as limited access to banking. But they pointed to the symbolic importance of preparations by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to downgrade the substance’s drug classification.

A man pours cannabis into rolling papers as he prepares to roll a joint the Mile High 420 Festival in Civic Center Park in Denver, April 20, 2024. (Photo by Kevin Mohatt/Special to The Denver Post)

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The first 10 years of legal marijuana in Colorado were a wild ride. What will happen in the next decade?




The world’s first legal sale of recreational marijuana happened in Denver on Jan. 1, 2014. In fact, it happened twice.

Mason Tvert was managing the onslaught of media that descended on the Mile High City to witness the historic moment, set in motion by the successful legalization campaign he’d led. So many camera crews and reporters showed up that morning that Tvert decided to rotate two groups through the dispensary’s sales floor — with each transaction billed as the first time anyone 21 or older could legally buy weed simply by walking into a store, showing ID and paying for it, no doctor’s note necessary.

Cannabis enthusiasts also flocked to downtown Denver that day. Lines outside the new rec stores stretched down city blocks. Buyers exited with purchases in hand, holding them overhead like victory trophies. Rumors even swirled that some stores had sold out, only adding to the fervor.

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SAFER Banking Act Passes Senate Committee – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




The SAFER Banking Act has passed a critical Senate Committee hearing with a vote of 14-9. The renamed bipartisan bill would allow banks to work with cannabis businesses without penalties from the federal government.

The U.S. cannabis industry has long been waiting for SAFER Banking to pass the Senate. Alongside 280E tax burdens, the lack of access to essential banking services has unnecessarily handicapped the industry.

With SAFER Banking passing the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, this marks the first time Senate members have voted in favour of cannabis banking reform. The House of Representatives has voted for the bill seven times before.

But now what? What’s the next step in reforming cannabis banking in the United States?

SAFER Banking Act Passes Senate Committee

SAFER Banking Senate Committee

While the SAFER Banking Act passing a Senate Committee is undoubtedly good news, it’s not the end of this lengthy saga.

After passing the Senate Committee, the SAFER Banking Act will head off to the Senate and the House for more debates, amendments, and votes. Assuming this goes smoothly, the bill will eventually land on the President’s desk, where everyone expects him to sign it.

The recent Senate Committee vote clears the path for the bill to make it to the Senate floor. Passing the bill would mean cannabis businesses in legal states would no longer have to operate as cash-only enterprises. Handling massive amounts of money in cash is inconvenient but also dangerous. Cannabis operators have been vulnerable to theft and fraud.

Hence, industry stakeholders applaud the Senate Committee for decisively voting for SAFER Banking.

 “[It’s] a historic step towards final passage of a critical policy building block for the cannabis industry,” said Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) President Kaliko Castille.

MCBA has been committed to ensuring that the House and Senate not only pass the SAFER Banking Act but also contain provisions to aid minority entrepreneurs who have been the primary targets of the drug war.

“The committee’s approval of the SAFER Banking Act gives hope to thousands of compliant, tax-paying businesses desperately trying to access the basic financial services other businesses take for granted,” said National Cannabis Industry Association CEO Aaron Smith. “This uniquely bipartisan legislation has the potential to save lives and help small businesses; it’s time for Congress to get it to the president’s desk without further delay.”

What Next?

SAFER Banking Senate Committee

The Senate Committee’s passing of the SAFER Banking Act may have been influenced by recent cannabis news coming from Washington, D.C.

Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services officially recommended that the DEA move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III in the federal Controlled Substances Act.

That change wouldn’t affect banking, but it would relieve operators of the burdensome 280E tax. The potential rescheduling gave a shot in the arm to pot stocks. Perhaps it also lit a fire under the butts of American Senators.

SAFER Banking would give the U.S. cannabis industry better access to financial services, including depository services, electronic payments, lending, and other access to capital. 

Even Canadian cannabis companies will benefit from banking reform in the U.S. Currently, Canadian banks take the same drug-war mentality despite the herb’s legal status north of the 49th. Canada’s oligarch banks have a significant presence in the American economy that they don’t want to compromise.

Advocates are hopeful the Senate will eventually pass the SAFER Banking Act, as it has bipartisan support among Republicans and Democrats.

The United States has legal cannabis in 23 states, the District of Columbia and two territories. Every state has a medical cannabis program except Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, and South Carolina.

Three in four Americans live in a legal cannabis state. At this point, federal cannabis legalization seems less of a question of “if” and more of a matter of when. 

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Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy – Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana




An economic winter is coming, but don’t worry; we’ve compiled ten ways cannabis can revive a depressed economy.

When many people hear “cannabis,” they may think of it as a recreational activity or a medical necessity. And it is. But it’s more than that.

So while politicians will inevitably announce “stimulus” and bailouts, the real solution will come from entrepreneurs in a free market.

And since Canada has already legalized cannabis, that’s one hurdle out of the way. Next, cut all the regulations that prevent cannabis from reviving a depressed economy.

Difference Between Hemp and Cannabis

First, let’s briefly discuss the difference between hemp and cannabis.

Centuries of selective breeding have split the cannabis sativa genus into two identifiable crops: consumable cannabis and industrial hemp.

Hemp may be the most sustainable crop on the planet. It is one of the fastest-growing, requires little water, and no pesticides.

It also returns nutrients to the topsoil. Topsoil erosion is a huge problem that, if not dealt with, will result in the starvation of billions before the end of the century.

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

#10 – Hemp Biofuels 

Hemp Biofuel

We’ve covered this topic before. Naysayers “debunk” this idea based on current hemp strains. But this would be like calculating Canada’s current grain production using wheat stains from the 19th century. You’d conclude that we don’t have enough land to feed ourselves, let alone export.

Likewise, current hemp strains aren’t ideal for biodiesels, but that doesn’t make the idea unworkable. Hemp can create biofuels that power cars and other goods. Transitioning to hemp reduces dependence on Saudi oil and restores Canada’s energy security.

And, of course, creating biofuels creates jobs.

#9 – Industrial Hemp 

Speaking of hemp, we can use it to produce various industrial products. In fact, hemp was once the preferred choice for several consumer products. Consider the jobs created in manufacturing and construction by making hemp paper, textiles and building materials.

Entrepreneurs can produce hempcrete, a sustainable building material made from hemp, lime, and water. It is durable, fire-resistant, and energy-efficient. We can use hempcrete in construction projects, creating job opportunities in the construction industry.

#8 – Clothing Industry 

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

Right now, a lot of our clothes are cotton-based. Cotton requires pesticides that build up in the soil and contaminate drinking water. Plus, Canada can’t grow cotton. We rely on the United States.

A hemp-based clothing industry not only creates manufacturing jobs but also supports retail.

#7 – Hemp Plastics

Entrepreneurs can use hemp to create biodegradable plastics. A cannabis-hemp plastics industry creates jobs and helps revive a depressed economy, and it’s environmentally sustainable.

#6 – Food 

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

Cannabis not only helps revive a depressed economy, but it can also relieve food shortages. From protein bars to milk, the growth of the hemp food industry creates jobs in farming and manufacturing, processing plants, and retail.

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

#5 – Cannabis Tourism

Tourism is one of the first sectors to notice when people are strapped for cash. However, people don’t stop wanting time off from work. And in a depressed global economy, cannabis tourism may be one of the more affordable options.

That’s why Canada is shooting itself in the foot with these “public health” approaches to legalization. We’ve entirely rejected the idea of cannabis tourism. There are little-to-no consumption lounges, cannabis-centric hotels, or cannabis-infused restaurants.

Gutting the “public health” approach to cannabis legalization and liberalizing the laws will help revive an already depressed cannabis tourist economy.

#4 – Beauty Products 

Is CBD the Secret Ingredient in Beauty Products

What sector survives, even thrives, during economic recessions? Beauty products. You can come up with all sorts of reasons why that may be, but the fact is, the Lipstick Index shows how many women consider beauty products just as essential as food and housing.

Entrepreneurs already incorporate hemp oil into beauty products like lotions and shampoos. Growing this industry creates jobs in manufacturing, retail, and marketing.

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

#3 – Research and development

With cannabis reviving a depressed economy, you can make money in research and development. Cannabis and hemp research can lead to new discoveries and innovations in medicine, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Create a hemp strain that can survive Canada’s harsh conditions on the prairies, and you could make millions.

#2 – Banking

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

Cannabis banking remains elusive even in Canada, where it’s legal. The rationale is that Canadian banks are too exposed to the American market and don’t want to piss off D.C.

But considering that this global depression will result from fraudulent banking practices, perhaps the most critical way cannabis can revive a depressed economy is by taking over the money itself.

Cannabis as money? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Money originated as a commodity people liked to have. People like owning gold, but it also works as an effective medium of exchange.

Likewise, people like consuming cannabis, but like cigarettes in prison, grams of cannabis have exchange values that make for effective money.

Cannabis hashcoin to revive a depressed economy? Stranger things have happened…

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

#1 – Agriculture

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

Of course, the #1 way cannabis can revive a depressed economy is through agriculture. Canada is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world. We should use hemp as a rotational crop to improve soil health and prevent erosion.

As per the 2016 census, there are 193,492 farms in Canada. The average Canadian farm is about 800 acres. To revive a depressed economy, we ease the agricultural sector’s burden by reducing these farms’ taxes and regulations.

Even communist Cuba realizes when shit hits the fan, you need a free market in agriculture. Canadians can support their farmers and future farmers by reducing financial burdens and incentivizing hemp and cannabis production.

Ten Ways Cannabis Can Revive a Depressed Economy

These aren’t the only ways cannabis can revive a depressed economy. And obviously, none of these proposals will work if the Canadian government continues to excessively tax income, capital gains, sales, hotels, employment, carbon, airports, natural resources, businesses, tolls, car tires, guns, fuels, schools, cannabis, alcohol, payroll, customs, and imports.

Once upon a time, Canadians knew they couldn’t compete with the U.S. economy. So our politicians focused on ensuring our business environment was friendly. That our taxes were lower.

As the 1940 Royal Commission reported, “British North American governments did not concern themselves with the daily regulation of the daily pursuits of the people… They took seriously their responsibilities for defence and maintaining internal order but they carried them out with frugal care.”

We’ve clearly lost this Canadian tradition. For cannabis to revive a depressed economy, we’ll have to revive this idea too.

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