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How Important is the SAFE Banking Act, Anyway?

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I’m pretty sure that more ink has been spilled on the Secure and Fair Enforcement Act (“SAFE Banking”), than any other proposed cannabis law. It just won’t pass and it just won’t die. Specifically, SAFE Banking was introduced in 2017 and it passed the House seven times (seven times!) with bipartisan support since 2019. The public likes it too: here’s a November 2022 Data for Progress poll revealing that “By a +65-point margin, voters support ensuring that banks do not discriminate against legitimate marijuana-related businesses.” This bill should pass, right?

It’s getting closer. SAFE Banking will finally go to mark-up this week in the Senate Banking Committee. That Committee is preparing to vote before October 1, although what they’ll be voting on at this point isn’t entirely clear. (For some chatter on that, check out this Marijuana Moment piece from last Friday.) But let’s assume that SAFE Banking, after mark-up, holds onto its key tenets. It would prevent federal banking regulators from:

  • prohibiting, penalizing or discouraging a bank from providing financial services to a legitimate state-sanctioned and regulated cannabis business, or an associated business (such as a lawyer or landlord providing services to a legal cannabis business);
  • terminating or limiting a bank’s federal deposit insurance primarily because the bank is providing services to a state-sanctioned cannabis business or associated business;
  • recommending or incentivizing a bank to halt or downgrade providing any kind of banking services to these businesses; and
  • taking any action on a loan to an owner or operator of a cannabis-related business.

Would any of that be truly helpful? In a vacuum, yes. But we don’t live in a vacuum, and if something like this passes you can expect a host of collateral issues. Most worrisome to me is that SAFE Banking could ultimately increase AML/BSA compliance burdens for financial institutions with cannabis clients. Hundreds of them already offer services to state-licensed marijuana businesses: these banks are well versed in the old-as-dirt 2014 FINCEN guidance on working with industry. If SAFE Banking passes, we’ll surely get additional rules and guidance from the Treasury Department and elsewhere. Be careful what you wish for.

This issue was highlighted in a well-written American Banker piece published yesterday (it’s paywalled, but they’ll trade you a freebie for an email). In that article, I and others also opined that SAFE Banking isn’t as critical as when the law was first introduced in 2017. This is because SAFE Banking wouldn’t actually solve a lot of cannabis banking issues, beyond access to banking services (which is already sort of solved). Specifically, it wouldn’t:

  • grant access to SBA programs (there’s another bill floating around for that)
  • increase lending options in any direct or discernible sense;
  • grant U.S. cannabis companies access to public capital markets (sorely needed);
  • require Visa, Mastercard, etc. to work with the cannabis industry (super sorely needed); or
  • eliminate IRC § 280E (although this may occur through rescheduling).

Do I still hope SAFE Banking passes? I think so. The devil is in the details with something like this. And, as I told American Banker:

Right now, most states only have small credit unions working with the industry, and most of these credit unions only offer basic merchant accounts with relatively high fees. A few have more expansive offerings, like equipment loans, but generally cannabis companies don’t have access to the full suite of services that other, similarly sized commodities businesses have and they pay more for those limited services.

In that article, I also mentioned that I’ve learned not to get my hopes up with SAFE Banking. Even if this bill gets out of Committee, it would need a floor vote, and then reconciliation with whatever the House is thinking on the topic. That feels like miles and miles away, especially today when Congress is struggling to keep the lights on.

I don’t mean to be discouraging. In fact, it’s easier to feel OK when you think of SAFE Banking as not the biggest deal. These days, it’s really not.



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Minnesota Social Equity Verification: Key Dates Start June 21

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The Minnesota cannabis social equity initiative

As Minnesota continues to develop its legal cannabis industry, the Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has taken significant steps to ensure that the process is inclusive and equitable. One of the most notable advancements in this area is the recent update to the social equity application and verification process for cannabis licenses.

This advancement aims to address the harmful societal impacts of the War on Drugs, historical disparities, and ensure that those most affected by cannabis prohibition have the opportunity to participate in the new market. Historically, communities of color and economically disadvantaged groups have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition. Recognizing this, Minnesota has committed to creating a more inclusive industry by providing these groups with enhanced opportunities to obtain cannabis licenses.

Just recently, Minnesota enacted amendments and modifications to their new cannabis law enacting a licensing preapproval and vetted lottery process for qualified social equity applicants. In addition to streamlining the application process, Minnesota has also introduced support services for social equity applicants. These services include business development training, mentorship programs, and access to financial resources. By providing these tools, the state hopes to empower social equity applicants to succeed in the cannabis industry.

Recognizing the importance of awareness and education, the OCM has established a campaign focused on outreach and education regarding the new and ever-evolving regulations surrounding cannabis licensing. These initiatives aim to inform potential applicants about the benefits of social equity verification and guide them through the process. This includes community workshops, online resources, and partnerships with local organizations.

Minnesota social equity verification requirements

Beginning on Monday, June 24, 2024, the OCM will begin the verification process for qualified individuals who want to be pre-approved for cannabis licenses.

Broadly speaking, to qualify for a social equity cannabis license under Minnesota regulations, an applicant must have been convicted of cannabis possession or sale, be a military veteran, or have worked for a farming operation. These specific requirements are explained in more detail below and can be found on the OCM website here with the required documentation for each category:

  1. The applicant was convicted of an offense involving the possession or sale of cannabis prior to May 1, 2023;
  2. The applicant had a parent, guardian, child, spouse, or dependent convicted of an offense involving the possession or sale of cannabis prior to May 1, 2023;
  3. The applicant was a dependent of someone convicted of an offense involving the possession or sale of cannabis prior to May 1, 2023;
  4. The applicant is a military veteran, including service-disabled veterans, or current/former members of the National Guard;
  5. The applicant is a military veteran or National Guard member who lost honorable status due to an offense involving the possession or sale of cannabis;
  6. The applicant has been a resident for the past five years in an area with:
    1. High cannabis enforcement rates as determined by federal or state studies or data;
    2. A poverty rate of 20% or more;
    3. Median family income not exceeding 80% of the statewide median family income;
    4. At least 20% of households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assistance; or
    5. Populations that experienced a high level of vulnerability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index; or
  7. The applicant has participated in farm operations for at least three years, providing the majority of day-to-day labor and management on a farm with gross sales between $5,000 and $100,000 in the previous year.

Key upcoming dates for Minnesota social equity applicants

On June 21, 2024, the OCM will host a training workshop from 4-6 pm at Sabathani Community Center Auditorium located at 310 E 38th St. Ste. 200, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55409. Participants for the training can register here. For anyone unable to attend in person, the OCM will publish another recording on its website providing an outline of the verification process.

On June 24, 2024, the OCM will open the social equity verification process allowing participants to ensure they meet the social equity requirements. This process will end on July 10, 2024.

On July 24, 2024, those applicants that were verified as social equity applicants will be able to submit an application for cannabis license preapproval. Those license applications will then go through review and a vetting process and will be entered into a lottery to be held later this fall. This preapproval process window will close on August 12, 2024.

Conclusion

The OCM is moving swiftly in order to bring the Minnesota legal cannabis market online. In doing so, they are prioritizing social equity applicants and providing guidance and a preapproval vetting process for those applicants ready to apply. However, this process will require the submission of specific documents and evidence that the applicant meets the criteria set forth above, so it is best if applicants begin reviewing the documentation requirements now. Applicants should then start compiling those documents and getting their applications ready.

Be sure to review the OCM website for additional requirements and resources. They plan to publish additional materials in the coming weeks to assist social equity applicants through the process of obtaining a cannabis license.



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Celebrating Juneteenth Today – Canna Law Blog™

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Our offices are closed today in commemoration of the Juneteenth holiday. In the past, we’ve used this occasion to highlight the need for criminal justice reform, inside and outside of the cannabis industry.

Juneteenth is also a day of celebration, to commemorate the liberation of enslaved people in the United States.

We hope you have the day off today! And that you have the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the significance of our newest federal holiday.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our regular programming.



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Talking to God and Feeling the Warmth of Your Soul

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what is tripping on DMT like

Dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, is a substance with hallucinogenic properties that may be found in a wide range of plants and animals. When taken in large enough quantities, DMT may produce a “high” and cause distortions in one’s senses, making things appear that they aren’t. Other names for it include elven spice, spirit molecule, businessman’s special, and Dimitri.

 

For ages, people from many cultures have utilized DMT in rituals and religious ceremonies. It is one of the active components in South American psychedelic beverage ayahuasca. Laboratories are also capable of producing synthetic DMT.

 

Recreational users go for DMT because it produces a strong, brief “trip,” sometimes referred to as a “breakthrough in DMT.” Although some studies point to possible advantages for both physical and mental health, the drug’s adverse effects may offset these advantages.

 

Some have described tripping on DMT “like dying”, but in a positive way of getting to see the universe and afterlife. Many people feel a deep euphoric feelling that can be humbling, like comparing yourself to a piece of sand in the universe.  In a religious sense, those say you become one with the universe or the “god in you”.

 

DMT Versus LSD (ACID)

 

Both DMT and LSD, sometimes known as acid, are potent “psychedelic” substances that can change your perception. Their molecular makeup is identical to that of serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in your brain.

 

Differences between DMT and acid include:

 

Source. While LSD is manmade and derived from a material in a fungus that grows on rye grains, DMT is found in both plants and mammals.

 

Length of time. Whereas an acid trip can last up to 12 hours, DMT is a powerful, short experience lasting 15 to 60 minutes.

 

How Does DMT Trip Make You Feel?

 

DMT affects individuals differently, but common effects include:

 

– Visual or auditory hallucinations

– Out-of-body experiences

– Mood changes

– Heightened sensitivity to physical sensations such as pain, tingling, and warmth

– Feelings of euphoria or intense happiness

– Spiritual and emotional experiences

– Distorted body image

– The ability to unlock hidden memories

 

The effects of DMT depend on several factors, including:

 

– Your size, weight, and overall health

– Whether it’s your first time using it or not

– Whether you have taken other substances simultaneously

– The dosage

– The drug’s potency, which can vary between sources

– Your environment

– Your mood at the time of consumption

 

Set and Setting with DMT

 

When using DMT, your physical surroundings and mental state are referred to as your “set and setting.” These factors have a big impact on your experience, both good and bad.

 

The set is the state of mind you are in before using the drug; it includes your feelings, expectations, past psychedelic experiences, and any tension or worries you may be experiencing.

 

Setting includes the people and things in your immediate surroundings. You may be in a familiar setting with individuals you can trust, or you may be in a foreign area alone. You will be affected differently by a calm, peaceful setting than by a busy, boisterous one.

 

Can DMT Cause a Bad Trip?

 

It is possible to have a negative experience, or “bad trip,” when taking DMT. Instead of euphoria, you might feel:

 

– Intense anxiety

– Frightened by your hallucinations

– Very confused

– Paranoid

 

Being in a positive set and setting can help reduce the risk of a bad trip.

 

Due to limited research, the long-term effects of DMT are not well understood. Flashbacks, which can be unpleasant and occur days, weeks, or even months after taking DMT, are a commonly reported side effect.

 

While there are no reports of toxicity from long-term DMT use, there are concerns about its impact on heart health, as it can raise blood pressure.

 

Potential Therapeutic Uses of DMT

 

According to recent studies, DMT may have a variety of medicinal uses. Studies suggest that DMT may be helpful in the treatment of mental health issues, however, they are still in their early phases. Here are a few possible medicinal applications:

 

1. Treatment for Sadness and Anxiety: According to preliminary studies, DMT can affect mood in a quick and significant way, which may be able to provide treatment for those with sadness and anxiety. Because DMT experiences are strong and brief, they may provide immediate therapeutic effects without requiring lengthy therapy sessions.

 

2. Support Psychotherapy: People may find it easier to process trauma and unearth suppressed memories if DMT can elicit strong emotional and spiritual experiences. DMT may help make significant progress in psychotherapy under carefully monitored conditions, enabling patients to address and resolve ingrained psychological problems.

 

3. Potential for Addiction Treatment:

Some studies suggest that DMT and other psychedelics might be useful in treating substance abuse disorders. By providing profound insights and altering perception, DMT could help individuals break free from addictive behaviors and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

 

4. Neurogenesis and Brain Health: Some research indicates that DMT may encourage neurogenesis, or the development of new neurons, which may have an impact on cognitive performance and overall brain health. Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative illnesses may benefit especially from this feature.

 

Even while these prospective advantages seem encouraging, it’s crucial to remember that DMT research is still in its early stages. To completely comprehend its therapeutic potential and create safe, efficient treatment procedures, more thorough, controlled research is required. To reduce hazards and optimize benefits, the DMT experience is intense, thus it must be administered in a controlled setting, ideally under the guidance of qualified specialists.

 

Bottom Line

 

DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, is a powerful hallucinogenic compound found in various plants and animals and can be synthesized in laboratories. Known by names like elven spice, spirit molecule, businessman’s special, and Dimitri, DMT has been used for centuries in rituals and religious ceremonies, particularly in South American cultures through the ayahuasca brew. Recreational users seek DMT for its intense, short-lived “trip,” which can include profound sensory distortions and out-of-body experiences. The effects of DMT vary greatly depending on factors like dosage, individual health, environment, and mental state. A positive “set and setting” can enhance the experience and reduce the risk of a “bad trip,” characterized by intense anxiety, confusion, and paranoia. Although the long-term effects of DMT are not well understood due to limited research, some studies suggest potential therapeutic benefits, such as treatment for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders. However, these potential benefits come with risks, including the possibility of flashbacks and concerns about heart health due to increased blood pressure. In summary, while DMT offers intriguing possibilities for both recreational and therapeutic use, it should be approached with caution and ideally under professional supervision to mitigate risks and maximize potential benefits.

 

WHAT IS DMT AND WHAT DOES IT DO TO HUMANS, READ ON…

WHAT IS 5-MeO-DMT

WHAT IS 5-MeO-DMT BEING TESTED ON HUMANS NOW DO?



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