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UK / EU Cannabis Compliance

ICBC: Malta Home Affairs Ministry Is Reportedly ‘In Talks With A Main Bank’



A unique cannabis public policy and industry experiment is ramping up in Malta where non-profit adult-use cannabis clubs are expected in the near future. Starting next week, Malta’s government will begin accepting applications for non-profit adult-use cannabis clubs. The European nation became just the third country on earth to pass a national adult-use legalization measure in late 2021, with only Uruguay (2013) and Canada (2018) proceeding Malta. Non-profit cannabis clubs will serve as the backbone of Malta’s adult-use industry, and this week the nation’s Home Affairs Ministry reportedly entered into discussions with an unnamed ‘main bank’ that will be needed to help Malta’s emerging industry reach its full potential.

Access to the global banking system has proven to be difficult for certain entities in the public and private sector regarding cannabis commerce, although there are certainly examples of entities being able to successfully navigate the financial regulatory labyrinth in some instances. Still, getting consistent banking solutions pinned down is something that is a top priority for any emerging cannabis market, and Malta is no exception, so reports that there is progress on that front is encouraging.


Cannabis clubs are not a new phenomenon, so from afar, what is going on in Malta may not seem significant. After all, Uruguay and Canada both already permit cannabis clubs to operate in some fashion in certain jurisdictions. For that matter, Barcelona is home to hundreds of private cannabis clubs, albeit operating in a semi-grey area of the law. Yet, Malta is unique compared to those markets in that its entire cannabis commerce model will be based on licensed non-profit cannabis clubs. Home cultivation will be permitted, but the only way to legally purchase cannabis in Malta once clubs are implemented is via non-profit clubs.

It may seem nuanced, but as anyone that has paid attention to the ongoing cannabis banking saga will recognize this is a bit of a new wrinkle. Uruguay has experienced banking issues despite permitting non-profit cannabis clubs, but it also permits sales in pharmacies. That last component was the root of banking issues in Uruguay back in 2017. Major banks in Canada are the subject of a recent lawsuit due to alleged discrimination against cannabis companies. It will be interesting to see if Malta ever experiences the same hurdles given the fact that its legalization model is much more limited compared to Uruguay and Canada.


Malta Home Affairs Ministry Is Reportedly ‘In Talks With A Main Bank’

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UK / EU Cannabis Compliance

Portugal: Full Legalisation on the Horizon?




Cannareporter writes….

The legalization of cannabis may be introduced in the Portuguese Parliament and there may be political will and consensus for the approval of this regulation to be faster. In the “March for Cannabis” Manifestation, members of various parties, power and opposition, participated and revealed that it may be in 2023 that the proposal for the legalization of cannabis will enter parliament.

The staircase of the Assembly of the Republic building brought together, after the demonstration that headed from Largo do Camões, the various participants of the March for Cannabis, convened by the Mothers for Cannabis Associative Movement. It was at a time dedicated to interventions that the possibility of legalizing cannabis in the near future in Portugal was unveiled by various political leaders.

According to Francisco Themudo, National Secretary for the Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees of Socialist Youth, who addressed those present, he reasoned that there may be will, but above all, the necessary political conditions to move towards a comprehensive regulation of cannabis.

The leader stated that “smoking is an act of freedom, and that we have the right to do it safely”, defending a legal framework where the cannabis plant is not illegal. Fabien Figueiredo, former deputy for the Bloco de Esquerda and proponent of the bill to legalize personal consumption in 2021 But if there were any doubts, confirmation that, in the corridors of São Bento, cannabis is more than just talk, came from the Deputy of the Liberal Initiative, Rodrigo Saraiva. To the participants, the deputy said that it could even be in 2023 that the parliament will receive some proposals for discussion, “already with some prior consensus”.

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UK / EU Cannabis Compliance

Spain Reaches Agreement on Future 1% THC Hemp Regulation




French cannabis media outlet Newsweed writes…

In the absence of agreement for immediate regulation of light cannabis in Spain, the Spanish Workers’ Party ( PSOE ) managed to get an initiative approved by Congress which opens the door to future cannabis regulation at less than 1% THC.

If the initial objective has been considerably reduced, the initiative will make it possible to develop a clear framework for « the production, marketing and consumption of » products derived from the entire hemp plant in Spain.

Finally regulate CBD hemp in Spain

The final text should regulate all aspects that affect the activities of the non-psychoactive cannabis production cycle, as well as regional legislation on agriculture, by developing more precisely the European directives for the cultivation of industrial hemp.

According to Lucía Muñoz, Member of the UP cited by Europa Press, « the ban on this non-narcotics cannabis is equivalent to the ban on non-alcoholic beer and undermines the competitiveness of Spanish agriculture. »

The text adopted by Congress launches work for the definition of a clear framework.

He therefore calls for « progress in promoting the regulation of industrial hemp in order to give legal certainty to production, the marketing and consumption of products derived therefrom, while respecting the powers of the autonomous regions and the principle of subsidiarity in terms of protecting public security, health and agriculture ».

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UK / EU Cannabis Compliance

Article: Illegal Seeds Continue To Dominate Europe’s CBD Cultivation Market Despite EU ‘Crackdown’




A very interesting and in depth report from Business of Cannabis..


OVER half of the European CBD seed market is dominated by illegal varieties exposing farmers to criminal sanctions and costing approved seed operators millions of Euros in lost revenues, it has been claimed.

Responsible companies who can spend in excess of €500,000 validating products are now pressing the European Commission (EC) to crack down on rogue operators.

And, despite creating an EU Seed Fraud Network in 2022, there has been little sign of any EC enforcement action, so far.

With the European market for CBD flowers and extracts expected to exceed €300m this year – equating to around five million seeds – seed company boss Americo Folcarelli says the illegal market is damaging his business and that of others like him.

Play By The Rules

Speaking to Business of Cannabis he said: “It is unfair that we invested time, money and effort to go through the process to do everything legally and then have to compete against breeders who don’t.

“This also hurts our industry because we frequently have to help farmers. The company that sold them the seed left them in the lurch not realising that what they bought was not authorised and was not tested as rigorously as ours by government agencies.

“If we are going to be taken seriously as an industry then we need to play by the rules and ,when someone doesn’t, they need to be accountable.

In 2022, Mr Folcarelli’s companies Jupiter Seed Europe and CBD Seed Europe succeeded in registering two new high-CBD seed varieties on the European Common Catalogue.

This process took over two years of trials and research – and over €500,000 of investment – by the Bulgarian-based company.

However, its high-CBD content seeds which cost up to one Euro each are now in competition with unregistered varieties which are sold to farmers at less than half the price – see below for how the scam works.

Business of Cannabis reached out to the EC for a response to these concerns and was informed that it had launched a Seed Fraud Network in early 2022, although this was news to Jupiter Seeds and others like it.

EU Seed Fraud Network

The EC press office reiterated to Business of Cannabis that only seed varieties registered in Member States and included in the EU Common Catalogue of varieties can be marketed.

It continued: “The Member States have transposed this legislation into their national laws and have been applying it for years, subjecting the producers to controls according to the certification procedure (official or under official supervision) in relation to the production fields and the seed obtained, as well as carrying out post-control tests on the seed once it is placed on the market.

“Only seed of this species that has undergone certification procedures may be marketed, and for the certification of hemp seed it is necessary that the variety is registered. The seed packaging must bear an official label confirming this.

“As the commission is running a Seed Fraud Network together with the Member States, it would appreciate to be informed about any fraudulent activities.”

Bulgarian Mission

Simeon Genov, head of the Bulgarian Industrial Hemp Associations, said it had pressed the Bulgarian Seed Agency and the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture to tackle the issue.

He said: “Both the seed agency and Ministry of Agriculture in Bulgaria are aware of this situation and are looking at implementing procedures and testing methods to verify that farmers are not using varieties that are not on the EU Authorised Varieties Catalogue for the 2023 growing season.”

As a member of EIHA and as a member of the EIHA working group that includes the Industrial Hemp Associations in the other member states they are working with the other member states Ministries of Agriculture to implement similar measures across the EU including informational programs for local authorities, so they are aware of the regulations and how to identify potential issues of compliance.

“It is important that as an industry that we show those in power at the national and EU level that we want to and can adhere to EU regulations and can be an essential tool in regulating the industrial hemp industry.”

How The Scam Works

The European Union regulations are clear that EU farmers are only allowed to grow varieties that are approved, are on the EU Authorised Varieties Catalogue and come with the blue label on the package.

However, many seed sellers sell to the EU growers varieties that are not authorised banking on the fact growers don’t know or understand the regulations.

The regulations in most EU member states require farmers and growers to declare the variety that they are growing and present the blue label that came with the seed.

So, growers and farmers buy seed from the seed breeder who sells them the non-authorised, high-CBD variety that is planted, but also sells the farmer a cheaper, authorised one, that is declared, but never grown.

They do that banking on the fact that local authorities will not run the more expensive genetics tests, and only the cheaper THC-compliance test.

In almost all cases the unapproved seeds are cheaper as they haven’t had to go through the rigorous EU approval process.

However, in a number of cases those cultivating the high CBD, unapproved seeds have also fallen foul of the EU regulations governing THC content, which currently stands at 0.3% after rising from 0.2% at the start of this year.

This has led to police raids on farms and the seizure of crops which the authorities prosecute under their respective cannabis laws – see the two following cases from Greece and Spain.


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