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U.S. House of Representatives passes the SAFE Banking act.

SAFE is the first legislation passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress.

The bill has been approved four times so far but has not been taken up by the Senate.

The bill will have to pass the Senate and be signed by President Biden before becoming law.

Biden is still opposed to ending the federal prohibition of marijuana. 

On Monday, April 19th, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a cannabis banking reform to protect banks from penalization for serving state-legal marijuana businesses. The measure was passed by a strong bipartisan vote of 321-101. This groundbreaking move was the first major marijuana legislation approved by the new Democratic-controlled Congress.

The new reform will enable banks and other financial institutions to serve cannabis industry clientele without fear of federal penalties. Currently, marijuana dispensaries have been forced to operate on a cash-only basis, making them prime targets for criminals, as well as creating multiple complications for financial regulators.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter took the House floor after the win and proclaimed:

“The fact is that people in states and localities across the country are voting to approve some level of cannabis use, and we need these cannabis businesses and employees to have access to checking accounts, payroll accounts, lines of credit, credit cards, and more. This will improve transparency and accountability, and help law enforcement root out illegal transactions to prevent tax evasion, money laundering, and other white-collar crime. But most importantly, this will reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities.”

SAFE has been a long time coming

The reform, known as the SAFE Banking Act, was first proposed by legislators in 2019. Initially, the Banking Act was met with resistance from cannabis advocates who felt that Congress should prioritize social equity and legalization

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April 20th, the “Cannabis Holiday” has historically marked the marijuana industry’s biggest sales day of the year. However, when looking at the past 3 years, 4/20 fell on distinctively different climates. 2019 was a normal (non-COVID) year in which dispensaries in Canada and legal US States fought hard to be open by 4/20, and to procure the maximum amount of inventory to meet the surge in demand. They were rewarded with the biggest cannabis sales day ever.

Cannabis Retail Sales Bounce Back Despite Ongoing Pandemic

Last year saw a COVID shutdown of all retail businesses in March, followed by various re-openings of dispensaries by state or province in April. There were also restrictions on how cannabis stores could sell: via online order and curbside pickup, delivery only, and/or limited visitors into the dispensary. 4/20 2020 proved to be a better than average day but didn’t set any sales records.

4/20/21 was nowhere near a return to normalcy, as some municipalities were locked down for non-essential travel, while others were open for business but with 6-foot restrictions in place. Nevertheless, the industry saw an 8.4% increase in sales over 4/20/20, despite several US POS systems crashing amid the higher volume.

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Colorado marijuana and public-health regulators are recalling medical marijuana sold at Primal, a dispensary in Colorado Springs, after plant material failed multiple contamination tests. (Colorado Springs has only medical marijuana dispensaries; recreational stores have yet to be approved there.)

According to an April 19 health and safety notice from the state Marijuana Enforcement Division and Department of Public Health and Environment, marijuana cultivated and sold by Primal LLC tested positive for elevated levels of mold or yeast and lead, a heavy metal banned by the MED.

Heavy metals such as arsenic, nickel, lead, copper, mercury and cadmium can be found in growing nutrients and fertilizers used to enhance the yield and potency of marijuana. According to the National Institutes of Health, long-term exposure to heavy metals can lead to liver or kidney damage, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, heart abnormalities, a disrupted nervous system, anemia and more.

“Consumers with these affected products in their possession should return them to Primal LLC for proper

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With Ohio preparing to grant more medical marijuana dispensary licenses and no system currently in place to benefit minority applicants, activists and minority owners are concerned that an already wealthy and white industry may become even more wealthy and even more white.

Earlier this week, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy voted to increase the number of dispensary licenses to 130 from the current 57.

At its inception, the program included a carve-out for cannabis entrepreneurs from economically disadvantaged groups, including people of color. Fifteen percent of marijuana business licenses were set aside for companies with at least 51% minority ownership.

However, judges eventually struck down the set asides, and the program currently has no provisions aimed at diversifying the industry, although regulators are working on updates intended to do just that.


   

Arkansans are spending nearly $900,000 each day on medical marijuana, figures released by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission indicate.

Scott Hardin, spokesperson for the Commission, says since the first dispensary opened in mid-2019, Arkansans have spent $285 million to purchase 42,769 pounds.

The daily average of $880,000 Arkansans are spending on medical marijuana is an increase of $163,100 compared to the figures reported last month.

Commission officials report 12 dispensaries have sold at least 2,000 pounds. There are 32 dispensaries across the state, with six more preparing to open.

The Arkansas Department of Health reports 66,638 active patient cards.

Below is the full report of total medical marijuana sales through April 11.

Since Suite 443 (Hot Springs) first opened on Friday, May 10, 2019, the company sold 2,790.58 pounds.

Since Green Springs Medical (Hot Springs) first opened on Sunday, May 12, 2019, the company sold 3,888.40 pounds.

Since Arkansas Natural Products (Clinton) first opened on Thursday, June 20, 2019, the company sold 848.28 pounds.

Since Greenlight Dispensary (Helena) first opened on Thursday, June 27, 2019, the company sold 569.70 pounds.

Since Native Green Hensley (Hensley) first opened on Tuesday,

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…FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 9 AM EDT THIS MORNING… * WHAT…Sub-freezing temperatures in the upper 20s to lower 30s expected. * WHERE…Portions of northern and northwest New Jersey and east central and southeast Pennsylvania. * WHEN…Until 9 AM EDT this morning. * IMPACTS…Frost and freeze conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Freezing conditions are likely again tonight into Friday morning for much of the warned area. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… Take steps now to protect tender plants from the cold. &&

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker holds the bill that legalizes adult-use recreational cannabis in Illinois during a June 2019 news conference in Chicago. 

AMR ALFIKY, ASSOCIATED PRESS BRENDEN MOORE

SPRINGFIELD — While pot smokers puffed away on 4/20, the informal cannabis-influenced celebration that takes place every year on April 20, language emerged in Springfield that would address some of the flaws holding back the state’s legal marijuana industry.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, filed an amendment Tuesday that would create 120 new dispensary licenses beyond the 75 recreational licenses set to be awarded this year, all adding to a budding market that already includes more than 100 dispensaries open across the state.

The legislation aims to fix the botched rollout of the program’s social equity component, which has delayed the awarding of the additional dispensary and cultivation licenses and so far has failed to meet the 2019 legalization legislation’s lofty goals of righting past wrongs and diversifying a nearly all-white industry.

“We know the cannabis law in Illinois was intended for people that were hardest hit by the

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Shopping for gifts on Christmas Eve or for beer on Super Bowl Sunday seems ridiculous, yet malls and liquor stores are always packed when those days come around. Denver has its own special holiday on April 20, when dispensaries see lines out the door — and in some cases down the street — during the world’s unofficial marijuana celebration.

Still not out of a pandemic, Denver was without public activities and large events for a second straight year as 4/20 rolled around, but that didn’t stop people from showing up at their local pot shops, according to Alex Levine, co-owner of one of the state’s largest dispensary chains, Green Dragon.

Says Levine: “4/20 still definitely has a spell over people. I get it, but a part of me also doesn’t get it. There are still no events or big concerts going on, really, and there’s no festival happening downtown again. But we were still blowing last year’s [sales] out of the water. I had a

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