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Week in Review: Mastercard Stops Cannabis Purchases in the US

Mastercard Stops Cannabis Purchases
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Current Events

Week in Review: Mastercard Stops Cannabis Purchases in the US

ICYMI: Catch up on the week’s latest news from across the cannabis

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, MasterCard stops cannabis purchases with debit cards in the US; Nevada grants first conditional license for stand-alone cannabis consumption lounge; new study shows cannabis enhances ‘runner’s high’ and reduces pain during exercise and PAX introduces “My PAX” for customized vapes.

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PHOTO Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Mastercard Stops Cannabis Purchases with Debit Cards in the US

Mastercard has told US banks to stop allowing cannabis purchases with its debit cards, citing the complex legal and financial issues faced by the cannabis industry, despite the increasing legalization of cannabis in many states.

In an official statement on Thursday, Mastercard clarified that the federal government considers cannabis sales illegal, leading the company to ban such purchases on its systems. Mastercard promptly notified financial institutions connected to cannabis merchants to terminate these activities in line with their policies.

“As we were made aware of this matter, we quickly investigated it,” the company said. “In accordance with our policies, we instructed the financial institutions that offer payments services to cannabis merchants and connects them to Mastercard to terminate the activity.”

Following Mastercard’s cease-and-desist letters, companies using PIN debit payments for cannabis are now searching for alternative solutions for dispensaries that rely on these services. The crackdown is expected to limit convenient payment options for cannabis consumers, leading them towards cash-based transactions. Due to the federal illegality of the plant, major banks and credit card companies have typically restricted cannabis transactions, leaving limited payment options for buyers in states where it is legal.

“This news, while extremely disappointing, doesn’t come as a surprise,” Wendy Bronfein, co-founder of vertically integrated Maryland operator Curio Wellness, says. “The cannabis industry notoriously lacks access to traditional financial resources. With the stalling of the SAFE Banking Act in Congress and now this Mastercard roadblock, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that something must be done on the federal level to lift these constraints.”


Nevada Grants First Conditional License for Stand-Alone Cannabis Consumption Lounge

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) has taken a significant step forward by granting a conditional license to the first independent cannabis consumption lounge. This approval opens the door for the launch of the first social-use cannabis lounges in the fall and marks a significant development in the Silver State’s cannabis industry.

The coveted license was awarded to La Lounge, LLC, who revealed plans to establish the lounge in Clark County, along with a restaurant. The exact location has not been disclosed yet.

Last year, the CCB issued prospective licenses for 40 cannabis consumption lounges linked to adult-use dispensaries. Recently, three dispensaries received conditional licenses from the CCB to proceed with opening their lounges.

New Study Shows Cannabis Enhances ‘Runner’s High,’ Reduces Pain During Exercise

A recent study reveals that cannabis is linked to an improved exercise experience, particularly for runners, making their runs more enjoyable and less painful. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder conducted a survey with 49 runners, asking them to rate their runs after using cannabis and without it.

Published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, the study found that participants reported “less negative affect, greater feelings of positive affect, tranquility, enjoyment and dissociation, and more runner’s high symptoms during their cannabis (vs. non-cannabis) runs.”

Although the runners were slightly slower after consuming cannabis, with a difference of 31 seconds per mile, the researchers noted that this change was not statistically significant. The study also revealed that participants experienced lower pain levels after their cannabis-infused runs, while the perceived exertion during both runs remained similar.

Photo courtesy of PAX

PAX Introduces My PAX Program for Customized Cannabis Vaporizer Devices

PAX is taking personalization to the next level, giving cannabis fans the chance to design devices that truly reflect their unique style and preferences with its latest initiative, My PAX. Building upon the success of the company’s in-store program, which has engraved tens of thousands of vapes, My PAX is now available online.

The artwork covers a wide range of themes to cater to various consumer trends and preferences, including cannabis culture, patterns and prints, Americana-style tattoo designs, mandalas, ‘90s culture, zodiac symbols, state pride and more.

“People are hungry for more personalized versions of their favorite products—a trend we’ve seen firsthand through successful artist and brand collaborations,” Luke Droulez, VP of marketing at PAX said. “Cannabis consumption is highly personal and a form of self-expression for many, so we’re thrilled to be launching a platform for creativity so that consumers everywhere can experience the magic of personalization and how it reflects their cannabis identities.”

One of the highlights of the launch is the exclusive library of custom designs created by the talented multi-hyphenate artist, Akiko Tsuji. The artist, ceramicist, editor, publisher and fashion designer has previously collaborated with PAX on a limited-edition collection. PAX intends to collaborate with other leading artists to introduce fresh perspectives and innovative designs for device personalization.

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