Cannarab Takes Colorado Cannabis Activism to Middle Eastern CountriesPosted by On


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When Malek Asfeer immigrated to the United States from Saudi Arabia in 2011, he viewed cannabis much like heroin or cocaine: as a dangerous substance to avoid at all costs. Yet he soon found himself on the front lines of CBD and hemp legalization efforts in America.

Asfeer began volunteering for Realm of Caring, the cannabis nonprofit co-founded by Paige Figi (mother of now-deceased medical marijuana patient Charlotte Figi) and the Stanley brothers (the family of cannabis breeders behind the Charlotte’s Web CBD strain). Eventually becoming the organization’s art director in 2015, Asfeer produced video testimonials sharing the experiences of cannabis and CBD users. Now he wants to tell similar stories in the Middle East.

All forms of cannabis are illegal in Asfeer’s native Saudi Arabia, with possession usually resulting in jail time. However, cannabis possession has led to execution as recently as 2014, and the country does not distinguish non-psychoactive forms of cannabis like CBD and hemp from high-THC marijuana. Asfeer’s new project, Cannarab, hopes to start conversations that “change minds and change laws throughout the Middle East” regarding cannabis, he says, before ramping up…

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I Support

  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
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Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

When Malek Asfeer immigrated to the United States from Saudi Arabia in 2011, he viewed cannabis much like heroin or cocaine: as a dangerous substance to avoid at all costs. Yet he soon found himself on the front lines of CBD and hemp legalization efforts in America.

Asfeer began volunteering for Realm of Caring, the cannabis nonprofit co-founded by Paige Figi (mother of now-deceased medical marijuana patient Charlotte Figi) and the Stanley brothers (the family of cannabis breeders behind the Charlotte’s Web CBD strain). Eventually becoming the organization’s art director in 2015, Asfeer produced video testimonials sharing the experiences of cannabis and CBD users. Now he wants to tell similar stories in the Middle East.

All forms of cannabis are illegal in Asfeer’s native Saudi Arabia, with possession usually resulting in jail time. However, cannabis possession has led to execution as recently as 2014, and the country does not distinguish non-psychoactive forms of cannabis like CBD and hemp from high-THC marijuana. Asfeer’s new project, Cannarab, hopes to start conversations that “change minds and change laws throughout the Middle East” regarding cannabis, he says, before ramping up…



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