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News/Opinion
 May 4 - 10, 2017 
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Baked Goods

Green Flower Versus Red Pen

By Joshua Lee
Baked Goods
Rob M.

I got my prescription card renewed at discount by Dr. Karen over at a 4/20 shindig Seven Clover (3800 Central SE) threw together. It was pretty quick and painless for me, but I did see a line starting to form on my way out. It's just another perk to being the early worm, I guess.

The good doctor's nervous jaw clenched as she scanned the gathering crowd, telegraphing that she wasn't expecting so many patients. It spoke to the growing number of New Mexicans out there who have taken the plunge over the last year joining over 30,000 medical cannabis patients enrolled in the program.

Martinez—The Veto Machine

Fear not, dear reader. Gov. Susana Martinez has your back. How so? By vetoing three different cannabis related bills this session. (If you can't tell I'm being sarcastic, it's because I'm so vexed that the vexation has interrupted my ability to laugh at anything, making my jokes lifeless and dull.)

The first two bills to suffer from the governor's vicious stamp were related to the production and research of hemp, the virtually non-psychedelic industrial version of cannabis, grown specifically to have a low THC content. The third was HB 527—the GOP-sponsored medical cannabis expansion bill—which would have added opioid dependency to the list of qualifying conditions for enrollment and would have forbade caregivers to deny cannabis patients medical treatment (more on this, later), along with a number of other changes to the Lynn Pierson and Erin Armstrong Compassionate Use Act, New Mexico's medical cannabis law.

Denying opioid dependency as a qualifying ailment seems short-sighted and just plain dumb, if anyone's asking me, considering our state's particular troubles with opioid abuse and the evidence that cannabis is useful as an opioid addiction treatment. Ignoring any path to treating this troubling epidemic seems foolish.

But ignoring a need to protect cannabis patients from being denied vital healthcare due to the use of their medicine is borderline monstrous. This issue became highlighted nationally this month when CNN reported on a patient in Maine who was denied an organ transplant because his use of cannabis was deemed a health risk.

A number of states (other than New Mexico, of course) already have laws in place safe-guarding cannabis-users' organs, thank goodness.

To be fair, cannabis bills weren't the only ones to land on the chopping block. Apparently, she vetoed 70 bills in one day! I hope her hand is okay after all that stamping and signing. (Cannabis is a great anti-inflammatory. Maybe she should apply for her card.)

Federal Money Used to Pay for Cannabis

The New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission—a state program that provides financial assistance to victims of violent crime—was busted by independent investigators with the US Justice Department for allowing federal grant money to be used as reimbursement for cannabis purchases.

The Commission supplies compensation to victims who have “suffered physical injury or extreme mental distress” as a result of a violent crime (defined by a list including assault, battery, manslaughter, kidnapping and others) through grants awarded by the federal government. Expenses covered by the program include medical care and supplies.

The US Office of the Inspector General released its report earlier this month, revealing that $7,630 in federal grant money funded by the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Assistance Grant was spent over four instances to reimburse victims for cannabis purchases.

The report concluded, however, that the error was addressed by the organization, who returned the funds. The audit stated that the matter was “closed.”

O, Canada!

Did you hear the government of our nicey neighbors to the north announced that they are taking steps to legalize recreational cannabis? According to Bloomberg, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is rushing to make Canada the world's leader in legal cannabis. Trudeau said, “The reason we are choosing to legalize and control marijuana is because the current system is not protecting our kids, and it's right now easier for an underage Canadian—a teenager—to buy a joint than it is for them to get their hands on a bottle of beer.”

Canada's immigration website famously crashed after it was announced that President Donald Trump had been elected. I sure hope they increased their server capacity since then …

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