When I first started smoking cannabis, one of my friends told me to be careful. “That stuff will make you apathetic.” That's what the literature says, too (they call it “amotivational syndrome”). It's also bullshit. If anything, it turns everything up a notch and doesn't let you look away. That's what people are talking about when they say they “get paranoid.” Their attention gate is opened wider than usual, and suddenly they see and feel everything.
Not an experience for those faint of heart or weak of will.
It would actually be pretty great if I could get some of that amotivational syndrome right about now. If I could just look away from the cannabis news for five minutes and get a breath …
Trump is Going to Do What Trump is Going to Do
The nervous can continue chewing their nails. It seems the danger of losing our medical cannabis rights is alive and well, despite Congress doing their best to tie Attorney General Jeff Sessions' hands when it comes to prosecuting in states where the medicine is legal. Like some sick pop radio station, the Trump administration seems dead set on making America the '80s again, no matter what anybody says. “Just say no,” indeed.
Confused? Looked away from the news for five minutes, and suddenly everything was different? Get in line. Trying to keep up with the legality of cannabis in the first year of Lord Trump is tougher than following Sessions' crab eyes.
Earlier this month, Congress introduced a budget bill—H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017, which funds the operation of the federal government through Sept. 30—that included a provision, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which barred the Department of Justice from using any funds to go after states that have legalized medical cannabis programs.
“None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
President Trump signed the bill, but also released a "signing statement" (a controversial ploy also used by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama) which specifically referred to the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, saying that Trump “will treat this provision consistently with my constitutional responsibility to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Meaning he might just ignore the provision in service to his “constitutional responsibility,” i.e. his duty to protect the federal law (which doesn't treat “medical” cannabis any differently than “recreational” cannabis).
And if that doesn't make you gnaw at those fingers, maybe the fact that the White House Office of Management and Budget released a memo earlier this month that stated that the Office of National Drug Control Policy would have nearly 95 percent of its budget cut—around $24 million from $388 million. Despite having its own slew of issues in regards to the Drug War, the O.N.D.C.P. plays (or played, rather) a pivotal role in the losing battle against the opioid epidemic. Compound that with Sessions' assertion that using cannabis to fight opioid addiction is “stupid” (despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary).
The White House says that President Trump is still fully behind the war on opioids and that the issue will be addressed in his 2018 budget request. Right.
Rural N.M. Patients Kept Waiting
Cannabis patients in Deming are still waiting for their Ultra Health storefront to open its doors. It's been months since Deming’s City Council unanimously approved a special use permit to open a Top Organics (who do business as Ultra Health) dispensary Downtown, but the Department of Health refuses to license any more locations to the company. A spokesperson for Top Organics said last week that the department is fighting them because of a battle over plant counts. At the moment, licensed producers are limited to growing 450 plants, a number that Ultra Health says is too low to keep up with patient demands. The DOH says if that's true, then Ultra Health shouldn't be trying to open new locations.
Of course the whole thing wouldn't be an issue if Gov. Susana Martinez hadn't vetoed the medical expansion bill last month, considering it included an increase in plant limits. But who's keeping track?
According to Ultra Health, more than 3,000 New Mexican patients don’t have a provider within their counties. But who cares about sick people, right?