The cannabis vote is probably a real thing in New Mexico. I've met plenty of people who plan on “voting to legalize” this gubernatorial election, and Democratic candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham must have heard about it, because she's recently become a very sure-footed and passionate supporter of legalizing, taxing and regulating recreational cannabis for adult use. And she seems sincere.
In an interview with ABC-7 in El Paso, given while she toured the US-Mexico border, Lujan Grisham said she doesn't believe cannabis is a gateway drug, and that it will bring money into the state. “I want our intelligence community and our law enforcement, who are working statewide, to deal with real drug threats, including the cartel.”
Oh, thank God. That means we've got at least half a chance.
Republican candidate Steve Pearce, on the other hand, has said he would oppose cannabis legalization. In April, he told a crowd that legalized recreational cannabis would be an economic “obstacle” for those who are less fortunate. It was one of the weirdest arguments this reporter had ever heard. Huffington Post even ran a story with the headline: “GOP Congressman: Only Wealthy States Can Afford To Smoke Weed.”
He hasn't said much on the subject since.
Come on, Stevie. Shake that rot out of your ears and listen up. Your argument hardly makes sense. Don't you want to win? Supporting legalization would definitely close that yawning gap you can feel opening between you and victory—the one that keeps you awake at night, chewing your pillowcase and holding back tears.
I've met my share of Republican cannabis users out in the trenches, and I can guarantee you're only hurting your chances.
But who listens to reason these days?
The subject of pre-employment drug testing in the workplace has become a hot topic of debate recently. THC can supposedly stay in your system for up to 90 days. (I pissed hot for six months, mind you). Combine that with the fact that you can't drive in any direction without hitting a state where cannabis has been legalized, and I'll bet you can guess the problem: Jobs that drug test are suddenly finding less and less qualified applicants.
In service industries this won't be that big of a deal. Phasing out old drug laws won't affect business as usual for the most part. Some of them are already doing away with the practice, and a Wisconsin-based staffing company released a statement last week urging employers to get rid of drug tests altogether.
But at jobs where employees are working with dangerous machinery or sensitive materials, insurance requirements will make it much harder.
Case in point: Last week US District Judge Robert Kugler ruled that New Jersey's medical cannabis laws do not protect patients from employers with a no-drug policy, according to the New Jersey Law Journal. Plaintiff Daniel Cotto Jr. claimed he was the victim of disability discrimination when employer Ardagh Glass Packing Inc. fired him for refusing a drug test.
Cotto, a forklift driver, was allegedly involved in a minor workplace accident. As per company policy, he was required to take breath and urine tests, which he declined. The suit claimed that legalization of medical cannabis obligated his employer to provide him accommodation under the Law Against Discrimination. The judge disagreed and ruled in favor of the defendant.
Authorities with the Lauderdale and Colbert County Drug Task Force made public statements last week informing retailers and consumers that CBD is illegal to own in Alabama unless you qualify for medicinal use under the state's Carly's or Leni's Law.
Lauderdale County Assistant District Attorney Angie Hamilton spoke to reporters at a press conference and clarified a few dangling issues. “CBD oil is unlawful. It is illegal for someone to possess it or distribute it,” she said. “If something came back once we sent it to the lab that said it did not contain any controlled substance, it is still illegal in that state of Alabama to falsely advertise a product. So, either you’re selling a controlled substance or you’re falsely advertising your controlled substance.”
Director of the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force Tim Glover said, “There is a lot of bad information coming out that these items are legal. They are not; they are illegal in Alabama.” Anyone in possession of CBD was urged to turn it into authorities without fear of penalty.
Alabama might seem like a long way off, but compounded with the recent felony charge leveled against a traveler passing through Wyoming with a bottle of CBD, and the authorities' subsequent raids on local retailers carrying CBD products on their shelves, I think it's likely we'll start seeing more cases like this. The golden age of CBD is probably over.
So far New Mexico has been turning a blind eye to the huge number of CBD shops scattershot across the land, but the health department came down on dispensaries last month for selling CBD products that had been sourced from outside the state. This means that those unregulated CBD shops have a significant advantage over the dispensaries now. I'm predicting this will not bode well for CBD shops. Remember this for the I told you so's later.