It's taken over a year, but the Department of Agriculture is finally beginning the process of introducing hemp production to New Mexico.
Back in March 2017, Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a couple bills that would have legalized state-regulated industrial hemp cultivation for research purposes. Luckily the good governor was called up on the issue when lawmakers filed a lawsuit against her over the vetoes. A judge for the state Supreme Court ruled against Martinez, saying she illegally vetoed the bills (along with eight others) a few months later, and the rest has been a waiting game.
Until the Department of Agriculture announced that they wanted public comment on a set of hemp regulations. They set up five meetings to take place across the state this month “to develop a rule to accompany statutory language which allows the department of agriculture to administer an industrial hemp program.”
Under the new rules, an individual or organization will need to apply annually for a license from the department to grow hemp. It might take up to five weeks to receive a response. Growers are required to pay licensing fees and pay for testing (to ensure the product is within the legal limit for THC by volume—hemp is just cannabis that has a THC level lower than 0.3 percent, according to these rules). Procedures have to be in place for destroying any hemp that tests too high in THC and is magically transformed into “cannabis.”
Anyone caught growing hemp without a license will be given five business days to submit a valid application or destroy the plant. They could also be banned from applying for a license for up to five years.
The fees can get pricey, so don't expect to be growing hemp in your backyard anytime soon.
The closest hearing will be held at the Los Griegos Center (1231 Candelaria Rd. NW), this Monday, Oct. 15, at 6pm. After public comment has been heard, a hearing officer will then make a recommendation on the final regulations.
The short answer: No.
The long of it: The US Drug Enforcement Agency made a strange move last week and rescheduled CBD-derived substances (wait for it) as long as they are “certain drug products that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.” So some FDA-approved drugs containing CBD and no more than 0.1 percent of THC are now schedule V controlled substances (distinguished from cannabis' status as a schedule I substance).
The only drug this actually applies to at the moment is Epidiolex, a drug made of pure CBD and used specifically to treat patients two years and older with Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndrome—two rare forms of epilepsy. It was approved by the FDA in June, leaving everyone on the outside scratching their asses and wondering what the hell was happening in Washington.
Some people are out there trying to throw a party and say this is proof of a coming change in federal policy—a sea change signaling a new rational age. But those kids are being naïve. This is Big Pharma swinging its junk and letting the peons know that house rules is house rules.
You've just witnessed the DEA saying—with a straight face, no less—that CBD is okay over here, but not over there. And you swallowed it down like sugar in your medicine. For shame, America.
Out of the three candidates in the state Senate race, two have voiced support for the legalization of cannabis.
Both incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich and former governor Libertarian Gary Johnson support the legalization of cannabis for adults over 21. Johnson has been a longtime supporter of removing the drug from the federal list of controlled substances, and Heinrich was notably a co-sponsor of the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act this past summer.
Republican challenger Mick Rich says he's oppose to legalization (surprise, surprise).
Now even with two pro-legalization senators in D.C. it's doubtful as hell that we'll see any pro-cannabis legislation get passed federally in the next few years, but I like to think that society moves like the ocean and watching for ripples is like foretelling the future. (Or maybe I'm just battling the election blues.)
In another sign of the times, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (don't call them “Mormons,” anymore) officially announced that they were in support of Utah legislation that would legalize medical cannabis, according to The Herald Journal.
In case you're not impressed: These are the same people who forbid the members to drink coffee or alcohol. That's beyond teetotaler and way beyond what I'd expect from a conservative group in a conservative state.
In fact when my buddy first mentioned the story to me, I started laughing before he could even get to the good part. “Medical marijuana in Utah? Ridiculous!”