Alibi V.28 No.7 • Feb 14-20, 2019 

Baked Goods

Climate Change

Welcome to the cannabis Twilight Zone

Gov. Lujan Grisham
Gov. Lujan Grisham
courtesy of the governor’s office

Marijuana advocates in New Mexico have been holding their breath until their faces turn purple waiting to see which way the wind is going to blow for recreational marijuana legalization. The proverbial iron is white-hot and all signs indicate that now is the time to strike and let our lawmakers know how we feel.

Overnight, it seems, control of our state government has flipped over to the Democrats, and to many, that means cannabis legalization is a given. I've been assured by many that legalization is an inevitability now that Democrat Lujan Grisham is sitting in the governor's seat, but I'm still not sure. Maybe it's my innate distrust of authority figures or my knowledge of history, but I don't really believe campaign sizzles made by politicians until I get to see the steak, if you follow me.

The governor gave her first State of the State address last month and mentioned including opioid addiction on the list of qualifying conditions for the state's medical cannabis program. She made no mention of legalization. Nevertheless, Rep. Javier Martínez introduced House Bill 356 soon after—a piece of law that would legalize possession of up to two ounces of cannabis for adults over 21 if approved. The bill would impose a nine percent surcharge on all sales that would go toward research, workforce training, substance misuse treatment, mental health treatment and youth drug-education programs. The bill would also seal certain cannabis-related criminal records and allow for the dismissal of sentences currently being carried out by prisoners incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes. Cities and counties would be able to opt out of allowing recreational cannabis sales if they wish.

I would like to have heard the governor give at least some lip service to the idea, but I am not surprised in the least, dear reader. Steve Terrell at the Santa Fe New Mexican claims “conventional wisdom at the Capitol is that the bill will pass the House but could stall in the Senate, where Republicans and conservative Democrats have sunk such efforts in the past.” I'm not sure who the sage behind this advice could be, but I'm inclined to agree.

Now before you jump to any conclusions about those mangy conservatives, I'll point out an investigative piece written by Mike Gallagher of the Albuquerque Journal which said legislators are leery of passing any laws that could endanger the state's booming medical cannabis industry. As you can imagine, I get stuck in conversations about cannabis legalization all the damn time (I'm sick of it), and I've rarely heard a conservative oppose it on moral or ideological grounds. Oddly, it's much more common for me to hear concerns about The Big Guy coming in and pushing out The Little People who've made a living for themselves built on years of effort. That's not just a Righty view by any means. These days I can't vomit my anarchic legalization rhetoric at anyone without them visibly cringing. It's terribly embarrassing.

Rep. Javier Martínez told Gallagher that he traveled across rural New Mexico to hear the concerns of the state's harshest conservative voters and found more counterintuitive stances: “I think the level of opposition was softer than I expected. People were asking about funding treatment and education on the issue.”

And here's the other thing: Lujan Grisham was the secretary of the Department of Health when the current program was initiated. I'd put my left hand on the line to say that she's retained her contact list from the good old days, and that's why we're going to see her deliver on promises like lifting the cap on the number of plants producers are allowed to grow. (One can hope anyway.)

What we probably won't see are any nods to legalization coming from Lujan Grisham's camp for the time being. I really hope I'm wrong. I'll totally submit to the stocks at Civic Plaza.

War on CBD Begins in Earnest

New York City just banned CBD edibles, and it might be a trend.

According to The New York Times, the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ordered restaurants under its jurisdiction not to sell food products containing CBD. City inspectors were reportedly confiscating CBD-infused products at eateries last week. In a statement, health officials said restaurants were not “permitted to add anything to food or drink that is not approved as safe to eat.”

The US Food and Drug Administration says CBD is still banned from use in food or dietary supplements, because it's been used as a component in an FDA-approved pharmaceutical and can't be included in over-the-counter products. But the authorities have been hands-off in their enforcement approach. The aggressive tactics of the city of New York signal an unfortunate change.

And they aren't alone. Officials in Maine—a state where recreational cannabis is legal—recently banned the sale of CBD-infused edibles in stores, and police and health officials in Ohio made the rounds last week ordering stores to destroy all CBD products on their shelves.

Let's just hope New Mexico keeps looking the other way I guess.

Don't forget to RSVP to Weekly Alibi’s Organabus CBD-sponsored 2019 New Mexico Cannabis Expo, happening Saturday, March 23 from 11am to 5pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.
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