If you're bummed that our state lawmakers once again failed to deliver on legalizing recreational cannabis (surprise, surprise), you'll be happy to know that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is at least giving lip service to bringing the issue back for the 2020 legislative session. According to KRQE, she wants lawmakers to buckle down on marijuana reform proposals in 2020.
House Bill 356, which would have legalized recreational cannabis for adults over 21 and set up a state-run dispensary system, was left to die in the Senate after making history as the first legalization bill to ever pass through any of New Mexico's legislation chambers (albeit narrowly). It would have made us the 11th state to legalize, and the first to do so without a ballot.
Concerns over underage use, protection of the medical industry and drugged driving still seem to be an issue with some lawmakers, and Lujan Grisham signaled the need for a bipartisan solution. “We're going to work during the interim with all parties involved to see if we can get to a place that everyone feels good about,” she told reporters earlier this month.
I'm not holding my breath.
A new study has found even more evidence linking cannabis use to first-instance psychotic episodes.
A study published last week in the The Lancet Psychiatry journal found that patients who had been diagnosed with their first episode of psychosis were more likely to have used “high-potency” marijuana (more than 10 percent THC) on a daily basis than others.
The study looked at patients who were diagnosed between May 2010 and April 2015 in one of 11 cities across the world. The patients and a control group were asked about their past cannabis use. It was discovered that three times as many patients who had suffered a psychotic episode were daily cannabis users, compared to the control group. NPR said it meant daily cannabis users were three times more likely to have a psychotic episode.
The only issue is that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. It's the same criticism I've been hearing from scare pieces like this since they became fashionable, and it's such a strong argument against them that I can't believe these people haven't changed their tactics yet.
Here we go: If those who have suffered psychotic breaks are three times more likely to have used cannabis on a daily basis, then a correlation exists. The cause of that correlation has not been discovered. It could very well be that these people are self-medicating, and their use is an indication that cannabis can treat rather than cause psychosis.
I obviously have a pony in this race, so I'm going to lean toward an interpretation of the data that bolsters my own opinions. But don't for a minute think that I'm the only one. These conclusions are clearly influenced by the researchers' views, and it's gross as hell that even a layman can see through it.
Cannabis businesses have been struggling for years to gain access to banking services. As it stands, most banks won't do business with dispensaries because federal law prohibits them from knowingly taking part in laundering money for illegal drug operations. Since the federal government doesn't recognize state laws that have legalized marijuana in some form, any money a dispensary makes is technically illegally obtained drug money, and banks won't touch it.
This leads to a whole slew of safety and tax issues—most notably the necessity for these businesses to carry and store large quantities of cash and an increase in opportunities for unscrupulous owners to misreport earnings.
Banks want in on the action, of course, and have been joining advocates for years in pushing for clear federal guidance on the matter. Recently a break in the clouds appeared in the form of a bipartisan bill on the Hill, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would protect banks and bank employees from prosecution if they provide financial services to cannabis companies.
But last week Republican lawmakers tried to delay a hearing on the bill. Reps. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina and Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri wrote a letter to the chairwoman of the Committee on Financial Services, asking for the delay and saying the committee needed more time to better understand “the full range of consequences that enacting such legislation may trigger.”
I chose Orange Blossom Special (THC: 28.88%, CBD: <0.03%—$12/gram), a sativa-dominant hybrid of Clementine and Stardawg. I picked it because of its powerful citrusy smell and trichome-covered surface, and I was not disappointed. The sharp flavor of oranges stuck to the roof of my mouth for the duration of the session. It was markedly the best tasting flower I've had all year.
The mood-enhancing and anxiety-quelling qualities of this strain were incredibly potent, and I found myself acting sillier than usual. My wife—who's never had good taste in jokes—seemed irritated when I began speaking in a drawled out Southern accent. “Yoah honuh,” I said in the voice of a Georgian defense attorney, “My client is not a bad man. He's merely … a bit light in the brains. Why, I reckon if t'were illegal to be a fool, then we'd all be a-hangin' by sundown.” Not even a snicker.