Alibi V.28 No.25 • June 20-26, 2019 

Baked Goods

Loopholes and Lassos

Did New Mexico legalize out-of-state patients?

Baked Goods logo
Rob M.

Let's get back to Senate Bill 406. As none of us noticed (except Ultra Health President and CEO Duke Rodriguez, apparently), the medical cannabis expansion bill—which added new qualifying conditions, extended the patient card renewal period, removed THC limits for concentrates, allows patients enrolled in other states' medical programs to use and possess cannabis in New Mexico and protects employees and job applicants enrolled in the program—failed to define a “qualified patient” as a “resident of New Mexico.” Instead, the law defines it as “a person who has been diagnosed by a practitioner as having a debilitating medical condition and has received written certification and a registry identification card pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act …” blah, blah, blah.

According to NM Political Report, Rodriguez noticed the screwup—I'm assuming there was one—and bought ad space on three radio stations in southeast New Mexico to inform Texans that they are now eligible to sign up with the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program.

So are we likely to start seeing Texans in our dispensaries? A spokesperson for the Department of Health told us that persons who are not residents of New Mexico cannot enroll in the cannabis program. They said it would encourage the illegal transport of cannabis across state lines.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, told reporters that the word change was made to allow patients enrolled in other states' medical cannabis programs to purchase meds while visiting. That was before the separate designation “reciprocal participant” was created to refer to these patients.

But Rodriguez says the language is clear, and we can expect the program's massive patient load to double. He said that means the state will need to raise the plant count again, if it ever expects to meet demands. Sly.

Rodriguez has reportedly opened two new dispensaries last week along the Texas-New Mexico border. We'll keep you updated on how this all pans out.

Science Gone Awry

If you think your doctor has any idea about the science of weed, you might want to take a seat before you read this one.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine recently published a paper in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine that polled physicians on their knowledge of medical cannabis. According to the study, 85 percent of medical professionals have received no education or training on cannabis, 80 percent weren't aware it was a Schedule I substance and 40 percent thought it had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

My jaw dropped at the sight of that last figure, dear reader. Knowing what my job is, people often approach me for medical advice and recommendations on whether to join the cannabis program. I always refer them to their doctor. “I'm not an expert on your health,” I usually say. Sounds like their doctors probably aren't either.

Mike Adams wrote a piece for Forbes last week that raised an issue that no one wants to really talk about these days. In a world where the research on cannabis is sketchy to contradictory to nonexistent, the idea of a “marijuana expert” is pretty ridiculous.

He also points out that advocates tend to cherry pick studies and only recognize the ones that support their beliefs. For instance: While there are studies that suggest that opioid abuse declines in states where a medical cannabis program has been initiated, there are others that say the opposite is true. Last week another Stanford study was published—this one in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—that contradicted a 2014 study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania that found opioid-related deaths on the decline in states that had medical cannabis programs.

The new study used the exact same methods as the original but found that in the convening years, the results had reversed. According to the researchers, with the addition of new data, there appears to be no correlation between medical cannabis use and opioid-related fatalities. They also noted that only 2.5 percent of the US population is enrolled in a medical cannabis program, making its use unlikely to affect mortality rates.

“There are valid reasons to pursue medical cannabis policies, but this doesn’t seem to be one of them,” wrote lead author Chelsea Shover. “I urge researchers and policymakers to focus on other ways to reduce mortality due to opioid overdoses.”

Strain Corner

Last week I found myself at the Verdes Foundation (7301 San Antonio Dr. NE) picking up a gram of Night Terror OG (THC: 23%, CBD: 0.01%—$10.50/gram).

This spongy little beauty smelled sour and grassy and tasted like sweet berries. It’s an indica-dominant strain that went down smooth and put me in a dreamy, relaxed state almost immediately. I found myself feeling happy and sedated. I kept zoning out and found it extremely hard to follow a typical conversation with my wife. Within half an hour, my eyelids turned to lead and I succumbed to the couch.

I'd recommend this strain for anyone suffering from stress, exhaustion or insomnia.

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