Alibi V.28 No.26 • June 27-July 3, 2019 

Baked Goods

Strange Times

Congress blocks feds from enforcing drug laws

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Rob M.

If you need any proof that the legalization of marijuana is on its way, your leaders in Congress are trying desperately to give it to you. Last week lawmakers approved an amendment that would block the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere in states and territories where recreational cannabis use has been legalized.

The amendment was attached to a pending House bill that, if approved, will set the DOJ's budget for the 2020 fiscal year. According to the Associated Press, the amendment passed with a bipartisan vote of 267 to 165. It denies the DOJ access to funds for pursuing criminal cases against individuals and cannabis companies working in compliance with local state laws in places where cannabis is legal.

Protections of this sort were first enacted for states that have medical cannabis programs back in 2014, but until now, recreational cannabis programs have had no such shield. A similar rider to the current one was up for consideration in 2015, but failed to pass on the House floor. The overwhelming success of the current amendment is more than a little exciting to cannabis advocates.

Speaking to Forbes, NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said it was “the most significant vote on marijuana reform policy that the House of Representatives has ever taken.” Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine said, “The historic nature of this vote cannot be overstated. For the first time, a chamber of Congress has declared that the federal government should defer to state cannabis laws.”

At this point, a heavy-handed battle against local cannabis laws would be unwise. Medical cannabis has been approved in one form or another in 47 states, and it's been fully legalized in 11 states. The number of states that are decriminalizing marijuana (including our own) is rising. The idea that the federal government can come in and put a stop to programs that the majority of Americans are in support of is outrageous, and lawmakers have clearly become aware of that.

CBD and Liver Health

A recent study by researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, published in the journal Molecules, examined CBD hepatotoxicity in mice and found that exposure to the compound elevated the risk of liver toxicity.

This is apparently the first time a study of this kind has shown such a correlation, but liver toxicity is a common adverse reaction to many medicines. It's why we've been told by the Food and Drug Administration not to indulge in acetaminophen (like Tylenol) too often. It should also be noted that the (tiny, tiny) mice were given 10 to 20 times more milligrams of CBD than the average consumer currently doses. The study's lead author, Igor Koturbash, said it highlights the need to conduct more testing on CBD, though.

Concerns over the lack of proper scientific study related to CBD have been raised in recent months. Last week, the House of Representatives approved a policy amendment that would compel the FDA to “undertake a process to make lawful a safe level for conventional foods and dietary supplements containing cannabidiol (CBD) so long as the products are compliant with all other FDA rules and regulations.”

But the FDA has said it wants to take it slow with CBD. It made claims about CBD and liver toxicity as well. In an article printed on the agency's website, titled “FDA is Committed to Sound, Science-based Policy on CBD,” representatives write: “While we recognize the potential benefits of CBD, questions remain regarding its safety. During our review of the marketing application for Epidiolex, we identified certain safety risks, including the potential for liver injury.”

Currently, only topicals infused with CBD derived from hemp are legal. The FDA says foods and supplements utilizing the compound are still banned because CBD is the active ingredient in a pharmaceutical drug.

Strain Corner

This week I was feeling hot as hell, so I visited High Desert Relief (4840 Pan American Fwy. NE Ste. H) for a gram of Summer Breeze (THC: 18.5%, CBD: 0.35%—$9/gram). I drove home with the windows rolled up tight and the air conditioner on full blast. I did not listen to any songs clocking over 80 beats per minute.

By the time I found myself on the couch, I was down to my skivvies and glistening like a wet plum. The flower smelled sour and tart, with a hint of Necco wafers. I loaded a bowl, admiring the fine dusting of trichomes over the bud's surface while I held my feet out at an angle and slowly spread my toes. Everything felt soggy.

The first hit tasted sweet and tangy. It stung my sinuses a little and made my eyes water. The smoke felt extremely hot and I had to slowly blow it out in a burning stream across my palate. The effects came on quickly. My head felt light and I could feel myself relax. By the end of the bowl, I was happily sitting on the carpet watching birds melt on the patio.

Summer Breeze seemed most useful as a mood enhancer. This strain would be great for someone suffering from anxiety, depression or exhaustion.

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