Way back in the summer of 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Agency announced it was relaxing its hold on cannabis research by allowing more institutions to have access to the illegal drug. Until then, only the University of Mississippi was allowed to grow marijuana for research—and the weed they grew was terrible by all accounts.
It seemed like a win for advocates, but we haven't seen it bear any fruit—not a single application has been approved to date. Much of the blame has been laid on former Attorney General (and head of the DEA) Jeff Sessions. It's been said that he went out of his way to keep the applications from being processed.
But Ol' Split-Hoof Sesh got the boot last year, and current AG William Barr promised back in January that he wouldn't “go after” dispensaries in states where cannabis has been legalized and would investigate to see what was holding up the research production application process.
Well it's been half a year since he made that claim (and almost three years since the DEA announcement), and one group of researchers is apparently tired of waiting. The Scottsdale Research Institute reportedly applied for a cultivation license after the initial announcement, but it says the agency has ignored all its inquiries about its progress. SRI filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit alleging the delay is “unlawful, unreasonable and egregious.” The suit asks that the court issue a writ of mandamus ordering the attorney general, DEA or its acting administrator to issue a “notice of application.”
The DEA is already limping from another marijuana-related legal battle. In late May, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the DEA to “act with adequate dispatch” and “promptly” make a decision in regards to rescheduling cannabis. The case centered on a suit filed by a group of medical cannabis patients and advocates against the Department of Justice claiming that the current scheduling status of marijuana “poses serious health risks and unfair economic disadvantages.”
The court's conclusion promised to “take whatever action may become appropriate” if the DEA fails to respond in a timely matter. We'll just have to wait and see what that means exactly.
Last week, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's office announced the creation of the Cannabis Legalization Working Group—made up of at least 19 lawmakers, law enforcement officials and medical marijuana professionals—with the stated task of studying legalization attempts in other states and forming policies around the resulting data. The group is led by Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.
Davis told the Albuquerque Journal that he expects to see the framework of a proposed legalization bill by November. The idea is to have a bill ready to go in time for the 2020 legislative session. The group is planning to hold its first meeting July 10 in Santa Fe. Lujan Grisham said she wants New Mexico's roll-out of legalization laws to be “the envy of the country.”
Well if that's the case, they better hurry up. Over 20 percent of the country has legalized recreational cannabis as of this writing, and if we keep putzing around, we'll be one of the last.
Here's the problem with that: Right now, cannabis is a draw for tourists like nobody's business. Regulated marijuana sales in Colorado in 2018 were were nearly $1.55 billion. Over the same period, the California marijuana market made $2.5 billion. And get this: The California market was actually in a slump, according to the state. People were complaining. Just imagine that.
The fact is there's nowhere to go but down at this point. The longer we wait to legalize, the less we'll make from tourists, because they'll have more options that are closer to home. It's really simple, and I'm starting to feel like a crazy person shouting into the darkness. Why do we continue to hem and haw about this?
I lurched into Urban Wellness (4601 Paradise Blvd. NW Ste. H) this week, cranky from the heat, and nabbed a gram of First 48 (THC: 20.2%, CBD: 0.01%—$12/gram). It smelled like funky, mid-day BO but tasted flowery and woody. The buds were fluffy and impressive.
I waded through the heat back to my apartment and hid in the easternmost corner while I packed a bowl. As the refrigerated air kicked on, I lit the pipe and wiped my forehead. Droplets had begun to form there.
This strain is characterized as an indica-dominant hybrid, but I found its sativa side to be most notable. While a slight sense of relaxation was apparent, it was far from a heady experience and didn't lock me to the couch. I felt wide awake, happy and stress-free. This flower will make you talkative and silly, so be wary of taking too much before entering a social situation. It's perfect for those suffering from depression.