Alibi V.28 No.31 • Aug 1-7, 2019 

Baked Goods

Here Comes the Judge

Court asked to rule on non-resident cannabis cards

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Rob M.

Back in June, Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez bought ad space on three radio stations in southeast New Mexico, claiming Texans (and other non-residents) were eligible to apply for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. He said that language in a new law that expanded the state's medical cannabis program defined a patient as a “person” instead of a “resident of New Mexico.”

At the time, I received an email from David Morgan at the New Mexico Department of Health who explained that the word change was made “only because earlier drafts of the bill contemplated that reciprocal participants from out of state would be identified as 'qualified patients.'” This was later corrected by the creation of a separate designation: “reciprocal participant.” It's the DOH's position that the word change did not indicate any intention on the Legislature's part to open enrollment up to non-residents. Rather, it was intended to allow patients enrolled in their own state's medical programs to participate in ours.

But Rodriguez—a resident of Arizona—apparently didn't buy it. According to NM Political Report, he and two Texans have asked a state district judge to force the DOH's hand and enroll them in the program. They said allowing non-residents into the program would be a boon for those who spend extended periods of time in our state, but don't technically count as residents.

The three petitioners reportedly have doctors' recommendations and have taken the proper steps to apply for the program, but the DOH put the applications on hold until they can produce a New Mexico ID or driver's license and proof of residency.

“As of the date of this filing, the Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program has refused to issue registry identification cards to eligible qualified patients, and in so doing it has failed to perform a ministerial non-discretionary duty,” the court filing reads.

We'll be keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

Hearing on Cannabis Banking Highlights Problems

Last week the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs hosted a hearing titled “Challenges for Cannabis and Banking: Outside Perspectives.” Advocates and cannabis industry leaders spoke about the problems they've encountered trying to run a business without access to basic banking services.

Thanks to the federal ban on cannabis, banks' hands are tied when it comes to doing business with dispensaries and producers. If a bank gets caught knowingly working with a “criminal enterprise” (that's how the feds view marijuana businesses), it can face legal ramifications. And they want the business. They're drooling for it. There's so much money running through the cannabis industry right now that a smart financier could make a killing just standing next to it.

In March, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act was introduced. If made into law, it would prevent federal banking regulators from sanctioning banks that choose to work with cannabis businesses that are operating legally within their state. The bill passed through the House's Financial Services Committee in March, but it hasn't budged since.

The hearing last week was meant to convince members of the GOP-controlled Senate to take up the bill, but most of the committee's Republican members were conspicuously absent, making some of us worry about its future.

But Sen. Cory Gardner, of Colorado, is less nervous than I am. He told reporters that he believed there is enough support in the Senate to see the bill passed. “I think it would have a majority of Republicans voting for it as well,” he said. It currently has 206 cosponsors.

CBD Could Treat Meth, Cocaine Addiction

Researchers at the University of Valencia and University of Zaragoza in Spain published a paper in the journal Molecules last month that says CBD could be used to treat stimulant addiction. The authors looked at the slim amount of data relating to CBD's effects on substance use disorders—particularly those relating to the use of cocaine and methamphetamine.

“Observational studies suggest that CBD may reduce problems related with crack-cocaine addiction, such as withdrawal symptoms, craving, impulsivity and paranoia,” the paper claims. The studies it refers to all used rodent subjects.

The paper also explores possible underlying mechanisms that could cause such an effect. One possibility is that CBD attenuates memories associated with drug use, making relapse seem less attractive. Another is that CBD might block neuroadaptations associated with the use of stimulants, spoiling the effects of the drugs.

The researchers concluded by stating that more research needs to be done to fully evaluate the effects of CBD.

Strain Corner

This week, we popped into Natural Rx (8612 Paseo Alameda NE Ste. E) for a spot of Banana Punch (THC: 25%, CBD: 0.18%—$11/gram). This pungent indica-dominant hybrid smelled bright, sweet and coppery. It tasted like fruity candy and went down smoothly.

The body high of this strain cannot be overstated. It came on within the first few hits as a pleasant buzzing along the spine that spread to the extremities over the next 20 minutes. It was relaxing, but not too sleepy or heady. This strain does a great job at relieving pain and tension.

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