High weirdness continues to be the rule this year for marijuana in New Mexico. Recent events have led me to be fully convinced that we're all just poorly coded characters in a rushed-to-market Grand Theft Auto clone. The script is terrible, and the graphics are trash.
For reasons nobody can fathom, Ultra Health CEO and Arizona resident Duke Rodriguez and two Texans are butting heads with the state over their lack of access to our Medical Cannabis Program. They asked a state district judge to force the DOH to allow out-of-state patients after a wording change in the recent cannabis program expansion law defining a patient as a “person” instead of a “resident of New Mexico.”
New Mexico Department of Health representative David Morgan alerted me to the fact that a number of media outlets (including our own) incorrectly reported that Judge Bryan Biedscheid ordered the agency to open the marijuana program up to non-residents.
According to the DOH: “The Alternative Writ of Mandamus, which was signed by Judge Bryan Biedscheid on August 5th (and which proposes to compel NMDOH to issue medical cannabis cards to out-of-state residents) is not a final decision of the Court.” The agency still has time to respond with an Answer to the Alternative Writ and explain why the program should remain closed to non-resident applicants. According to the statement, the DOH “maintains that it is not required by law to enroll non-New Mexico residents as qualified patients in the NMDOH Medical Cannabis Program and anticipates filing its Answer.”
According to NM Political Report, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham joined in on the fun this week. Lujan Grisham requested and was granted the right to intervene in the case on behalf of the state. The governor's lawyers said her office was better suited to address the case than the DOH and the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. Apparently opening up the program to out-of-staters could pose a threat to public safety, presumably by encouraging the transportation of an illegal substance across state lines. Rodriguez reportedly did not attempt to challenge Lujan Grisham's intervention.
I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this next week, because we live in Crazy Land now, and this is how things are.
The governor's Working Group On Cannabis Legalization has really been making the rounds, kissing metaphorical babies and getting things done. KOAT spotted the dreamy movers and shakers as they toured five dispensaries last week to learn about the industry and see it in action.
A cannabis legalization bill that almost made it was abandoned by the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year. But Lujan Grisham has been making the motions toward legalization in 2020. The task force is probably the most public tip of the hat that the governor's given. They met for the second time last week to discuss policies for regulating a recreational cannabis market. Of high concern was its effects on the state's medical industry. (As I've pointed out before, industry pressures are likely what kept us from seeing the legalization bill pass.)
According to the Associated Press, New Mexico Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel said that medical marijuana programs in states that have legalized recreational cannabis have been negatively impacted. Kunkel told the group to consider keeping the medical and recreational industries separate.
When it comes to job creation, analyst Kelly O’Donnell told the group that recreational cannabis would create around 11,000 positions. That was compared with the 121,000 current jobs in health care or 97,000 in retail.
State Rep. Javier Martinez told reporters that the debate over whether recreational dispensaries should be run by the state will have to be addressed at a future meeting. (It's also a good possibility that the legalization bill failed because it only allowed for state-run shops, which many considered a terrible deal.)
The group is scheduled to hold another meeting on Aug. 28.
As the hideous reality of global warming settled into the creases of my sweaty skin, I loaded up a bowl of Larry OG (THC: 24.2%, CBD: 0.08%—$11/gram) from Southwest Organic Producers (3504 Montgomery Blvd. NE) and tried to forget the awful heat.
This hybrid tastes swampy and sweet. It smells like the woods. While the indica side of Larry was most noticeable—the first hit tickled my spine with pleasurable shivers—I was surprised to find myself mentally active and even humming. My mind was clear and racing, but my body was relaxed, and my limbs felt like jelly. I was struck with a voracious appetite that led to an overindulgence in grapes. I felt like a Roman Emperor.
Unlike most indica-dominant strains, this one didn't make me sleepy at all. If you're looking for a sedative strain, move on, dear reader. It's clearly a great strain for relieving pain and tension, though. And it's amazing at improving mood.