Alibi V.28 No.42 • Oct 17-23, 2019 

News on the Green

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Work study

As reported by Marijuana Moment, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s Marijuana Legislation Work Group presented its findings Wednesday in an exhaustive 16-page executive summary. In brief, the summary recommends: ensuring that clear labels accompany all cannabis products for accurate dosing and maintenance of high product testing standards; prohibiting product advertisements featuring children, cartoons or anything else enticing to youth; prohibiting jurisdictions from opting out of the cannabis business while allowing imposition of regulations like operating hours and zoning restrictions; using tax revenue to fund the training of law enforcement to ID drug-impaired driving; setting funds aside to offer capital to communities and businesses interested in launching cannabis companies and to “support housing, job training and education programs statewide”; setting low micro-business license fees for family farms; studying industry demographics to ensure equity; setting a tax rate no higher than 20 percent; and imposing penalties for cannabis sales to minors and vehicular consumption. Interested parties can read the entire summary here. In work group chairman Pat Davis’ accompanying letter to the governor, he notes, “Together, we believe the framework we are submitting is right for New Mexico. It is clear that we have both the necessary apprehension that goes with this venture, as well as the talent and capital to make this happen the right way.”

Test anxiety

The New York Times reports that a common drug test failed to distinguish individual consumption of cannabidiol (CBD) from consumption of psychoactive tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). In summary, a follicular, lab-based drug test of a 2-year-old boy—living in shared custody with his separated parents—tested positive for THC. Colorado resident and father Mark Pennington recalls the shock of these drug test results: “I was mortified. My jaw hit the floor. I just knew from the bottom of my heart I hadn’t gotten any THC in my son’s system.” Mystified by his toddler’s positive drug test results and the reduction of his shared custody to weekly supervised visits, Pennington sought answers. And he found them after meeting with Frank Conrad, a scientific consultant for the cannabis industry. Conrad alerted Pennington to an obscure study published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology in 2012; that study revealed that a common forensic drug testing method can easily mistake the presence of CBD for that of THC. That drug testing method involves a common chemical analysis device, a gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) machine. Most of these devices require that the lab perform a process called derivatization by adding a chemical agent, commonly trifluoroacetic anhydride, to samples to ID trace amounts of illicit compounds. With Conrad’s testimony as an expert witness, Pennington retained custody of his son, but this drug testing issue will undoubtedly impact other individuals throughout the country.

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