Alibi V.29 No.2 • Jan 9-15, 2020 

Baked Goods

Start Your Engines

Legalization bill to be pre-filed

Baked Goods presented by Ultra Health

Legalization is so close I can taste it, dear reader—it's sweet, despite the notes of aged frustration. As we pointed out recently, nearly three-quarters of New Mexicans are in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis in their own communities, and it finally looks like they'll have a chance of seeing their dreams come true. Last week, state Rep. Javier Martinez, of Albuquerque, told reporters that he plans to pre-file a bill to legalize recreational marijuana for adult users over 21.

According to KRQE, Martinez, a member of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's cannabis working group, plans to follow recommendations laid out by the group earlier this year. Those recommendations include regulating a private marijuana market in a similar manner to the already existing alcohol market, requiring clear labeling on cannabis-infused products, investing in law enforcement programs, barring communities from opting out of legal cannabis sales, creating social equity programs, maintaining a “robust” medical program and allowing counties and municipalities to enact their own zoning and licensing regulations.

Martinez said sales tax would be eliminated on all medical cannabis products to protect the program. He also said subsidies would be created for low-income patients. Considering that the only people who seem to be against legalizing marijuana in New Mexico are medical cannabis lobby groups, it might be the surest method of getting the bill passed.

This year's legislative session begins Jan. 21.

New Coke?

Coca-Cola has once again denied rumors that it plans to produce a CBD-infused soft drink after a viral video stirred the public's imagination.

The rumors started after a YouTuber called Gabor the Blind Guy posted a since-deleted video featuring what he claimed was a prototype child-proof can of Coca-Cola designed for a future CBD-infused product. In the video, Gabor said the can he's testing contains regular Coca-Cola but is outfitted with a special plastic cap to prevent children from opening it.

“My dad is a head engineer for a company that produces bottling and capping machines for many major pharmaceutical and food companies,” Gabor said in the clip. “Recently, he was approached by Coca-Cola in Canada to design and build a machine that puts a child-proof cap on cans of Coca-Cola … In Canada, Coca-Cola is coming out with a new line of Coca-Cola that contains CBD extracts.”

In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, Coca-Cola said, “These rumors are untrue. As we have stated many times, we have no plans to enter the CBD market.” Of course, it doesn't help that in 2018, the company told reporters it was eyeballing the CBD drink market.

Playing Hardball

Last month, Major League Baseball made the startling announcement that it was removing marijuana from the list of “drugs of abuse.” That means players will finally be able to benefit from using medicinal cannabis and CBD without fear of losing their jobs.

According to a statement from MLB and the players union, removing the ban on cannabis is only one of the major changes made to the organization's drug policy. As of spring training, players will now be tested for opioids, fentanyl, cocaine and synthetic THC along with the other “drugs of abuse.” Under the new policy, players will also be required to attend educational programs on “the dangers of opioid pain medication and practical approaches to marijuana.”

According to CNN, players who test positive for one of the “drugs of abuse” will be prescribed a treatment plan by a treatment board of medical professionals. Those who refuse an evaluation or don't cooperate with the treatment board will be subject to discipline. MLB said “marijuana-related conduct” will be treated in the same manner as “alcohol-related conduct.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters that the oxycodone-related death of 27-year-old Los Angeles Angels' pitcher Tyler Skaggs in July was a motivating factor in the policy change.

While taking part in a radio interview on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Texas, Jerry Jones, owner of football team the Dallas Cowboys, said he expects the National Football League (NFL) to adjust its drug policy in a similar fashion following the MLB move.

Change of Heart

New research has found that regular cannabis use can cause dangerous changes in the structure of the heart.

A study published last month in the journal JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, “Association Between Recreational Cannabis Use and Cardiac Structure and Function,” found that frequent marijuana users in the United Kingdom had larger left ventricles and showed early signs of impaired heart function when compared to those who only rarely used cannabis or never used at all. The participants were evaluated with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, which captured detailed images of their hearts.

The authors conceded that there were problems with the paper, including a mostly white study population, the use of self-reported marijuana consumption data and the small sampling of regular cannabis users. Only 47 of the 3,407 study participants reported regularly using cannabis. Lead author and Queen Mary University of London researcher Mohammed Khanji also noted that the study was based on early findings and the changes that were detected were subtle. He says the need for further study has been highlighted, however.

“We urgently need systematic research to identify the long-term implications of regular consumption of cannabis on the heart and blood vessels,” Khanji says. “This would allow health professionals and policymakers to improve advice to patients and the wider public.”

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