Alibi V.29 No.5 • Jan 30-Feb 5, 2020 

Baked Goods

Education Delivered

UNM program educates public on cannabis

Baked Goods logo (with correct glasses!)

The University of New Mexico's psychology department has played a pretty huge role in recent years in providing legitimate scientific study of the effects of cannabis on both patients and the culture at large. It's been the source of studies on cannabis' effectiveness as a pain reliever, the therapeutic benefits of THC and—more recently—the relationship between access to cannabis and reduced sales of over-the-counter sleep aids.

Now, the university is backing an effort to bring marijuana education to the public through a website and YouTube channel under the name “Cannabis Connection University.” UNM Associate Professor of Psychology Jacob Vigil—a local hero for his involvement in cannabis research—is headlining the channel with help from his graduate and undergraduate students. The content will include lectures, interviews and instructional videos.

“I'm willing to carry the burden that our government has failed to provide thus far in general education and guidance,” Vigil told me. “I think that there is still a strong need out there for folks to have confirmation about what they feel is intuitive and what they've heard about the relief and cost benefits of [cannabis] compared to other medications, and they need somebody with the right credentials to confirm those intuitions.”

Vigil says that most of the online lectures will be education-based—Vigil and his students presenting cannabis research and topics tailored to the layman. He says the subjects will delve “under the hood” and go beyond the average internet content regarding the subject. (I'm guessing that means no killer bong reviews.)

But Vigil says the lectures and interviews will cover some cultural issues, too. “I spoke with a spiritual leader recently,” he said. “He was telling me some amazing stuff—some new perspectives I've never heard regarding cannabis and its ability to sensitize people to their spirituality.” Local politics and state legislation will also be regularly visited topics.

“We would like to approach this by being straight with folks—cautious, but also transparent,” Vigil told me. “We're willing to highlight some of the fallacies and limitations and inadequacies in this game of science.”

The team has already released a number of videos in the scant weeks that they've been operating, and Vigil says there's much more content on the way with improved production values and even more niche information.

Psilocybin Trademarked

Last week, a California-based candy company announced that it had trademarked the word “psilocybin,” the psychoactive compound found in psychedelic mushrooms.

Psilocybin️ ™ chocolate's website says the brand was created to “begin educating, enlightening and supporting the community in upgrading their inner vibrations in order to get everything they want of their time here on earth”—whatever that means. What's most notable about the gourmet chocolate line is that it doesn't appear to involve the chemical psilocybin at all—even though it's described as “medicinal” on the website.

This has some mushroom advocates concerned about the legal implications. The question of how trademarking the scientific name of a natural compound would affect companies and nonprofits involved in mushroom research and advocacy was immediately raised after Psilocybin™️ founder Scarlet Ravin made the announcement.

It seems that there won't really be any issue, though. The brand may have received a trademark from the US Patent and Trademark Office, but it's only listed on the supplemental register for educational purposes. The company would have to prove that it's earned distinctiveness if the issue ever went to court—so it probably won't.

Meanwhile, Ravin seems to have doubled down amid criticism and says her brand is meant to educate the normies about the healing powers of mushrooms (which—once again—are not used in the making of these chocolates). “Our messages are downloads from universal guidance,” says Psilocybin™️ chocolate's website, “and here to impart to you what’s next and on the frontier of our evolutionary awakening we are all experiencing together.[sic]”

So far, no one has called Ravin a visionary. I've seen her called other names, though.

Mexico to Legalize

Mexican lawmakers are looking to legalize recreational cannabis in April. Since Canada already legalized marijuana, the US will start looking like a soggy mess in the middle of a weed sandwich.

Last year, the Mexico Supreme Court gave lawmakers an October deadline to submit a cannabis legalization bill. The Senate received 13 proposals, but a bill was never finalized before the deadline. The Supreme Court granted an extension with a new deadline of April 30, however, and lawmakers are reportedly on track to have it ready in time.

According to Marijuana Moment, the amended bill, which was jointly submitted by the Justice and Health Committees, would legalize the possession of up to 28 grams (one ounce) of cannabis for personal use and would allow individuals to cultivate up to six plants.

The new bill would also establish the Mexican Cannabis Institute, a regulatory body that would be responsible for licensing cannabis cultivation, retail distribution, exports and imports, marketing and research.

Lawmakers say there's still a chance that the bill will not be passed as written.

In 2018, the Mexico Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to penalize the personal use of cannabis, forcing the government to reform its cannabis laws.

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