Tag Archives: pot

Cannabis Legislation | The Line

Cannabis Bill

January 31, 2020 – Senate Bill 115, which would legalize recreational cannabis, passed its first committee along party lines at the Roundhouse on Tuesday. Most Democrats, including Gov. Lujan Grisham, favor making cannabis legal. But is this path the economic driver it once seemed to be?  Gene Grant and The Line opinion panelists debate the positives and pitfalls of this bill. (This segment is part of our #YourNMGov project, in collaboration with KUNM radio and the Santa Fe Reporter, and funded by the Thornburg Foundation and New Mexico Local News Fund) 

 Line Panelists: 

Merritt Allen, Vox Optima
Michael Barrio, executive director, Prosperity Works
Dan Foley, former state representative
Sophie Martin, attorney 

 For Further Reading/Watching:  

Senate Public Affairs Committee Hearing SB115  New Mexico Legislature 

New Mexico Legislature debates recreational pot legalization Associated Press 

Cannabis playing a major role at NM Legislature Albuquerque Journal 

Cannabis legalization bill passes first committee on party lines Santa Fe New Mexican 

Transcript: 

>>GENE GRANT: SENATE BILL 115 WOULD LEGALIZE THE SALE OF RECREATIONAL CANNABIS. IT PASSED ITS FIRST HURDLE TUESDAY. SENATORS VOTED 4-3 ALONG PARTY LINES, DEMOCRATS FOR AND REPUBLICANS AGAINST. IT PASSED AFTER HOURS OF PUBLIC COMMENT AND DEBATE. THOSE IN FAVOR CITE PUBLIC SUPPORT AND OPPORTUNITY FOR ECONOMIC BOON. THOSE AGAINST, BRING UP SAFETY AND HEALTH ISSUES, AMONG OTHER CONCERNS. WE WOULD BE ROUGHLY ONE OF DOZEN STATES WITH LEGALIZED RECREATIONAL CANNABIS BUT ONE OF, I BELIEVE, THREE STATES WITH — I AM NOT SURE — THIRD TO PASS IT BY STATUTE VERSUS, YOU KNOW, A PUBLIC VOTE.  INITIAL TAKE AWAY. I WANT TO ASK, FIRST OF ALL, FROM YOUR SENSE OF THIS INITIAL CONVERSATION ABOUT RECREATIONAL CANNABIS, HOW DID THAT COME OUT TO YOU? WHAT IS YOUR GUT FEELING.   

>>MERRITT ALLEN: I THINK THERE IS A FEELING THAT RECREATIONAL CANNABIS IS DE FACTO LEGAL. IF YOU HAVE A HANG NAIL AND A BOX TOP YOU CAN GET A PRESCRIPTION FOR CANNABIS. I WAS IN A BREW PUB THE OTHER DAY THAT IS NEXT TO A MEDICAL DISPENSARY AND I WAS GOING TO GET A BEER AND THE WEED WAS SO STRONG, LIKE, DANG, I AM GETTING A CONTACT HIGH FROM BEING NEXT TO THE DISPENSARY. THE BARTENDER IS, YEAH, WE GET THAT A LOT. IT IS HERE, BEING DONE, LAW ENFORCEMENT DOESN’T SEEM VERY UPSET ABOUT IT. SO, I THINK BY STATUTE, NOT BY GOING TO THE VOTER, I THINK WILL BE FINE. I THINK THERE ARE INCONSISTENCIES IN THIS PROJECT. I THINK THERE HASN’T BEEN A LOT OF OPENNESS — THE POLICY EXPERTS WHO HAVE COME IN TO MAKE THESE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THIS BILL HAVEN’T DONE A LOT OF LISTENING, BUT THEY HAVE DONE A LOT OF COMMENTS SO THAT IS WHY THERE IS A 132 PAGE BILL. WHAT I DON’T GET IS WHY WE HAVE A CANNABIS REGULATION ADVISORY COMMITTEE. WHY DON’T WE HAVE A CANNABIS REGULATION COMMITTEE. ADVISORY COMMITTEE THAT ALSO HAS TO HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE OF ORGANIZED LABOR. WHAT? THERE IS JUST SO MUCH EXTRA IN THE BILL I WOULD LIKE THE BILL TO SAY, WE WILL DECRIMINALIZE RECREATIONAL USE, JANUARY 21, 2021. WE WILL ALLOW GROWING TO BEGIN JANUARY 1, 2022. THESE REPORTS WILL HAPPEN AND SOME FILLER IN AND MAYBE IT COULD BE 30 PAGES. I THINK IT IS TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH. AND IN DOING SO MUCH, THEY HAVE MAJOR GAPS LIKE MEDICAL PROVIDERS AND THEN SENATOR STEINBORN COMMENTED YOU’RE STILL MAKING THIS A FOURTH DEGREE FELONY TO OWN THREE PLANTS, AS AN INDIVIDUAL. SO, WHAT IS IT? IS IT DECRIMINALIZED OR IS IT NOT?  

>>GRANT: EXACTLY RIGHT. MICHAEL, SAME QUESTION. IT WAS INTERESTING PUSHBACK FROM SOME OF THE RURAL LEGISLATORS. THEY HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT PARTICULARLY LIABILITY TO THE STATE WHEN IT COMES TO WORKMEN’S COMPENSATION. THAT WAS INTERESTING WHEN YOU LISTEN TO THE TESTIMONY FROM TUESDAY, THAT, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE IT STAYS IN YOUR SYSTEM FOR SO LONG, HOW DOES IT REALLY PROVE IF YOU HAVE AN ACCIDENT AT A WORK SITE. IS IT THE WEED’S FAULT? SOMETHING ELSE? YOU SEE WHAT I MEAN? IT IS TRICKY THING FOR THE STATE.   

>>MICHAEL BARRIO: IT IS A CONCERN AND IF WE ARE BEING HONEST, THE TECHNOLOGY SIMPLY DOESN’T EXIST TO ACCURATELY PINPOINT WHEN SOMEBODY HAS ACTUALLY SMOKED OR IMBIBED. BUT, YOU KNOW, THINKING ABOUT THE RURAL COMMUNITY AND THIS DEBATE AT ALL, A LOT OF IT SEEMS — IF I AM BEING HONEST, IT SEEMS SILLY TO ME. I FEEL LIKE THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST HAVING IT LEGAL, THEY ARE BASED ON ANTIQUATED IDEAS OF WHAT DRUGS ARE AND IN SOME WAYS I FEEL LIKE ARE WE HARKENING BACK TO THE MADNESS IN THE 50’S WHERE WE ARE WORKING OFF OLD INFORMATION. THE FACT THAT MARIJUANA IS STILL A SCHEDULE 1 DRUG OR WHATEVER, I MEAN, COME ON. SO, EVEN LOOKING AT PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT, OH, WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT MARIJUANA OVERDOSE AND THINGS LIKE THAT, WELL, YOU KNOW, THE DEFINITION OF MARIJUANA OVERDOSE IS BASICALLY PARANOIA, LOTS OF MOTOR FUNCTION ABILITIES.  

>>GRANT: EAT LOTS OF CUPCAKES.   

>>BARRIO: BASICALLY THE SAME THING. SO, YOU KNOW, I JUST FEEL LIKE WE HAVE TO WORK WITH INFORMATION THAT IS A LITTLE BIT BETTER AND THAT IS, YOU KNOW, UP TO SPEED IN TERMS OF –  

>>GRANT: YOU COULD SENSE FRUSTRATION FROM JACOB CANDELARIA LEADING THE CHARGE ON THIS, THAT HE IS HAVING TO CHOP THROUGH A LOT OF WEIRD ANECDOTAL STUFF THAT HAS BEEN TWISTED AROUND A LOT. A LOT OF NUMBERS THE FOLKS WHO WERE OPPOSED, HE GOT DIFFERENT NUMBERS THAT SAYS, NO, DUI’S DON’T GO UP AND ALL THE PEOPLE SAY IT DOES GO UP. IT WAS ODD TO WATCH HIM TRY TO GET THROUGH ALL OF THIS.   

>>SOPHIE MARTIN: IT WAS A FASCINATING HEARING TO WATCH AND I CAN RECOMMEND TO THE VIEWERS IT IS ONLINE. I THINK IT IS WORTH WATCHING IF THIS IS A SUBJECT YOU’RE INTERESTING IN. I THOUGHT IT WAS INTERESTING. ONE THING THAT REALLY STRUCK ME AS I WAS WATCHING THE DISCUSSION IS THAT IT FELT TO ME THAT WE WERE, FOR THE MOST PART, NOT NECESSARILY TRUE FOR INSTANCE OF THE ALBUQUERQUE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND SOME OF THE OTHER GROUPS THAT SPOKE AGAINST, BUT FOR THE MOST PART IT FELT TO ME THE LEGISLATORS HAD COME TO THE REALIZATION IT WAS LIKELY THAT IT WOULD HAPPEN AND STARTING TO TALK MORE ABOUT THE LOGISTICS. SO, FOR INSTANCE, THERE WAS A DISCUSSION ABOUT LICENSES FOR GROWERS, WOULD THEY BE MANAGED THE SAME WAY THAT LIQUOR LICENSES ARE MANAGED AND NOBODY SEEMS TO WANT THAT, I THINK FOR UNDERSTANDABLE REASONS. SO IT FEELS A LITTLE BIT MORE LIKE, YES, THERE ARE STILL SOME DISCUSSION ABOUT SHOULD THIS HAPPEN AT ALL, BUT NOW THERE IS MORE OF A PRACTICAL CONVERSATION WHICH IN MY MIND SUGGESTS THAT AS IT GOES FORWARD THE EXPECTATION IS THAT IT WILL PASS IN SOME FORM. SO WHAT CAN LEGISLATORS DO TO HAVE IT PASS IN THE FORM THEY THINK IS BEST.  

>>GRANT: DAN, WHEN YOU WATCH THE DEBATES, I THINK ALL BUT ONE OF THE CURRENT MEDICAL SUPPLIERS, MEDICAL CANNABIS SUPPLIERS, VOTED IN SUPPORT. ONLY ONE WAS OPPOSED AND THEN LATER ON IN THE DEBATE, IT WAS LIKE, WAIT, MEDICAL SUPPLIERS WILL HAVE A ONE-YEAR HEAD START ON SELLING RECREATIONAL OSTENSIBLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALREADY IN THE BUSINESS. IT BRINGS SOME BALANCE TO IT. GARY ORTIZ Y PINO HAD HEARTBURN ABOUT THAT AND HE THOUGHT MAYBE THERE WAS A LITTLE BIT OF AN UNFAIRNESS ISSUE HERE AS IT WORKS THROUGH THE PROCESS. WHO GETS TO DO IT? AND WHO GETS TO GET IN ON THE CASH COW EARLY IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE PROBLEMATIC.   

>>DAN FOLEY: THAT IS THE KEY BECAUSE IF YOU’RE NOT ONE OF THE FIRST GUYS IN, BY THE TIME THIS TAKES OFF, IT IS GOING TO WIND UP BEING LIKE, YOU KNOW, IF YOU WERE THE FIRST GUY IN ALBUQUERQUE WITH AN E CIGARETTE FRANCHISE, YOU MADE A TON OF MONEY. NOW EVERYBODY IS SELLING THEM ANYWHERE AND YOU CAN GET THEM AT GAS STATIONS. TIMING, BUSINESS-WISE IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT. I THINK THERE IS SOME ISSUES, THOUGH, THAT WE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT, I THINK, PEOPLE ARE KIND OF GLOSSING OVER. BEING IN THE INSURANCE BUSINESS, YOU KNOW, YOU DO HAVE THIS QUESTION ABOUT IMPAIRMENT. THEY ARE RIGHT THAT TODAY IF SOMEONE PULLS YOU OVER, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE AND I’LL REFER YOU TO, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED AND DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE. BOTH OF THEM HAVE PROBLEMS. YOU COULD GET IN TROUBLE WITH EITHER ONE. DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED, I AM ASSUMING MEANS YOU HAVE BEEN DRINKING. DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE MEANS YOU HAVE TAKEN SOMETHING OTHER THAN ALCOHOL. YOU CAN HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THAT. THAT TO ME, I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT. BY THE WAY, BACK WHEN I WAS IN THE LEGISLATURE I WAS A LEADING PROPONENT OF DECRIMINALIZATION. WE TALKED ABOUT THIS FOR MANY YEARS. I THINK OUR PRISONS ARE FULL OF NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENDERS AND THE ALTERNATIVE TO MANDATORY SENTENCING FOR NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENDERS IS SENDING VIOLENT CRIMINALS OUT THE BACK DOOR SO WE CAN PUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT COMMITTED A CRIME, OTHER THAN HAVING DRUGS, IN PRISON. IT’S A LUDICROUS AND ARCHAIC PHILOSOPHY. WHAT WE DO HAVE TO LOOK AT, MORE IMPORTANTLY, FROM THE BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE — I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT PEOPLE — TO MICHAEL’S POINT — REEFER MADNESS, PEOPLE DRIVING LIKE THE GUYS FROM, LIKE CHRIS FARLEY WAS WHEN THEY HAD — WHERE THEY WERE DRIVING THE POLICE CAR, DO YOU KNOW WHY I PULLED YOU OVER? WAS I SPEEDING? NO, YOU WERE GOING THREE MILES AN HOUR. THAT IS NOT HAPPENING. I AM NOT WORRIED ABOUT THAT. WHAT YOU ARE WORRIED ABOUT IS THE GUY THAT DRIVES A TRUCK, A FORK LIFT, A CONTRACTOR THAT DOES HAVE ACCIDENTS AT WORK AND WHEN YOU TEST THEM, YOU CAN’T TELL, DID THEY GET STONED LAST NIGHT? DID THEY SMOKE WEED THE NIGHT BEFORE, OVER THE WEEKEND? EVERYBODY BODY METABOLIZES IT DIFFERENTLY. YOU COULD SAY THE SAME THING ABOUT ALCOHOL WHEN IT FIRST CAME OUT BUT THEY CAME UP WITH A BREATHALYZER. I THINK WE ARE NOT FAR AWAY FROM COMING UP WITH THE ABILITY TO TEST THIS AND I KNOW THAT SANDIA IS WORKING ON THIS. TO ME THAT IS A HUGE QUESTION TO OVERCOME. THE RECREATIONAL SIDE OF IT, I DO THINK WE HAVE TO HAVE SOME SERIOUS CONVERSATIONS. YOU KNOW YOU TALKED TO PEOPLE IN COLORADO AND SOME OF THOSE FOLKS NOW HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT THE LONG-TERM RAMIFICATIONS ON THE STATE AND THE STATE BUDGET. SO, I HOPE THAT WE GO SLOW AND WE LOOK AT THIS AND SAY, LOOK, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL LOOKING AT THIS FOR ONE REASON, A WINDFALL OF MONEY. IF YOU’RE ABLE TO PUT MONEY AWAY AND SAY WE ARE GOING TO PUT MONEY AWAY TO DEAL POTENTIAL PROBLEMS LATER, THEN I THINK IT WOULD BE WORTH IT.  

>>GRANT: A MINUTE LEFT. THE POINT MADE BY TERRI COLE, FROM THE GREATER CHAMBER, THERE ARE LOTS OF FEDERAL PLACES AND OTHER PLACES THAT HAVE A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY. HOW DO YOU WE GET AROUND THAT?   

>>FOLEY: YOU DON’T.  

>>MERRITT: I HAVE TO HOLD A FEDERAL SECURITY CLEARANCE. I CAN’T HOLD IT AND BE AN ACTIVE MARIJUANA USER. SO, GUESS WHAT, I AM NOT GOING TO USE IT. THAT IS THE SITUATION. I THINK THAT IS VERY SIMPLE CUT AND DRIED. THE BIGGEST ISSUE FOR NEW MEXICO IS WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE BIG BOOM AND THE RACE IS KIND OF ALREADY — THE BUBBLE HAS ALREADY KIND OF GONE DOWN. COLORADO, CALIFORNIA GOT THAT. WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE PART OF THAT AND WHAT WILL ALSO LIMIT YOU ALSO IS OUR WATER.   

>>GRANT: BIG POINT OF CONTENTION. THAT IS IT FOR US ON THAT TOPIC. WE’LL REVISIT THAT FOR SURE. GWYNETH DOLAND TAKES US TO THE LEGISLATURE NEXT AND IT’S ON TO OUR FINAL LINE TOPIC, WAGE THEFT.   

The Line: Medical and Recreational Cannabis in New Mexico

Line Marijuana Programs

July 19, 2019 – Marijuana is being considered on two fronts, with the public currently weighing in on proposed changes to the medical cannabis program, while Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has assigned a task force to explore a path to legalizing recreational marijuana. Gene Grant and the Line look at issue.

Line Panelists:
Michael Bird, public health consultant
Jeffrey Candelaria, Konnection Now & host on KKOB
Inez Russell Gomez, Santa Fe New Mexican
Mary T. Torres, attorney

For Further Reading:

Soundoff On Cannabis RulesSanta Fe Reporter

How Colorado’s marijuana legalization strengthened the drug’s black marketPBS NewsHour

Medical Cannabis Costs Rise, Patient Pools Shrink With Full Legalization in California and Other StatesCannabis News Journal