In September, New Mexico formally doubled-down on a strict interpretation of which medical conditions merit a cannabis card, perhaps for the last time under Governor Susana Martinez. Meanwhile, Nevada brought in $70 million in tax revenue from marijuana sales over the last year, the feds are scouring Colorado for illegal grows, and California pot is failing lab tests at a high rate. Read on for some of the best in Western cannabis news from the last month.
An aspirin a day (don’t do it)
A massive study conducted over five years found that the common wisdom extolling an aspirin a day for elderly people is untrue. Like aspirin, cannabis is often touted as a cure-all for a number of ailments, particularly because of its anti-inflammatory properties. A pair of articles in Project CBD examines existing literature that suggests cannabis could be a healthier alternative to aspirin if taken in moderation.
UNM researchers track cannabis relief IRL
Using the Releaf App, UNM researchers determined the precise moments when cannabis patients used the plant to treat a range of ailments, including insomnia, depression, chronic pain and over a dozen others. The study was innovative because it allowed patients to track their symptom relief in real time. Said UNM researcher Jacob Miguel Vigil, "By collecting massive amounts of patient-entered information on actual cannabis used under real-life circumstances we are able to measure why patients consume cannabis, the types of products that patients use, and the immediate and longer-term effects of such use."
New Mexico: No cannabis for opioid abuse
In this state's latest affront to a growing body of research indicating cannabis might stem opioid abuse, Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher turned down the condition as one meriting a cannabis card, despite an endorsement from the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. The New Mexican reports that she also rejected muscular dystrophy, Tourette's syndrome, eczema and psoriasis as qualifying conditions, but added sleep apnea. In May, New Mexico Political Report obtained documents indicating the Department of Health continues to insist that research on cannabis and opioids is poor, and even keeps studies on hand showing cannabis might exacerbate opioid addiction. We wouldn't be surprised if the DOH also kept this article from The Atlantic on hand.
Big things in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado
Unexpectedly, one of the largest cannabis companies in the country (and with ambitions to be the largest) is in Arizona, a state that doesn't exactly have the most lax medical cannabis laws. There, a dispensary license allows the holder to open one nonprofit dispensary, but Harvest contracts with license holders to operate multiple dispensaries under a single brand, including in other states. Sound familiar? Over in Nevada, dispensaries made half a billion dollars in revenue over the last year, resulting in almost $70 million in taxes collected from recreational sales. Finally, the feds seem to be on some sort of anti-pot offensive in Colorado.
Lots of California cannabis failing safety tests
In the state with the largest recreational cannabis market, almost a quarter of cannabis products failed tests for purity and potency in a recent review by the AP. Edibles and tinctures were particularly likely to fail. A smaller number of the failures registered because of unacceptable levels of contaminants like solvents and bacteria, according to state data. Some, however, say that the testing standards are too strict. The push-and-pull is part of an emerging industry's setting of quality standards, the Denver Post reports.
Around the Web
How federal housing excludes the poor from legal pot
Cannabis is illegal under federal law, and federal law takes precedence over any local and state policies outlining cannabis use. The people who live in federal housing are often poor, disabled, and not white. For Rolling Stone, Amanda Chicago Lewis looks at how federal housing policy screws people in public housing even when they've qualified to use cannabis under state and local law.
Coca-Cola, that classic barometer of American soft power, may reportedly introduce CBD-infused drinks in the near future. You knew this day would come. It goes without saying that any health benefits of CBD in the drink are probably outweighed by the basic unhealthy ingredients of the syrupy soda, according to SFR's extensive lab analysis. Speaking of symbols of capitalism, cannabis stocks traded on Wall Street are inflating to their highest values ever. The publicly traded company Tilray, whose investors include a Peter Thiel-backed private equity firm, has had a particularly zany trajectory.
Medical cannabis research bill gains support
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation for federally-sanctioned research into the potential medical benefits of cannabis. The Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018, introduced by a Republican from Florida, would increase the number of research cannabis manufacturers from one to three. It would also create a pathway for state-approved cannabis cultivators to grow for research purposes, and allow medical professionals working in the Department of Veterans' Affairs to discuss cannabis with patients. Meanwhile, it appears the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2018 is poised to pass in Congress, with big implications nationwide.