SFR’s Cannabis Reporting

Legislators: Adult-use cannabis bill coming in days
From 1/17/19, Rep. Javier Martínez and Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino told us they plan to introduce two separate bills legalizing cannabis use, possession, and purchase for adults 21 and over.

State bill would remove tax on medical cannabis
From 12/27/18, the pre-filed legislation by an outgoing state senator proposes treating medical cannabis like other prescription drugs.

Health News

Battling the return of Reefer Madness

If you follow cannabis news, you might have seen some startling, reefer madness-promoting headlines in recent weeks in major publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times (which was reprinted by The Santa Fe New Mexican), the Wall Street Journal and Mother Jones.

Almost all of them were authored by Alex Berenson, an anti-cannabis writer whose publicist has done some seriously impressive work smuggling his retrograde views into high-brow magazines and newspapers. It turns out, though, that some of Berenson's central claims were refuted by a scientist whose paper Berenson used to claim a serious link between mental illness and cannabis.

And as others have shown, Berenson's analysis relies on weak data to turn correlation into causation, filling the gaps with the kind of hysteria that surrounded cannabis prohibition a century ago. Although now, because Berenson's views fall outside the growing mainstream consensus that cannabis is generally safe for human consumption, he can present himself as a maverick-type figure martyred for telling the truth about weed. But if you know anything about the xenophobic roots of outlawing weed, you'll realize that the entire conflict is a false one, rooted in the bad faith policy goals of early 20th century racists and perpetuated by drug warriors no less racist in later years.

The way Berenson, a former New York Times reporter, was able to spread his message across the country's most venerable rags speaks to how the media will sometimes leap toward anybody willing to satisfy an ideological desire for "balanced" viewpoints (even, as in this case, printing arguments that are unsubstantiated by facts but whose author enjoys an impressive reputation). Even if it means uplifting a prohibitionist who makes basic reporting errors. If we had to include anything here that toes a fine line between Berenson's reefer madness and legitimate concerns about promoting pot use, it would be this round table in the Marshall Project that suggests stronger strains of cannabis common today might have slightly different effects on the body and mind than the pot your parents smoked decades ago. But, again, the question itself is based on a rotten premise, so read carefully.