The Roundhouse is a frenzied mess of tangled agendas, drawn out hearings, quick amendments and other mysteries that will all come to an end on Thursday at noon. But it's Leaf Brief day, so we're here to unpack the latest news on cannabis legislation, including another wrinkle in whether out-of-state residents will be issued New Mexico cards much longer. Plus, catch up on the cannabis news around the web with a focus on more stats than you can shake a stick at.
SFR’s Cannabis News
Crossing the Cannabis Line
Lawmakers cruise toward ditching out-of-state patients, namely Texans
Lawmakers Won't Give Up on Cannabis Law
Sponsors, economist say financial boon to NM is hard to ignore, forecast for 2021 legalization
Bill would reduce risk for tribal patients
Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo, has introduced a bill, SB 271, that would protect medical cannabis patients on tribal land from federal interference.
The problem for patients on tribal land is that because those lands are held in federal trust, they fall under the national ban on cannabis. Tribal patients are allowed to possess cannabis under New Mexico laws, but when they return to tribal lands, they can still face federal prosecution. The bill attempts to add some protections for them. SB 271 passed in the Senate on a 24-16 vote on Feb. 14 and is currently waiting to be put on the House calendar.
House legislator recuses self from cannabis bills
Democratic House Speaker Brian Egolf of Santa Fe has recused himself from a bill regarding cannabis patients and state residency rules.
Egolf, an attorney, also represents Ultra Health, the state's largest medical marijuana company, in his private practice, and he recused himself because of the conflict of interest. The company is also the advertising sponsor of Leaf Brief.
Ultra Health is in a dispute with the state Health Department over residency requirements.
Poll shows New Mexicans favor legal cannabis
A new poll by the Albuquerque Journal found that 61% of adults living in New Mexico approve of recreational cannabis legalization.
Of the remaining 39%, 33% said they oppose legalization and the rest were uncertain or failed to respond.
Age and political affiliation seem to be the two biggest factors in determining attitudes about cannabis. In the poll, 73% of those ages 18-49 approved of legalization, while only 46% of those over age 50 did. Democrats and Independents also favored legalization by 73% and 63% respectively, while Republicans were 36% in favor and 55% opposed.
Around the Web
More young people use cannabis regularly
Reported cannabis use in the United States has remained at a steady 12% or so for the past four years, but a national survey by Gallup shows that more young people ages 18-29 are consuming cannabis.
In the survey, about 22% of those ages 18-29 said they regularly consumed cannabis. That's compared to 11% of those ages 30-49, 12% of those ages 50-64 and 3% of people age 65 and older.
Businesses looking to focus on cannabis products are interested in the statistics as a way to grow their offerings. Younger users are also more likely to favor edibles, vapes and infused beverages than older consumers.
Legalization drives warehouse space demand
Demand for warehouse space to both store and grow cannabis has been increasing dramatically in recreational cannabis states, according to a study by the National Associate of Realtors.
In the past two years, demand has increased in 42% of markets where cannabis has been legal for more than three years—Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska.
Demand increased 34% in states that legalized after 2016, and demand in states without recreational legalization increased by 18%.
Colorado cannabis finds advertising work-around
Cannabis companies in Colorado have found a creative work-around to state bans on advertising and billboards.
The companies found a loophole that lets them sponsor state highways and put their logos on the road signs. So far, 51 dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers and edible producers have sponsored highways across the state, according to the Adopt a Highway Maintenance Corporation.
Cannabis companies still make up less than half of all organizations that participate in the Clean Colorado road program. But collectively, cannabis companies are covering about 198 miles, or 66%, of the roads that are actively sponsored.