A familiar face has returned to the presidential contest—and perhaps injected some life into it—with Joe Biden's selection of US Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. In case you missed it, this might be good news for the nation on the cannabis front.
Harris is among backers of a bill that proposes to deschedule marijuana as a federally controlled substance and make restorative steps for those caught in the Drug War. Pundits say she's likely to draw Biden away from a conservative stance on the topic and toward an embrace of full legalization. But, beware: the former prosecutor has not been consistent on cannabis policy in her career.
Speaking of not knowing what's next, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appears to be rallying her supporters for marijuana reform. Her campaign folks sent out an email survey about the plant that included the big question about whether the state should legalize rec use. It also sought campaign contributions and asked things like, "How important is it to you that we do everything we can to boost the economies of local communities in New Mexico?"
Read on for more cannabis news this month from New Mexico, the region and the rest of the country.
New Mexico News
More plaintiffs sue over medical program rules
Scepter Lab, one of two testing laboratories in the state, and medical cannabis manufacturers Vitality Extracts have filed a lawsuit that argues New Mexico’s newest rules for testing are improper. Jason Marks, who represents the businesses, said the department’s new testing standards are not based on actual data or research, but use language borrowed from other states—particularly states with less arid climates than New Mexico. Ultra Health and other nonprofit medical cannabis providers sued the state over the same rules in a separate action.
MCP at a glance
The state’s Medical Cannabis Program offices in Santa Fe remain closed to the public for walk-in services until further notice. Staff continue to work and process applications through a secure application drop-box in the lobby. The number of patients in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program as of the end of July is 96,295, with 8,005 who hold personal production licenses.
Around the Nation
Legal next door?
Arizona residents are set to vote in November (again) on a proposal that would legalize adult use there. The battle in the Grand Canyon State is already raging. Now a group that’s rich with propaganda and fear mongering is trying to knock the measure off the ballot. Check out this analysis by Forbes about why “legitimate conversation” is likely doomed.
But a vapor
Remember the vape crisis? Though it pales in comparison to the public health ailments that followed, doctors eventually linked lung disease to shady cartridges. In Massachusetts, a months-long ban on the sale of cartridges led to the quarantine of those suspected to contain lead. Rather than test them all, distributors from Temescal Wellness say they’re destroying $2.6 million worth of the product.
Tipping the scales in Colorado (again)
Recreational marijuana sales continue to break records in Colorado. A few days ago, the state reported its June rec receipts of $160 million represented the highest single month of sales in history. The 6% increase over May replaced that month as the top-selling period ever for our neighbors to the north. Add in medical sales and the figure jumps to $200 million in June—during which the dispensary cash registers generated $33.62 million in taxes and fees. Analysts say the growth is driven by easy access to products and increasing acceptance of marijuana uses, among other factors.