Leaf Brief

Leaf Brief: March

Cannabis’ Saving Grace

Leaf Brief header

Someone I love recently received some depressing health related news. So, clearly, I needed a project to prevent me from doom scrolling on the internet all day. The sun was out, it was finally T-shirt weather—at least for the time being—so I decided to “landscape” my yard.

I figured now was as good a time as any to give the cannabis cocktail I bought at Mad Reefer (8 Railyard Lane, Madrid, NM) a try. The fast acting

Verdes Green beverage is an eight ounce Arnold Palmer, spiked with 100mg THC and 100mg CBD. I took the recommended capful dose, which equates to 6.25mg.

In no time I was covered in dirt, digging large rocks out of the ground. After raking the dirt around for a while, and filling in the holes, I deemed the space “level.” Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass” filled my ears as I hauled small slabs of stone around, sweating profusely. I laid the pieces loosely around the dirt, filling in the gaps with smaller rocks.

I couldn’t tell you how long I spent sifting through dirt, twigs, leaves and rocks. My rock selection had become so methodical you would have thought I was selecting stones to construct the Mont Saint-Michel, instead of my baby-sized front yard.

When I was done, rocking in my chair over the new, somewhat level patio, I looked around. Incredible, I thought. I had not only constructed a halfway decent looking patio, but it had been hours since I had thought about the reason I needed this project in the first place. But really, isn’t that the power of cannabis? It can enable you to escape your own mind, however fleeting, pressing pause on the chaos for a while.

Before (Heidi Fillingim)
After (Heidi Fillingim)

Now, on to Cannabis News

New Mexico Startup to Expand into New York City Market

The name Priscotty may sound familiar. SFR previously reported on the company’s delivery service expansion into Santa Fe after establishing itself in Albuquerque in late 2022.

CEO Scott Prisco told the Leaf that the company will be applying for a license in New York City this month, which also marks the one-year anniversary of legalization in New York state. Due to the slow rollout of recreational cannabis in the state, the process thus far has been slow.

Priscotty will launch in Chelsea, Manhattan with Verdi Cannabis. Prisco says he’s excited about the collaboration. Unlike New Mexico, where Prisco was able to apply and obtain a carrier license, in New York, Priscotty will work under the dispensary’s license. Cannabis will continue to be delivered in unmarked cars, as well as bikes and scooters.

Besides the launch on the East Coast, Priscotty will be introducing a new app so customers can have full access to products and deals in their areas, as well as the ability to search by product and dispensary. The app will also use BioMetric tracking. Prisco is hoping the app will be ready by April or May.

In addition to a new app and new locations for their service, Priscotty will begin a community outreach effort called Priscotty Uplifted. The program will work within the communities Priscotty operates to help with projects like cleaning up a park, painting, really anything to give back to the community. Prisco is especially excited for the launch of this project saying, “All businesses have a social responsibility to give back.” Priscotty Uplifted is set to launch in late spring.

“New Mexico was a great place to get our feet wet,” Prisco says, noting that obtaining a license here was smooth, and the market size of Albuquerque was great for trial and error. The company grew quickly in Albuquerque, which offered the opportunity to work with multiple dispensaries as well as sort out the kinks along the way.

After the New York launch, Prisco is looking to make inroads into other boroughs around New York City. Eventually, he’d like to expand to New Jersey, then cities in Ohio, Illinois, Arizona and Missouri.

Currently, Santa Feans can get free delivery on orders over $100 from Sacred Garden Dispensary (1300 Louisa Street).

Editor’s note: Following the publication of this month’s Leaf Brief, a representative from Verdi Cannabis contacted SFR and said the company is not in fact launching with Priscotty in NY but, rather, launching on its own. Priscotty, in turn, tells SFR a deal and launch date with Verdi was in place at the time of his interview with SFR, but subsequently fell through. Verdi also disputes that characterization and says no launch date had been discussed, nor were there signed papers and “it was completely premature and inappropriate for Scott to be discussing this deal.”

Germany Legalizes Cannabis

Germany’s road to legalization has been long and winding. Parliament passed a law, originally announced in 2021, making it possible for individuals to grow and possess limited quantities of cannabis. The law passed through Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling three-party coalition, allowing Germans, 18 years and older, to grow up to three plants for personal consumption, and be in possession of 50 grams of cannabis at home at a time and 25 grams in public. Currently the law doesn’t allow for sale or distribution of cannabis.

Roughly seven million Germans use cannabis, which the government notes is primarily for its medical benefits. According to a recent poll, 42% of Germans support legalization and 47% oppose. Medical cannabis use has been legal in Germany since 2017, but recreational legalization was road blocked for years by the conservative party of former Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The law includes an amnesty provision for Germans with minor cannabis possession charges before the law is set to go into effect. Judges are concerned this provision will slow down the justice system. The judiciary expects upward of 100,000 files nationwide needing to be re-reviewed with the planned retroactive remission of sentences for cannabis offenses. Sven Rebehn, the director of the Federal Association of Judges, foresees it will require a committee of judges an entire year to sort through old cases to see if they need to be overturned.

Germany follows in the footsteps of Malta and Luxembourg, two European Union countries that previously legalized cannabis. Cannabis is still illegal in the European Union, similar to cannabis being illegal at the federal level in the United States. Will Germany’s legalization lead to other EU nations joining the cannabis legalization train, like Colorado’s legalization did for other states? Only time will tell.

High Notes: A Hand Rolled Review

On a Sunday morning, I got in the car and headed north to the Pueblo of Pojoaque. A mere 15 minutes later, I pulled into the parking lot of Wō Poví Cannabis (68 Cities of Gold Road).

Sundays are a great day to visit this Native-owned and operated dispensary, as edibles are 10% off and certain flower is just $7 a gram. These deals are also available on Mondays. In fact each day of the week, there’s a deal to be found. And medical card carriers receive 10% off on the first visit to the dispensary.

As usual, I became over-stimulated with the number of options and endless scents. Luckily, a very patient budtender presented me with a few options for consideration. I was on the lookout for a hybrid flower.

I’m not ashamed to admit I frequently select cannabis based on the name. I selected the Gelato 33 F1. I purchased some rolling papers because I was curious if I could still roll my own joint after years of purchasing pre-rolls.

I also bought a two-pack of pre-rolls named Gary Payton in case my skills didn’t hold up. I couldn’t contain my excitement when the budtender pointed out Gary on the menu. I asked if the joint had any relation to the Supersonics point guard, who for 13 years had delighted Seattle fans, including myself. She gave a soft confirmation so as not to deflate my enthusiasm, as she wasn’t 100% positive.

It turns out rolling a joint wasn’t quite like riding a bike for me. In the desire to be fully transparent, I’ve never been an amazing joint roller, but lately nostalgia has overcome me and I’ve been hard-pressed not to let rolling my own joint go the way of making a mixed tape. Both are art forms in their own right. And both have been replaced with either mass production or technology.

I desperately needed guidance, so I turned to YouTube. I watched How to Roll a Perfect Joint. The content for the video was created by “At Home with House of Puff,” a woman-owned and Latina-led luxury brand and YouTube channel. Intrigued, I started looking into more content from the brand and found this description: “House of Puff was built to be a vehicle for the future of the plant—to evolve and elevate the conversation about everything from consumption rituals to criminal justice reform.”

After two viewings of the video, which was very informative and helpful, I successfully rolled my own joint. Was it pretty? No. Did it get the job done? Yes. Maybe it was the flower, or maybe it was the pleasure I found in smoking the fruit of my own labor, but it was delicious.

MORE FROM SFR: “You Can’t Handle the Truth” Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez questions NM’s cannabis claims

Shake: Odds and ends from New Mexico and beyond

  • Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 6 into law, making multiple changes to the Cannabis Regulation Act, including buffing up the enforcement capabilities of the Cannabis Control Division and the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. “The state is committed to supporting this new, flourishing industry so consumers are assured their cannabis products are safe and legitimate businesses thrive,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. SB6, sponsored by state Rep. Katy Duhigg, D-Albuquerque, and Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, allows authority for the CCD and NMRLD to seek federal history background checks on applicants. The bill also increases penalties for unlicensed cannabis activities; allows individuals to obtain both a cannabis license and a liquor license, while still prohibiting a dual location for both licenses; clarifies the amount of cannabis product that would lead to a trafficking charge; widens the list of criminal activity that prevents an individual from obtaining a cannabis license; and improves cannabis packaging requirements to further protect minors from accessing cannabis products. Since legalization in New Mexico in April 2022, cannabis sales have surpassed $1 billion.
  • Remember DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the program to keep kids off drugs? Millennials were the first generation to go through the program in the ‘90s and now their kids are entering the program, which has a whole new take on drugs and cannabis in particular. It’s probably good that DARE went through a renaissance, seeing as how the program really didn’t keep kids off drugs. DARE has changed its tune from, “just say no to drugs,” to “keepin’ it REAL.” The curriculum has changed from lectures about individual drugs, including marijuana, to open discussions where kids and teens can talk about drugs and peer pressure. Maryland DARE Coordinator and Officer Mike Casamento told GreenState’s Cara Wietstock, “We keep it kid-centric and focus on what can and may be happening in their lives to reinforce what we are teaching them. Now, we teach kids how to look at a problem, identify their choices, weigh the risks and consequences, and make a decision based on the information they have gathered.” Marijuana is discussed only if kids and teens want to talk about it.
  • Which is less bad for people: alcohol or cannabis? Dr. Amanda Reiman wanted to know, so she compared the two most frequently used drugs across five components, including product safety, addiction potential, price, health benefits and social acceptability. Alcohol won product safety. Reiman argues that even though cannabis is tested in the regulated market, and those products are as safe as a bottle of beer from the store, cannabis use is still largely under prohibition and therefore not tested. Cannabis is less addictive than alcohol. A 2022 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 10.5% of participants over age 12 reported they experienced alcohol use disorder in the previous year. Withdrawal from dependance of alcohol can be fatal, while withdrawal from cannabis is mild. Alcohol is less expensive than cannabis, even with dropping flower prices. Cannabis has more health benefits than alcohol. The federal government finally confirmed last year cannabis has health benefits, a revelation most of the world has known for many centuries. Also last year, the Mayo clinic stated that no amount of alcohol use is free of health risks. Alcohol is still more socially acceptable than cannabis, even though it’s becoming less stigmatized. Reiman points out alcohol consumption has many more established public social settings than cannabis.

Thanks for reading this month’s Leaf Brief! Please send any question or comments to leafbrief@sfreporter.com.

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at]sfreporter.com. Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

We also welcome you to follow SFR on social media (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and comment there. You can also email specific staff members from our contact page.