Cannabis Legislation and Lawsuits | The Line

Cannabis Legislation and Lawsuits | The Line

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>>WELCOME BACK. THE CANNABIS DISCUSSION IS NOT
CONFINED TO THE ROUNDHOUSE THESE DAYS. WE LEARNED THIS WEEK, ULTRA
HEALTH, THE STATE’S LARGEST PRODUCER OF MEDICAL CANNABIS,
IS SUING THE STATE TAXATION AND REVENUE DEPARTMENT FOR 1
1/2 MILLION. THAT IS HOW MUCH THE COMPANY
HAS PAID IN GROSS RECEIPTS TAX OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS. ARGUMENT IS THAT MEDICAL
CANNABIS SHOULD BE EXEMPT FROM THAT SALES TAX, JUST AS
PRESCRIPTION MEDICINES ARE. DIANE, THIS IS ALL UNCHARTERED
WATERS. WE ARE LEARNING AS WE GO. INTERESTING DISCUSSION TOO. HOW TO DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES. ON THIS ISSUE, DOES ULTRA HAVE
A POINT? SEEMS LIKE THEY MUST BE RIGHT. IT IS SORT OF A MEDICAL THING.>>EXCEPT WE NEED TO REMEMBER
THAT IN THE MEDICAL CANNABIS ACT, IT IS NOT PRESCRIBED BY A
PHYSICIAN. THAT IS NOT ALLOWED. A PHYSICIAN MAY NOT DO THAT. THEY CAN REFER THEM TO THE
PROGRAM AND THEN THE PROGRAM COMMITTEE AND THE SECRETARY
DECIDE IF THEY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE MEDICAL CANNABIS
PROGRAM. I THINK THAT IF YOU READ ALL
YOUR — IF YOU EVER READ YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE AND STUFF, IT
IS WHAT IS PRESCRIBED BY A LICENSED PHYSICIAN OR A NURSE
PRACTITIONER, AUTHORIZED PERSON. SO, I THINK THERE MIGHT BE
SOME LEGAL DEBATE AS TO WHETHER THAT WOULD BE TRUE. NOW, IS IT THE FACT THEY ARE
NOW PAYING OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS FOR THIS? AS I READ SOME OF THE NUMBERS,
IT IS LIKE AN AVERAGE OF ABOUT $1000 A YEAR EXTRA. THAT IS DAUNTING BECAUSE
USUALLY PEOPLE, IF YOU LOOK AT THE LIST OF PEOPLE WHO ARE
QUALIFIED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM, THEY ARE NOT THE
WEALTHY USUALLY. THEY ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE
SUFFERING. WE KNOW MEDICAL COSTS ARE
EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. AND THEY ARE ALREADY UNDER
GREAT DURESS TRYING TO OBTAIN HEALTHCARE. SO, I THINK FROM A
HUMANITARIAN VIEWPOINT, IT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED BECAUSE —
BUT I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE TO AMEND THE LAW, STATUTE,
CURRENT STATUTE, TO INCLUDE IT. I DON’T THINK — I DON’T THINK
THE COURTS, BECAUSE IT DOESN’T SAY THEY QUALIFY. SO, I THINK — IT IS GOING TO
BE DETERMINED BY THE COURTS ANYWAY BUT I THINK IT WILL
REQUIRE LEGISLATION.>>INTERESTING POINT. ON THAT POINT, HARRY, SENATOR
JERRY ORTIZ Y PINO WAS HERE WITH GWYNETH DOLAND LAST WEEK
TALKING ABOUT PROPOSING LEGISLATION OR PROPOSING
LEGISLATION TO DEAL WITH EXACTLY WHAT SENATOR SNYDER IS
TALKING ABOUT. NONE OF US ARE DOCS HERE BUT
IS IT APPROPRIATE? IF, IN FACT, IT GOES THE OTHER
WAY, IS THERE ANY DOWN SIDE TO THAT?>>MINIMAL IN TERMS OF THE
EFFECT ON THE STATE BUDGET SO THEN IT BECOMES AN ISSUE OF IS
THIS TRULY A COMPASSIONATE SORT OF PUBLIC POLICY AND TO
THE EXTENT THERE IS EVIDENCE THAT THIS WORKS AND IT DOES
WORK FOR A VARIETY OF MEDICAL CONDITIONS, IT SEEMS ALMOST
CRUEL TO PUT AN ADDITIONAL IMPEDIMENT TO THAT BY ADDING A
GRT TO IT.>>RIGHT, YOU KNOW, DEDE MIGHT
REMEMBER, AND ALL OF US, YOU AT HOME MIGHT REMEMBER, THIS
IS THE SAME COMPANY THAT HAD THE DUST UP AT STATE FAIR
WHERE THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED — THEY WERE GOING TO DO AN
EDUCATIONAL BOOTH WITH PLANTS AND PICTURES. COULDN’T EVEN DO THE PICTURES. BUT A JUDGE RULED IN THEIR
FAVOR A BIT ON THIS AND THEY ARE PRESSING ON THIS, BUT WHAT
DOES THAT TELL US WHERE MEDICAL MARIJUANA IS IN THE
IMAGE OF HOW IT IS IN OUR STATE HERE.>>THERE IS STILL PREJUDICE
AGAINST MEDICAL MARIJUANA. IT IS TINGED BY THIS WHOLE
RECREATIONAL ISSUE AND IN MY VIEW IT REALLY IS ACTING LIKE
A MEDICINE FOR EPILEPSY FOR AIDS, FOR CANCER, AND, YOU
KNOW, WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE THAT. I WOULD SUPPORT SENATOR ORTIZ
Y PINO’S BILL TO REMOVE THE GROSS RECEIPTS TAX AND CHANGE
THE DEFINITION IN THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA ACT.
AND MAYBE WE CAN MAKE UP SOME OF THE REVENUE BY TAXING
RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA. AS I UNDERSTAND IT, TAX RATES
THERE ARE AS HIGH AS 12% OR 9%. THAT IS GOING TO BE A
CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF REVENUE FOR BOTH THE STATE AND THE
CITIES.>>LET’S GET INTO THAT REVENUE
QUESTION, ED. GO THERE BECAUSE SOME FEEL IT
IS WORTH 20 TO 40 MILLION TO THE STATE AND SOME PEOPLE HAVE
IT LIKE 400 MILLION TO COME IN FOR RECREATIONAL LICENSING OF
MARIJUANA HERE, BUT THE IDEA THAT IT IS A CURE-ALL FOR ALL
OUR BUDGETARY ILLS. I WANT TO TALK ABOUT LAW
ENFORCEMENT TOO, BECAUSE THAT IS PART OF YOUR BACKGROUND. WHAT IS YOUR SENSE OF IT AS
YOU LOOK AT IT.>>I THINK WE NEED TO BE
CAREFUL WITH THAT BECAUSE WE HAVE TO LOOK TO THE SOCIAL
COST. WE SEE A LOT OF STATES WHO ARE
EXPERIMENTING, SO TO SPEAK, IN THIS LEGALIZATION OF
MARIJUANA, BUT I THINK WE NEED TO MOVE CAREFULLY ON THAT,
RIGHT, BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES WE
NEED TO BE VERY CAREFUL OF, AND THE INCREASE OF REVENUE
MAY NOT BE NECESSARILY THE ANSWER, IT MAY BE INCREASED
COSTS THAT ARE UNEXPECTED.>>WHAT CONCERNS YOU AS A
FORMER LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSON? WHAT IS THE NUMBER ONE THING
THAT GIVES YOU ANGST?>>MY ARGUMENT IS WE CAN’T
CONTROL — VERY LIMITED CONTROL OF THE ALCOHOL
PROBLEMS, FATALITIES AND THINGS OF THAT SORT AS A
RESULT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE INTOXICATED BEHIND THE WHEEL. IF WE NOW LEGALIZE ANOTHER
SUBSTANCE, WILL THAT ENCOURAGE MORE INDIVIDUALS WHO MIGHT NOT
USE IT OTHERWISE TO USE IT AND THEN CAUSE THESE OTHER SOCIAL
IMPACTS? SO, THERE IS THAT CONCERN. I AM ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AND
POSED THAT QUESTION TO MY COLLEGE STUDENTS AND IT WAS
INTERESTING. AND MOST OF THEM ARE IN EARLY
20’S AND MAJORITY OF THEM FELT THAT IT SHOULD BE LEGALIZED. OLDER STUDENTS IN CLASS SAID,
MAYBE NOT. SO, IT JUST DEPENDS. SOMETIMES IT IS A GENERATIONAL
THING THAT IS WHAT WE ARE UP AGAINST.>>FUNNY HOW PEOPLE WORK IN
THAT WAY, AGE CHANGES A LOT OF THINGS. THAT IS VERY INTERESTING.>>HVB, THERE IS ANOTHER IDEA
THAT WE HAVE STATES TO LOOK AT AND THAT WE CANNOT MIMIC THEIR
PROBLEMS. STATES THAT HAVE DONE CERTAIN
THINGS. YOU HAD HAD SUPPLIED A LINK TO
AN INTERESTING SEGMENT FROM COLORADO PBS ABOUT THE
BLACK-MARKET IN COLORADO. THAT IS BOOMING, BECAUSE OF
THE SITUATION. PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE TAX
SITUATION TOO.>>PARTLY, BUT ALSO THE
ACCESSED MARIJUANA HAS TO GO SOMEWHERE, AND WHAT IS
INTERESTING IS YOU THINK ABOUT THAT CLIP, WHICH I RECOMMEND
TO ANYBODY, IS TO THEN PUT IN CONVERSATION WITH THE CLIP
THAT WE HAD HERE, WHERE THERE IS A LOT OF FOLKS SAYING,
BLACK-MARKET ISN’T GOING TO BE A PROBLEM. I THINK THERE IS A LOT OF
EVIDENCE THAT WE REALLY NEED TO BRING TO BEAR. SO, FOR EXAMPLE, ED BROUGHT UP
ISSUES RELATED TO ALCOHOL. HOW DO YOU ASSESS IMPAIRED
DRIVING? WE DON’T HAVE THE STANDARD OR
A SCIENTIFIC STANDARD. THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE IN
COLORADO THAT AUTO FATALITY RATES HAVE GONE UP, HOMELESS
RATES HAVE GONE UP, THE PROBLEM IS, THERE ISN’T A
STRAIGHT LINE BETWEEN ONE AND THE OTHER. SO, MY CONCERN IS THAT THERE
IS THIS RUSH TO LEGALIZATION ON THE RECREATIONAL SIDE
WITHOUT REALLY THINKING THROUGH WHAT THE SOCIAL COSTS
MIGHT WELL BE, AND WHAT A RATIONAL POLICY IS. ONE EXAMPLE, WHERE WOULD IT BE
GROWN? I MAY BE SUPPORTIVE OF IT. I AM ACTUALLY ON THE OFFENSE
BUT I DON’T THINK I WANT A GROWING HOUSE NEXT TO WHERE I
LIVE.>>I DON’T THINK YOU’RE ALONE
ON THAT.>>ON THE SENATE SIDE OF
THINGS, THERE’S A LOT OF NOISE THE HOUSE IS MORE OPEN TO
THIS, A LOT OF NEW DEMOCRATS FOR MARIJUANA LEGISLATION OF
ALL TYPES, BUT THE SENATE IS WHERE THE RUBBER MEETS THE
ROAD. WHAT IS YOUR SENSE OF HOW THAT
IS DEBATED FIRST AND THEN ULTIMATELY GO?>>I THINK IT IS GOING TO GO
FURTHER THAN IT HAS GONE IN THE PAST BECAUSE THERE HAS
BEEN MORE THOUGHT GIVEN TO IT, AND THERE IS MORE EXPERIENCE
IN OTHER STATES. WE CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO
PROTECT THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES. AND I THINK THAT IS AN
IMPORTANT POINT. I DO THINK THAT IT WILL HAVE
ROUGHER SLEDDING IN THE SENATE THAN IN THE HOUSE AND I THINK
THAT THERE ARE SOME SORT OF HALFWAY BILLS TOO. FOR EXAMPLE, THE
DECRIMINALIZATION BILL, SPONSORED BY SENATOR CERVANTES
WHICH I THINK MAY HAVE PASSED IN THE PAST. I THINK THAT IS, YOU KNOW,
THAT COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE POSSIBLE.>>THAT WOULD BE A MAJOR LEAP
FORWARD IN A LOT OF REGARDS.>>RIGHT, REMEMBER THE
GOVERNOR HAS HAD CERTAIN CONCERNS ABOUT THIS AS WELL. SHE MENTIONED THESE SOCIAL
COSTS AS WELL. SHE WAS A REAL PROPONENT OF
THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL WHEN IT CAME THROUGH IN 2007
AND I THINK THAT UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, SHE WOULD SIGN
A LEGALIZATION, BUT I THINK THAT SOME OF THESE DETAILS
STILL HAVE TO BE WORKED OUT FOR HER AND PERHAPS THE SENATE
IS WHERE THEY CAN BE WORKED OUT. BUT THE CLOCK IS TICKING, YOU
KNOW, ON THIS SESSION AND YOU HAVE 8, 900 BILLS ALREADY
INTRODUCED AND THE SKY IS THE LIMIT, IT SEEMS.>>INTERESTING. WE’LL SEE HOW THAT GOES. WE’LL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THIS
ISSUE THROUGH THE 60-DAY SESSION AND BE SURE TO HEAD TO
NEW MEXICO IN FOCUS FACEBOOK PAGE TO WATCH A SPECIAL
DISCUSSION WE HAD THIS WEEK ON THIS YEAR’S MEDICAL CANNABIS
PROPOSALS. THAT WAS WITH JASON BARKER OF
SAFE ACCESS NEW MEXICO, A GREAT DISCUSSION. STILL AHEAD, LAWMAKERS TAKE UP
A PAIR OF LIFE OR DEATH ISSUES. PLUS REMEMBERING FORMER
LEGISLATOR, KIKI SAAVEDRA.

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