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Cannabis news roundup: New Mexico medical use surges, NASCAR logo banned

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The medical marijuana industry in New Mexico has grown substantially since being organized in 2007.

About 8,000 New Mexico residents have obtained a medical marijuana license since Jan. 1, which brings the statewide total to more than 40,000 patients, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The amount of patients has increased by 84 percent since March 2016.

The number of dispensaries has also increased. The statewide total is at 56 after being at just 36 in January 2016.

In 2015, none of New Mexico’s cannabis producers had total receipts that exceeded $1 million. This year, five growers topped $1 million in sales from January through March, alone.

First quarter sales this year topped $19 million, up 91 percent throughout the same period in 2016, New Mexico Department of Health data shows.

However, some think the industry’s growth is a cause for concern. State Rep. Bill Rehm thinks the system is being abused.

“I think there are a bunch of people who are obtaining marijuana cards, not for a true medical reason, but for justification for them to smoke marijuana legally,” Rehm said.

But R. Greenleaf & Associates Director Willie Ford says while that might be true, most people are using the system for legitimate medical conditions.

“I have put my full faith in the Department of Health,” Ford said. “They have a good system for determining and confirming a person’s eligibility.”

The health department’s application process requires patients to provide documentation from a physician supporting a medical diagnosis for a qualifying condition.

— Associated Press


DENVER — Denver has proposed a set of rules for businesses that get permits to allow social marijuana use.

The Denver Post reports that among the rules presented Thursday, businesses owners would have to require customers to sign waivers as they enter, follow a ventilation plan if they allow vaping devices indoors and seek a temporary suspension of their liquor license if they have one.

The voter-passed law directed the city to put in place a four-year pilot program that allows some businesses to seek annual permits to create areas where customers can consume their own cannabis. That’s as long as a business gets backing from a local neighborhood or business association.

The new law also allows one-time events to seek permits.

The newspaper reports the proposed rules will likely draw objections from backers of the initiative.

— Associated Press


Driver Carl Long get his tires checked during practice for the NASCAR Monster Cup auto race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan., Friday, May 12, 2017. A logo for the marijuana vaping company Veedverks was stripped from the hood of Long’s car after NASCAR officials said it had not been vetted and approved. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Carl Long was forced to strip the logo of a Colorado-based marijuana vaping company from his car Friday after NASCAR said it violated rules governing sponsorship and paint schemes.

The logo for Colorado-based Veedverks was plastered on Long’s green and yellow No. 66 for tech inspection, but a NASCAR spokesman said it was never vetted and approved. And when officials learned of the hood logo, they had crew members remove it before the car went to the track.

NASCAR officials said it will not adorn the car the rest of the weekend.

Long returned to NASCAR’s top series this weekend after an eight-year banishment over an unpaid fine from a rules infraction earlier in his career. The penalty was commuted by NASCAR this season.

— Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia’s mayor says recreational marijuana use should be legal in Pennsylvania and says the best place for it to be sold is state-run liquor stores.

He tells WHYY’s “Radio Times” Pennsylvania has the “perfect system to set up the legal recreational use” of marijuana through its controlled state stores.

He adds it would allow the state to “capture all the income that is going to the underground.”

He says the revenue could be directed at public education.

Pennsylvania has enacted a medical marijuana law but the drug isn’t yet available.

Officials expect the drug to be available to patients by May 2018.

— Associated Press


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