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New Mexico Prepares for April 1st Start for Legal Cannabis Sales, NIDA Director Says Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Increase Teen Use, and Utah Bans Smokable Hemp and CBD in Food

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New Mexico Prepares for April 1st Start for Legal Cannabis Sales

New Mexico is set to start sales for its recreational cannabis industry on April 1st. Industry experts predict their sales numbers to hit $400 million within the next five years. This expectation is due in large part to the likelihood that legal cannabis businesses in New Mexico will see consumers from neighboring Texas making the drive to purchase marijuana. New Mexico’s industry is set up with small businesses in mind, and they have a specific category for microbusinesses. Their program also allows for a discount on license fees for those retailers that accept products on consignment from microbusiness producers. New Mexico’s program also has environmental protections in place, particularly concerning water. All license applicants must prove they have a water source or rights to a water source that will adequately meet their needs. 

NIDA Director Says Marijuana Legalization Doesn’t Increase Teen Use

A top federal drug official made it very clear that states with legal cannabis programs do not see an increase in teen use. At a hearing before the Senate Health, Education Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow made it clear that there is no evidence to support the argument that legalization leads to an increase in marijuana use among teens. Volkow addressed this issue in response to a question from Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who seemed surprised at what she had to say. In recent interviews, Volkow has said that she herself is surprised at this information, which is the result of several federally funded surveys. None of the surveys have found evidence of an increase in underage cannabis use in states with legal marijuana. 

Utah Bans Smokable Hemp and CBD in Food

On Monday, Utah’s Governor Spencer Cox signed a law banning smokable hemp and CBD in food. The new law also moved the oversight of hemp production to the United States Department of Agriculture. Utah is now the sixth state to defer to the USDA for the regulation of hemp cultivation. The law expressly prohibits growing, processing, or possessing smokable hemp, and the plant cannot be added to “conventional food or beverage.” Interestingly, the regulations do not ban delta-8 THC. Utah’s Department of Agriculture will continue to oversee licensed hemp processors in the state.