Cannabis for cash

Editor:

I’ve been following the shenanigans being played regarding the legalization of marijuana (cannabis) across the country and especially in Colorado and New Mexico.

Concomitantly, I’ve paid attention to the non-sensical rationale being offered by politicians and citizens who only seek to fatten their pocketbooks by selling a dangerous product suggesting a poor state such as New Mexico needs the blood revenue to pay for education and other activities close to our hearts for which there is never enough money in the treasury.

Colorado successfully legalized the growing of the product and its sale, initially, for medicinal purposes. It proved so successful that it is now also sold for recreational use. New Mexico followed suit and in 2007 our Legislature did the same. It is now grown and sold for medicinal purposes only.

Now to give you an idea of how the political process works, I have followed key legislators and their thought processes regarding the legalization of cannabis, its growth and sale. As well, I have followed the involvement of key non-legislators who are connected and were, early on, in positions where they were privy to the movement across the country and, in particular, Colorado and New Mexico.

In my mind’s eye, a particular player, Mr. Duke Rodriguez, who once headed the New Mexico Human Services Department, early on supported the legalization of cannabis. As secretary, he felt the product was needed to address some serious health problems but, more importantly, saw an opportunity to “make some money, a lot of money” at the expense of sick people, particularly the mentally ill who were already convinced that a fat stogie smoked as needed would cure or mask their schizophrenia, depression, paranoia, PTSD, bi-polar disorders, etc.

Mr. Rodriguez, himself, suffers from PTSD.

The former secretary first caught my attention when participating in meetings he would jump on top of the conference table to make a point. Clearly, he was in a position that enabled him to be at the table with legislators who always welcome lobbyists who can fund their re-election campaigns or offer information on lucrative business ventures.

Rodriguez, who now resides in Arizona, does not only lobby for the industry, he is the industry and doing quite well. Recently, he and the current speaker of the House in New Mexico, Brian Egolf, who was the plaintiffs’ attorney were overjoyed when Judge Brian Biedscheid ruled in their favor saying that the recently adopted amendment to the state’s cannabis law did not authorize the N.M. Health Department to deny cannabis identification cards to applicants who are not residents of New Mexico. This given that Mr. Egolf was present at the “Roundhouse” when the amendment was passed, and that Gov. Lujan Grisham was one of the defendants. Conflict of interest? No question!

John Boehner, former speaker of the House in Washington, D.C., opposed legalization. He is now on the board of “Acreage Holdings,” a publicly-traded cannabis company based in New York that grows and sells cannabis.

Meanwhile, life continues and rolls on just like the train Johnny Cash sings about. And, all we can do is “hang our heads and cry,” as victims of a corrupt Republic that will only get cleaned up if we erase the chalk board and start over with elected/appointed officials that truly understand, believe and abide by the principles embossed in the United States Constitution.

John Lopez

Bosque Farms

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.