What It Was Like Doing Mushrooms With Bob Weir: An Essay

Bob Weir was a founding member of legendary rock band the Grateful Dead. I ran into Bob the other night at an eatery in Northern California. A mutual friend had e-troduced us about a year ago, and we’d been exchanging emails about getting together ever since. But we could never manage to get our schedules to line up. I had already eaten, but he was just starting so I introduced myself and he invited me to join him for a chat while he ate.

Bob was everything I hoped he’d be: curious, engaged, and interesting. We talked about the Perseids meteor shower, the tastiness of the food at the restaurant, new immunotherapy developments in cancer, world music. We also talked about the Redwood trees surrounding us, and the Native Americans who lived on the land before us. Unlike other rock stars I’ve met, he wasn’t trying to posture — he was just being himself. And his self is very likable.

When his steak arrived, he asked me if I wanted some. “I just had it,” I said, “it’s delicious.”

“What’s your next book?” he asked.

“I’m writing about the aging brain. The neuroscience of it, and what we can do to stay mentally active and healthy.”

“That’s an important topic,” he said.  

Given his well-known hearty ingestion of hallucinogenic drugs for the past fifty years, I was curious to know what he was doing to stay mentally fit, He described some medicinal mushrooms that he’d been taking. “They contain a neurotropic growth factor. After dinner, come back to my place and we can take some if you want to.”

I’ve never been a big drug user. While the people around me were experimenting with all kinds of chemical substances, I was learning to play the guitar, and working hard to become a neuroscientist. I’ve spent my life around people who were smarter than me, and I wanted to be sure I could keep up.

I did smoke marijuana with Joni Mitchell a few years ago when I was helping her put together her Shine CD. For one warm L.A. evening, I put my apprehensions aside and just enjoyed the ride. Taking mushrooms with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead? Hmmm. He seemed intelligent and rational. I decided this might be an experience I could look back on and savor. I said yes.

We began the fifteen minute walk back to his place. “You know, I kind of worked for you about 30 years ago,” I said.


“I had a job in 1977 at A. Brown Electronics.”

“In San Rafael…”

“Right, repairing speakers that you and the Dead had blown out.”

“There was no shortage of those.” he said.

What It Was Like Doing Mushrooms With Bob Weir


We both laughed. A. Brown Electronics had been a small-time hi-fi repair shop that barely eked by until the Dead discovered them. Re-coning speakers became about 95 percent of the company’s business. In those days, a concert stage speaker consisted of a powerful magnet with a thick, black cone-shaped paper radiating outwards, held in a metal frame. The output of an amplifier — an AC electrical signal — modulated the magnet, which caused the paper to vibrate and create sound. Send in too much power and the paper would blow apart under the strain. Re-coning involved shaping and inserting new paper between the magnet and metal frame. It was an eco-friendly alternative to buying new ones.

“You play guitar, don’t you?” he asked me.


“Maybe we can play together later.”

I worked to control my exuberance. I tried to sound cool — like sitting in with Bob Weir was the kind of thing I did every day.

“Sure,” I said.

But if I get really high on mushrooms, I wondered, would I be able to play the guitar? Would my fingers do what I wanted them to do?

We got to Bob’s place and he started rummaging around a drawer in the kitchen. Was I really going to do this? What if I got too disconnected from reality? Quiet, I told myself. If anyone has experience with drugs, it’s Bob Weir. He’ll know what to do. Trust him.

He took out a plastic bag of a very fine brown powder, and a small bamboo spoon. He angled the spoon at about 45 degrees, put it in the powder, and carefully withdrew a large mound of the stuff. He then expertly tapped the side of the spoon with his index finger, letting some of the powder fall back in the bag. Realizing he had tapped too much,  he put the spoon back in for just a little bit more. With his other hand, Bob lifted a cup, and put the powder in it, then repeated the same measurement for a second cup.

“Here,” he said, “I’m going to give you a few days’ supply so that if you like it you can take it until you have a chance to get your own.” He measured out eight more portions and put them into a sealable plastic sandwich bag. Eight?! I wondered. What if I never came down?

He picked up the two cups with mushroom powder in them and brought them to the stove. “We’ll use hot water,” he said. “It dissolves better and doesn’t get clumpy.”

“Cool,” I said. He seemed to be thinking very clearly. Bob boiled the water, mixed the powder carefully with the bamboo spoon, handed me a cup, and together we brought the cups to our lips and took our first sip. It tasted like mushroom soup.

I felt a strange sensation on my tongue. Must be the umami receptors, I thought. In addition to the four basic taste receptor cells located on the human tongue (salty, sweet, sour, and bitter), Japanese scientists have discovered that we have a fifth group — umami receptors — that are stimulated by certain meat broths, soy sauce, and mushrooms. The western diet is lighter on these flavors than the Asian or Native American diet, and we rarely get a pure umami flavor in the food we eat. The inside of my cheeks, the roof of my mouth, and the sides of my tongue were tingling as these rarely used receptors woke up and started signaling the gustatory cortex in my brain. Either that or I was hallucinating.

Bob started talking about consciousness and meditation, and I found myself discussing neural synchrony. I noticed that patterns on the wall seemed to dance about. Not vividly, not cartoon-like, no images from Fantasia, just a mild impression, a kind of imagination. I knew the patterns weren’t really dancing.

Bob spoke about the shamanic tradition. “Much of the wisdom of the Native Americans has been lost,” he said. “Plant-based medicines, conservation practices. And the understanding that we really are all one.”

“Like mushrooms,” I added. “Fungi are connected underground via a subterranean web of mycelium.”

“Yes,” he said. “And they help other plants communicate with each other by attaching themselves to their roots — especially trees like these.” He gestured with his hands towards the Redwoods out his window.

What It Was Like Doing Mushrooms With Bob Weir


In my mind’s eye, I could see the vast fungal internet underneath the ground below us. I felt connected— to Bob, to the trees, to plants in general, and to myself. Yes! Here I was in me. Happy. Secure.

Time seemed like a circle rather than a line; as though part of my consciousness experienced this feeling long ago, and I was just remembering it now. Bob’s voice sounded far away for a moment, and then very close. My education as a neuroscientist seemed to be circling my consciousness, as if I stood in the middle of a merry-go-round of different research findings, gently moving up and down, up and down.

Mushrooms are a mixture of proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, and a variety of trace elements. One of the active ingredients in the mushrooms we took is called Hericium Erinaceus Polysaccharides, commonly referred to as HEP. HEP leads to the secretion of neurotropic growth factor. That, in turn, increases levels of acetylcholine in the brain, which is normally secreted in great quantities during Stage IV sleep. The dreamy quality we associate with sleep, or being in certain altered states, is mediated by this neurochemical. HEP rapidly increases gene expression of neurotropic growth factor in the hippocampus–the seat of memory. This could simultaneously improve the storage of new memories, and the retrieval of old ones, even long lost memories that heretofore seemed to be forgotten.

HEP also has neuroprotective and neuroregenerative qualities, allowing for the repair of damaged nerves and the growth of new ones. It has been shown to improve overall cognitive performance and is even effective in people up to 80-years-old who are suffering from mild cognitive impairment. Some studies have shown that it reduces depression and anxiety. At that moment, I was certainly feeling contented and unstressed.

Another ingredient in the mushrooms we took is Cordyceps Militaris, which has been shown to diminish anxiety while boosting energy levels. Think about that for a moment: more energy but also less anxious. Coffee tends to boost energy levels but at the cost of increased nervousness and anxiety.

We grew quiet. I couldn’t say how much time had passed. We looked at the bottom of our empty cups and then at each other.

“The effect is subtle,” Bob said, “but I feels like it makes my day a little bit lighter and my focus a little bit better.”

My mouth was still tingling with stimulation of the umami sensors. I was filled with the overwhelming sense of my connection to nature, to Bob, to an ant that was moving across the floor. I was one with the insects. My tongue seemed to be vibrating at the spiritual frequency of the universe.

Bob turned to me as I was studying the wood grain in the table. “You realize of course that these are not hallucinogenic mushrooms — they’re purely medicinal, perfectly legal. I bought them on Amazon.com.”

I looked up. “What?”

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Researcher Who Claimed CBD In Hops Revealed As Convicted Con Artist

A researcher who claimed he had discovered a variety of hops that produced CBD is a convicted con artist and his discovery is fraudulent, according to a report from the PotNetwork. Dr. Bomi Boban Joseph of Peak Health Center is actually Moses Sunith Prasad Joseph, who was arrested in 2005 for defrauding companies including Wells Fargo and Eastman Kodak of nearly $20 million. Joseph was convicted by a jury of 20 charges including grand theft, securities fraud, and embezzlement and sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for filing false financial records in a tech fund’s bid to provide broadband service over power lines. Joseph used proceeds from the scheme to buy real estate including a home in Carmel, California, according to prosecutors, who said he was “charming” and were impressed by his ability to continue the fraud over a span of several years. His attorney said it was all a misunderstanding.

“It’s a sad situation. The broadband product that he was trying to create and sell was a legitimate technology,” the attorney said.

Last year, Dr. Bomi Joseph announced that he had discovered a variety of hops that produced CBD. He said that he had theorized he might find a variety of hops that produced CBD in the mountains of Northern India.

“We were hoping to find what we call dominant species with cannabinoids and CBD, but as luck would have it, we didn’t,” Mr. Joseph told PotNetwork in August 2018. “We found that it was a recessive trait. And from the thousands of samples we collected, we’d find, maybe 1 in 800 or 1 in 1,000 that had some cannabinoids in it. But the trick was just finding the first few samples.”

Joseph claimed he then used his discovery to breed a variety of hops, which he dubbed Humulus kriya, that reliably expressed the recessive gene and produced CBD. Joseph then entered into an agreement with Isodiol to market the hops CBD. In late 2017, Isodiol announced that it was introducing ImmunAG, the first CBD product to be derived from a source other than cannabis. But the release made no mention of Joseph, and citing a breach of contract he sent a letter to Isodiol terminating their business relationship.

Joseph then signed a new agreement with Medical Marijuana Inc. to market hops-derived CBD, which he claimed to have a patent for. Medical Marijuana Inc. then offered the product through its HempMed brand as Real Scientific Humulus Oil.

CBD from Hops ‘Bullshit’

Dr. Volker Christoffel, a chemical researcher who has studied CBD for a decade and is a peer reviewer for a scientific journal, told PotNetwork that Joseph’s claims of CBD from hops are fabricated.

“This is total bullshit,” Christoffel said.

Christoffel says that the paper Joseph published to support his claims is a near word-for-word plagiarized version of a paper that Christoffel wrote with Dr. Michael Bodensteiner of the University of Regensburg two years ago. Christoffel also claims that the taxonomic designation Humulus kriya is a misnomer because the plant is actually Humulus yuannenis and not a separate species or registered variety. He said that the plant probably does not have enough CBD to be commercially viable.

“To judge the true content of CBD in the plant the figures of a milligram of CBD per gram dried plant part is pivotal,” noted Dr. Christoffel. “This is simple to calculate and standard information. Joseph avoids [giving] such a figure. This triggers the suspicion that the alleged Humulus yuannensis sport has not enough CBD to extract reasonable amounts. The steps of extraction and the ratio of CBD towards other Humulus constituents could be an indicating figure, but again, [there are] no description, no figures.”

“There is nothing, nothing worth,” he continued. “It is just marketing to drive their shares.”

In a statement to High Times, Medical Marijuana Inc. said that the company was aware of the PotNetwork story.

Late last week our company was mentioned in an article online which contained a number of allegations against Dr. Bomi Joseph of Peak Health Center and his supply of Humulus hops derived CBD oil. As he is one of our suppliers, we are working with him directly to investigate.  As a company, we always put our consumers and the products we provide for them first,” the statement reads. “We have already begun to address the questions raised in the article, and we will decide on the most appropriate course of action once all the relevant information has been collected and verified.  However, we do believe that Dr. Joseph has been targeted by competitors in the industry.  Our experience with Dr. Joseph and his company to date has been only positive and our customers have experienced great benefit from the Humulus derived products that we sell.”

When presented with the evidence PotNetwork discovered, Joseph denied their allegations.

“I can’t comment on that, right,” Joseph said. “All I can do is give you my ID and show you who I am. I’ve got a Driver’s License, I’ve got a California ID.”

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Tensions Escalate Over Utah’s “Compromise” Medical Marijuana Bill

Tensions continue to escalate in an ongoing lawsuit between medical marijuana advocates and the state of Utah. Most recently, the lawyer in charge of a key lawsuit circulated a detailed letter. In it, he described Utah’s current medical marijuana bill as unconstitutional and illegal. Ultimately, the lawsuit calls for a return to the state’s previous medical marijuana program, which was approved by voters last November but overwritten by lawmakers in December.

Lawyer and Advocates Fighting House Bill 3001

In December 2018, Attorney Rocky Anderson filed a lawsuit against the state of Utah. The suit was a response to House Bill 3001, which lawmakers passed in a legislative special session earlier that month.

Lawmakers bill H.B. as a “compromise bill.” But critics of the bill say that H.B. 3001 actually functions as a replacement to Proposition 2, the medical marijuana initiative approved by voters in November 2018.

Importantly, many medical marijuana advocates throughout the state claim that H.B. 3001 fundamentally alters the bill put into place by voters. And they want to see H.B. 3001 repealed so that Proposition 2 can be reinstated.

Currently, the state is facing two separate lawsuits. The first was filed by Anderson on behalf of multiple plaintiffs, including Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) and The Epilepsy Association of Utah.

Additionally, another group called The Peoples’ Right filed its own lawsuit. Both suits were filed in December 2018.

With both suits still in the works, Anderson and the advocates he represents have ratcheted up their campaign against H.B. 3001. Last week, Anderson sent a letter to county commissioners and city council members across Utah.

In it, he claimed that H.B. 3001 is fundamentally illegal and unconstitutional. As such, he warned local officials against complying with the bill. Additionally, he invited commissioners and city council members to join the fight against H.B. 3001.

Lawyer and Advocates: Utah’s “Replacement Bill” is Illegal

In the letter, Anderson explained that H.B. 3001’s “central fill” program illegally requires state and local health departments to break federal cannabis laws.

“Under H.B. 3001, the health departments are to participate in arranging for the purchase, distribution, transportation, storage, and sale of a Schedule 1 controlled substance—all of which is absolutely forbidden by the federal Controlled Substances Act,” Anderson’s letter said.

According to Anderson, the sticking point in H.B. 3001 is that it specifically requires health departments in Utah to participate. In making this requirement, Anderson claimed, H.B. 3001 effectively creates a “felonious, full-service drug cartel.”

“Laws in other states, which have been upheld, do not compel anybody to violate federal law. They simply say that the state will not go after you for whatever’s allowed under that state’s cannabis laws” Anderson told High Times. “How Utah is different from every other state is the distribution scheme in which they’re requiring health departments to purchase, store, transport, distribute, and sell cannabis.”

He added: “That is blatantly prohibited under federal law. It’s an almost certain way of legally defeating this replacement bill, or at least that portion of it.”

Building the Case Against Utah

With this most recent letter, Anderson and the advocates he’s representing in the lawsuit, appear to be scaling up their case against the state. Specifically, the letter articulates a third primary complaint. Prior to this letter, the lawsuit focused on two primary issues.

First, Anderson and his clients argued that when lawmakers replaced the voter-approved Proposition 2 with H.B. 3001, they violated the public’s right to create laws through the initiative process.

Second, the original lawsuit claims that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), commonly known as the Mormon Church, wrongfully interfered in the state’s lawmaking process.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, the LDS Church is generally recognized as having significant influence over its members, who make up almost 63 percent of Utah’s population. Additionally, a large proportion of Utah lawmakers are also Mormon. Even more, the LDS Church maintains a strong lobbying presence in the state.

Importantly, the LDS Church was very active in campaigns against Prop 2. For example, it sent a letter to all members encouraging them to vote against the proposition. Additionally, the church’s lobbyists consistently urged lawmakers to work to defeat or replace Prop 2.

As a result, Anderson and his clients claim that the Mormon Church exerted illegal influence over the legislation process.

“They’re [the LDS Church] playing too heavily in Utah politics,” Christine Stenquist, President of TRUCE, told High Times.”This issue crossed party lines and religious lines, and has affected people in a really profound way. A lot of people are saying they want their church to stay out of politics, and what the church is doing makes them uncomfortable.”

Anderson said he plans to amend the original lawsuit. In particular, he plans to add to the suit the additional argument regarding H.B. 3001’s mandatory “central fill” system. Additionally, he hopes to add new plaintiffs.

Timeline: Utah’s Ongoing Medical Marijuana Drama

Anderson’s new letter and his intent to amend the lawsuit represents the newest chapter in what has become a long and drawn-out drama. The following timeline maps out key moments in the controversy surrounding H.B. 3001:

  • June 2018: LDS lobbyist Marty Stephens organizes a closed-door meeting to craft alternatives to Proposition 2.
  • August 2018: LDS Church officially announces its opposition to Prop 2. On August 23, a church spokesperson said “we urge the voters of Utah to vote no on Proposition 2.” The LDS Church also sent a letter to its members, encouraging them to vote against the proposition.
  • November 6, 2018: Voters in Utah approve Prop 2, making medical marijuana legal.
  • December 1, 2018: Prop 2 officially goes into effect.
  • December 3, 2018: At urging from the LDS Church representatives, lawmakers hold a “special session” in which they replace Prop 2 with H.B. 3001.
  • December 5, 2018: Rocky Anderson files a lawsuit against Utah on behalf of a group of medical marijuana patients and advocacy groups.
  • December 10, 2018: The Peoples’ Right files its own separate lawsuit.
  • February 20, 2019: Rocky Anderson sends letter to county commissioners and city council members in Utah, arguing that H.B. 3001’s central fill system is illegal.

For now, the battle over H.B. 3001 and Prop 2 is ongoing. For many in the state, the outcome of the suit has long-term implications—both for Utah and the nation at large.

“This is the fight that has to happen,” Stenquist told High Times. “To get de-scheduling at some point in the future, it’s got to start with a conservative state like Utah. It will take a place like Utah to adopt cannabis to get the federal government to start looking at this seriously.”

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Oregon Residents Resent Cannabis Cultivation Water Usage—But Is It Justified?

Folks living in Deschutes County, Oregon say they’re running out of water. They say their wells are drying up and that they’re spending tens of thousands of dollars drilling new ones. And they know exactly who to blame: the nearby medical cannabis farm that began growing there in 2015. But are marijuana farms really the reason for rural resident’s water shortages?

In Oregon, Residents Are Blaming Cannabis Farms for Water Shortages

Charles Cook and Suezan Hill-Cook live in the Lake Park Estates subdivision in Redmond, Oregon. In 2015, shortly after Oregon legalized adult use and a commercial cannabis industry, a grow operation set up in the area. Things on the farm were slow at first. But as the industry in Oregon grew, operations at the cannabis grow got busier. Used to a quiet, rural setting, the area’s older residents grew to resent the noise, smell and traffic the farm was generating.

Then, the water started running out. And on a hot summer day in 2018, Cook and Hill-Cook’s well wouldn’t pump any water. It was dry. Already rankled by the nuisances of the grow, the couple were sure it was to blame for their empty well. They had heard about cannabis farms gulping up all the groundwater in Oregon—a popular anti-legalization talking point in 2014. And they had heard stories from other rural Deschutes County residents about cannabis farms drying up their wells. So, they reasoned, the nearby marijuana farm had to be the reason for their own water shortages.

Indeed, between 2015 and 2017, a total of seven wells in the Alfalfa area of Deschutes County were re-drilled and deepened. Those refits account for 33 percent of all the wells deepened in the area since 1975. So water levels in the Deschutes Basin are definitely dropping. And they’ve been dropping rapidly in the years since Oregon legalized adult-use marijuana. But does correlation equal causation? Are weed farms really to blame for lower water levels?

Do Cannabis Grows Really Drain Water Resources?

While residents of rural Oregon are right that their water levels are receding, they’re likely wrong as to why. Responding to residents’ concerns, the Oregon Water Resources Department investigated 11 cannabis farms in the summer of 2018. Central Oregon Watermaster Jeremy Giffin, who led the investigations, found that the farms had a very small impact on the overall decline in groundwater levels. “At the end of the day,” Giffin concluded, “we were surprised at how little water they were using.”

Watermaster Giffin’s conclusions are affirmed by rural growers themselves. Andrew Anderson, who owns Plantae Health, a commercial cannabis grow, said his farm uses anywhere between 1,500 to 3,000 gallons of water per day. While that sounds like a large quantity, Giffin described it as “just a drop in the bucket” compared to many other agricultural operations. “Our water conservation is absolutely insane,” Anderson said.

After Oregon voters passed Measure 91 legalizing adult-use cannabis in November 2014, lawmakers defined cannabis as a farm crop. As a farm crop, cannabis is protected under Oregon’s Right to Farm laws. But cultivation is also subject to Oregon’s agricultural water quality rules. Those rules require grows to obtain water right permits, statements from public or private providers that water is actually available, or proof from the state that no permit is necessary.

In short, the state of Oregon is regulating and monitoring the water consumption of cannabis farms. And they’re just not slurping up all the groundwater.

Climate Change is Contributing to Declining Groundwater Levels, Not Cannabis

Studies from the U.S. Geological Survey have found that parts of the Deschutes Basin saw water levels drop up to 14 feet between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s. Cannabis wasn’t legal in Oregon at that time. But what about the recent intensification of dry wells?

Watermaster Giffin said low groundwater levels were likely due to a prolonged period of dry weather. Without precipitation leading to snowmelt, the region’s groundwater supply isn’t getting replenished. Furthermore, human activity is influencing water levels. With irrigation water supplies running low from dry weather, more people are tapping into the region’s groundwater supply. At the same time, more people are piping irrigation channels, preventing them from replenishing the groundwater supply.

Scientists know that climate change is caused by human activity, and that prolonged drought is a sign of those changes. The extended dry weather in the Deschutes Basin is putting a strain on the region’s water resources. Oregon especially has been suffering from severe and extreme drought in recent years.

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Two New Mexico Committees Passed Bills to Legalize Marijuana

In New Mexico, recreational cannabis is coming closer to reality. Two separate bills—one sponsored by House Democrats, the other by Senate Republicans—were recently approved by committees. The variations between the two pieces of legislature serve to illustrate a growing divide on how marijuana legalization should proceed.

Having passed the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday, House Bill 356 is currently the closest to become law in the state, which has had a medicinal marijuana program since 2007. Among its regulations is the permission for individuals to possess up to two grams of cannabis and grow up to six plants for personal use. It would also clear the records of New Mexico residents with some low-level cannabis convictions.

“The House will probably vote for it,” one of its five co-sponsors Senator Jerry Ortíz y Pino told the media last month. “The Senate is going to be its usual thirty-years-behind-the-times self.”

But the Senate’s Republicans have recently accepted that recreational marijuana is an impending fact in their state, and have become more agile on cannabis issues. Last month, Senator Candace Gould proposed a bill to allow New Mexico school children to use doctor recommended medical marijuana in school. And now, New Mexico Republicans have introduced their own plan for recreational marijuana.

“We came to the conclusion that legalization is coming,” said Senator Cliff Pirtle in media reports. “How can we do it in a way that’s more responsible, so we don’t have the negative social impacts that Colorado and other states have had? So we wanted to sit down at the table and give our solution, as Republicans, to how we would like to see the regulation of cannabis.”

Significantly, the Republicans’ proposed legislation, Senate Bill 577, would not allow home grow operations, opting instead for complete control by a state cannabis control commission. Sales would be limited to government-operated retailers. That bill unanimously passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee.

Home grow bans and their possible political motivation have been in the news of late. Last week, it was revealed that major for-profit cannabis companies including MedMen, Columbia Care, Etain, PharmaCann, The Botanist and Acreage NY, and Vireo Health had sent a communication to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lobbying against home grow being included in the state’s impending cannabis regulation. The report sent to Cuomo stated that home grows protect the unregulated market, can produce contaminated and untested cannabis, and cost state’s money in tax revenue.

A fiscal impact report issued by the Legislative Finance Committee on the House bill, which would go into effect on July 1 if passed by both of the state’s legislative bodies, estimates that recreational marijuana would bring in an annual revenue total of $33.9 million by 2023. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is a proponent of widening access to marijuana—most recently, she announced that she would be encouraging the state to add opioid addiction to the list of qualifying conditions for its medical marijuana program.

New Mexico is far from the only state where cannabis legislation has recently passed out of committee. As Marijuana Moment founder Tom Angell pointed out, similar victories have been won in Vermont, Hawaii, and New Hampshire over the past few weeks.

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