A Mexican comeback?

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.

Whatever happened to Mexican weed?

Right? Acapulco Gold, Michoacan, a really nice Oaxacan. It’s a shame that most of the old-school Mexican landrace strains died out in the 1980s after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration started spraying Mexican cannabis fields with the pesticide known as paraquat. You can still find Acapulco Gold (purportedly) in Seattle and you can buy some Mexican landrace seeds from a few Dutch companies (buying or selling cannabis seeds internationally is a federal offense), but it is hard to find in California.

However, the Mexican government is hard at work on a new law that would legalize recreational cannabis. Just last week, Mexican Senate majority leader Ricardo Monreal predicted that cannabis could be legal in Mexico by the end of October. If that happens—and Mexico’s Supreme Court has already declared cannabis prohibition to be unconstitutional—not only will your weekends in Cabo be even more epic, the U.S. will be smack dab in the middle of two countries with legal pot, and the global ganjapreneur gang will be pressing the feds to get into the game. The global weed game is way bigger than you think.

Have they invented a THC Breathalyzer yet?

Yes they have, and it’s a pretty good one. A team from the University of Pittsburgh has used technology to invent a Breathalyzer that not only detects THC, but can determine the amount of THC in a person’s bloodstream. They just unveiled it last month, so it will be a while before the cops have them and start forcing people with bloodshot eyes and a car full of snacks to blow into a tube.

Here’s the thing though: It’s not just that THC sits around in the bloodstream long after the effects have worn off, so a chronic cannabis user could still blow a high number even though they are completely sober. It is also that no one knows how much THC is too much. According to a 2010 study published in The American Journal on Addictions, “Case-control studies are inconsistent, but suggest that while low concentrations of THC do not increase the rate of accidents, and may even decrease them, serum concentrations of THC higher than 5 nanograms per milliliter are associated with an increased risk of accidents.” By the way, the state of Washington uses 5mg/ml as its limit. Drivers who have more than 5mg in the bloodstream can be arrested for DUI even though, according to Staci Hoff, research director at the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, “More and more research is coming out debunking this mythical link between THC level in the blood and level of impairment.” The same study showing 5ng/ml as maybe a good threshold also points out that “experienced smokers who drive on a set course show almost no functional impairment under the influence of marijuana, except when it is combined with alcohol.” Getting stoned and driving is not cool, but until we figure out how much is too much, maybe the cops should leave their Breathalyzers at the office.