In a letter to Department of Health Secretary-designate Lynn Gallagher sent June 20th 2016, State Auditor Tim Keller wrote that his office will audit the department’s compliance with the legally-required 30-day waiting period for processing applications of new and returning medical cannabis patients. Patients, like myself, are also required to renew their cards every year despite all of us patients having serious medical conditions that will never go away. A “further failure to comply” with the time period from the department could result in special audits, risk advisory designations and even referral to law enforcement, State Auditor Keller warned.
There is now a meeting set for Thursday, August 4th 2016 at the New Mexico State Capitol Room #302 (a.k.a. the Roundhouse), located at 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501. The public meeting will start at 3 pm to address these ongoing delays with the registry identification cards for medical cannabis patients. Speaking at 3 pm will be: State Auditor - Tim Keller, a Department of Health representative (TBD), President/Chair of Licensed Non-Profit Producers - Leigh Jenke, and Anita Briscoe, MS, APRN-BC. Public comment will be available and begin at 4 pm till 5pm.
The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. The purpose of this Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments. State law ( Title 7 Ch 34 Part 3 -18.104.22.168 ) requires patients be registered within 30 days by the Medical Cannabis Program Office after applying or renewing, the department is taking between 60 and 70 days to complete this process.
It was clear in late January of 2016 that New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program was going to be dealing with long delays in the processing of renewal and new medical cannabis applications. No warning was ever provided to medical cannabis patients, doctors, or licensed non profit producers- of even a possibility of any delays. As of July 29th 2016, Andrea Sundberg said medical cannabis cards are now being processed in 45-50 days.
People within our medical cannabis community with debilitating medical conditions like; Cancer, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Post‐Traumatic Stress Disorder and the many other qualifying conditions have had their Safe Access to medical cannabis complete disrupted and left without medicine for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.
Not one official from the Department of Health Secretary Gallagher’s Office, New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Office or the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to the time to even consider to think of providing a contingency plan to protect all of these medical cannabis patients and upholding the legal scope and spirit of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act; nor have they even attempted to resolve this Safe Access issue by providing a contingency plan now.
The New Mexico Department of Health New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program needs to be held accountable for not following their own Rules & Regulations and needs to provide these suffering people in our medical cannabis community with immediate safe access to medicine.
They need to provide relief and allow Safe Access for these medical patients and it is very feasible for the Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program to please immediately issue a retroactive 90 day extension to all expiration dates & expired medical cannabis patients ID Cards into the remainder of the 2016 until there are no more administrative delays.
By LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico
Jason Barker - Organizer & Medical Cannabis Patient