Wednesday, January 18, 2017

LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico Policy & Reform Goals 2017

  1. LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico: LECUA ACT, 2007,  Policy & Reform Goals To :
    1. Ensure safe access to all areas of the the state and proper administering of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, by the New Mexico State Department of Health.  
      1. Added involvement of additional New Mexico state departments or agencies.
        1. Dept. of Agriculture & Licensing and Taxation Departments
        2. Medical Cannabis Advisory made to have final authority of LECUA, 2007, and the Secretary of Dept. of Health as sole authority. Given ¾ majority vote by the MCAB to overrule the Secretary if a tie.
      2. Role and Duties of State Departments & Agencies defined clearly
    2. Adequate supply of medical cannabis properly defined, structured, and increased.
      1. Maximum quantity of usable cannabis increased to 425.243 grams per 3 months ( 2.5 ounces every two weeks ).                  
      2. Inclusion of research & empirical data for for determining adequate supply for varying amounts cannabis plant material needed to manufacture different forms of medical cannabis medicine for proper dosage.        

    1. Revisions to licensing requirements for MCP LNPP’s
      1. Plant count for patients & producers properly structured and increased.
      2. Cannabis / HEMP CBD strains at ratio of;  1.5 thc  (or lower) : 1 cbd (or higher) not counted against patient/caregiver or LNPP allowable plant count.
      3. Clones and Cuttings provided to qualified patient / caregiver with a PPL by a LNPP’s not counted against LNPP allowable plant count.
      4. Plant Count that is based on ratio of patients to serve AND inclusion of empirical data for varying amounts cannabis plant material needed to manufacture different forms of medical cannabis medicine.  
        1. Patient / Caregiver PPL plant count increased to allow for 6 immature seedlings /clones / cuttings, 6 plants in vegetative stage, and 6 plants in flowering stage for total of 18 cannabis plants.
        2. The addition of Cooperative/Collective PPL’s
          1. Whereas Rules and Regulations for Personal Production License should additionally include:
            The Department shall issue a individual cultivation registration to a qualifying patient or their personal caregiver. No more than 4 qualified patients may collectively cultivate 80 cannabis plants, and each participating patient must obtain a collective cultivation registration. The Department may deny a registration based on the provision of false information by the applicant. Such registration shall allow the qualifying patient or their personal caregiver to cultivate an area of limited square footage of plant canopy, sufficient to maintain a 90-day supply of cannabis, and shall require cultivation and storage only in a restricted access area.
            A qualifying patient or personal caregiver shall not be considered to be in possession of more than a 90-day supply at the location of a restricted access area used collectively by more than one patient, so long as the total amount of cannabis within the restricted access area is not more than a 90-supply for all the participating qualifying patients. A copy of each qualifying patient’s written recommendation shall be retained at the shared cultivation facility
          2. Qualified patients shall provide the following in order to be considered for a personal production license to produce medical cannabis:
            (1)  a description of the single indoor or outdoor location that shall be used in the production of cannabis;                
            (2)  a written plan that ensures that the cannabis production shall not be visible from the street or other public areas;
          3. (3)  a written acknowledgement that the applicant will ensure that all cannabis, cannabis-derived products and paraphernalia is accessible only by the applicant, collective members and/or their primary caregiver (if any), and kept secure and out of reach of children;
          4. (4)  a description of any device or series of devices that shall be used to provide security and proof of the secure grounds; and
            (5)  a written acknowledgement of the limitations of the right to use and possess cannabis for medical purposes in New Mexico.
          5. Cultivation facility” means a business that:
            1. Is registered with the Department of Agriculture; and (we should be having Dept. of Ag involved)
            2. Acquires, possesses, cultivates, harvests, dries, cures, trims, and packages cannabis and other related supplies for the purpose of delivery, transfer, transport, supply, or sales to:
            (a) dispensing facilities;
            (b) processing facilities;
            (c) manufacturing facilities;
            (d) other cultivation facilities;
            (e) research facilities.
            (f) independent testing laboratories.

        1. LNPP Plant Count minimum ratio of 3 cannabis plants per enrolled patient. Based on yearly program totals. Thus; if there are 30,000 patients x 3 cannabis plants  = 90,000 cannabis plants / 35 LNPP = 2,571.43 max allowable cannabis plants per LNPP. ( Minimum standard set by MCAB / Plant Count adjusted yearly for program growth )
          1.    Plant count increase structured : 1000 plants by July 1st 2017 then 2000 by July 1st 2018 and then 571 by July 2019   
      1. Licensing fee structure changed and lowered.
        1. The department shall assess a nonrefundable fee not greater than five hundred dollars ($500) for processing an application for a new or renewal license.
        2. For a new or renewal processor license, medical wholesale license or medical retail license, the department shall charge an annual license fee of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000).
        3. For a new or renewal production license, the department shall charge an annual license fee of:
          1. Fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000), if the producer will possess up to one hundred fifty cannabis plants;
          2. and an additional five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each additional fifty cannabis plants the producer will possess;
          3. Cannabis and HEMP CBD strains at ratio of;                            1.5 thc  (or lower) : 1 cbd (or higher) are not counted against patient/caregiver or LNPP allowable plant count.
          4. Clones and Cuttings provided to qualified patient / caregiver with a PPL by a LNPP’s are not counted against LNPP allowable plant count.
          5. provided, however, that the maximum fee charged for a new or renewal production license shall not exceed forty-five thousand dollars ($45,000) per LNPP.  The annual license fees provided for in this section are nonrefundable and shall be paid by upon the issuance of a license.
          6. Any resulting legalization of cannabis for adult recreational in the state of New Mexico, shall use a licensing fee structure; respectively, $4000 Annual Lic/$30,000 Production Lic/$7,500 per additional fifty cannabis plants.
            1. 7.10 percent of recreational cannabis sales are returned into the medical cannabis program to maintain and improve the program
      2. Licensure Limit Established: LNPP 1 Grow Location : 3 Store Fronts
        1. Current producers granted additional license per application review and program standards met
      3. Time Period for new producers to open; 120 days Expected / Letter sent given final 45 days before forfeiture of license.
      4. The Department of Health shall employ 3 staff members to provide medical cannabis health education.
      5. The Department of Health shall also establish a training or certification program for dispensary employees. Certification and/or medical standards established for dispensary staff.
    1. Proper administering of LECUA protections - Section 4.
      Section 4 of the Law: Exemptions from Criminal and Civil Penalties for the Medical Use of Cannabis.  This aspect has been greatly neglected for the Parents as Patients in the program, who have children. And the many concerns and fears they have that have not been addressed by the Department of Health.
    2. Increasing the types of qualifying health conditions in the State’s Medical Cannabis Program to ensure safe access for one’s own health and well being.
    3. Removal of: L Maximum Concentration of THC in Concentrates
    4. Removal of the 2015 change to PPL Application to be compliant with HIPPA and the intent of the LECUA
    5. Presumptive eligibility and once a patient is accepted into the program,  registry and PPL identification cards should be set at a 3 - 5 yr renewal basis. The Department can then do yearly address verification by mail all while maintaining safe access to medical cannabis.
      1. Reciprocity -Recognition of nonresident medical cannabis cards.
        1. Recognition of nonresident cards

          (A) The (STATE) and the medical cannabis dispensing facilities in this State which hold valid medical cannabis establishment registration certificates will recognize a medical cannabis registry identification card issued by another state or the District of Columbia only under the following circumstances:
          1. The state or jurisdiction from which the holder or bearer obtained the nonresident card grants an exemption from criminal prosecution for the medical use of cannabis;
          2. The nonresident card has an expiration date and has not yet expired;
          3. The holder or bearer of the nonresident card signs an affidavit in a form prescribed by the Department which sets forth that the holder or bearer is entitled to engage in the medical use of cannabis in his or her state or jurisdiction of residence; and
          4. The holder or bearer of the nonresident card is in possession of no more than a 90-day supply of cannabis.
          (B)  For the purposes of the reciprocity described in this section:
          1. The amount of medical cannabis that the holder or bearer of a nonresident card is entitled to possess in his or her state or jurisdiction of residence is not relevant; and
          2. Under no circumstances, while in this State, may the holder or bearer of a nonresident card possess cannabis for medical purposes in excess of a 90-day supply of cannabis.

    1. INCREASE MEMBERSHIP of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. I think it is clear the Department of Health needs to be directed by lawmakers to update the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, to consist of 12 members to be appointed by the Director and reviewed by this Committee. A quorum of the advisory board shall consist 6 members. As this will strongly complement the eight nationally board-certified practitioners in their area of specialty and knowledgeable about the medical use of cannabis current on the Board. Updating the MCAB membership would then also be a reflection of the New Mexicans that the program was created to serve.
      1. Whereas: New members of the MCAB are to be: at least one person who possesses a qualifying patient's registry identification card, at least one person who is a designated primary caregiver of one or more qualifying patients, at least one person who is an officer, board member, or other responsible party for a licensed medical cannabis dispensing facility, and at least one qualifying patient who is either a Armed Forces Veteran or prior Law Enforcement/Fire/EMT Veteran status.

      1. Whereas: The MCAB shall meet at least four times per year, at times and places specified by the Director to be feasible for the patient community and public to attend.

      1. Whereas: The Department shall provide staff support to the committee.

      1. Whereas:  All agencies of state government are directed to assist the Committee in the performance of its duties and, to the extent permitted by laws relating to confidentiality, to furnish information and advice that the members of the committee consider necessary to perform their duties.
    1. Advocate for House Bill 466 to be brought back ( D. Armstrong in 2015 ) to provide for medical cannabis research, medical cannabis research board, & medical cannabis research fund. ( For the MCP )
    2. Proper decriminalization & legalization of cannabis in the State of New Mexico by providing education and information through scientific research and medical research to State Legislators & Agencies with an active hand in writing legislation that protects & benefits the Medical Program.

The state of New Mexico should legalize recreational cannabis and industrial hemp to first and foremost start paying the state legislators.  A hybrid state legislature: Meeting for most of the year and pays the legislators as full-time employees. They can serve the constituents well because of their extended time in office and ability to devote more time to each issue. A regular session of no less than 120 calendar days, every other year make it no less than 60 days in session, and allow legislators to enact a special session under a three-fourths majority vote when needed.

Of the three most crucial budget demands upon the state: Public Schools, Medicaid, and Higher Education. Combined they provide the true economic and social multiplier with the greatest opportunity of success for the state’s residents and the state’s economy. Providing funding for these invaluable programs in our state can be achieved with recreational cannabis and industrial hemp legalization; in conjunction with the utilization of solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources. The revenues from recreational cannabis legalization and industrial hemp legalization alone can further fund our Medicaid program in a sound manner.   And it will also decrease that dependence upon the federal government and pave a path for much needed economic growth in several private sector areas.  

We need to define a model for cannabis legalization, that protects and improves the state’s medical cannabis and puts patients first as well, along with allowing their physicians to provide the same level of care with medical cannabis as they do with other medications.
The state has the renewable resources to potentially provide 1,000 times more clean energy than Public Service Company of New Mexico’s current demand, according to the state Energy Conservation and Management Division.  

New Mexico has the potential to be a national leader in the rapidly growing clean energy economy. Wind and solar power development is increasing, largely thanks to great resource potential, declining costs, and a successful state-level requirement that utilities supply 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. Thus, moving forward in this way would accelerate the state’s clean energy transition while delivering important economic, consumer, and public health benefits.

In order for the Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program allow for the medical treatment of cannabis, the Department must properly have “adequate supply”.  For the Department to have “adequate supply” they would need to know the different amounts of plant material that goes into all the different types of medicine being produced. Dried cannabis flower (bud), pre-rolls, edibles, tinctures, topicals/salves, and concentrated forms of cannabis all require different amounts of cannabis plant material to produce.

This is empirical data that has not been collected within the state’s medical cannabis program by the Department of Health. Therefore “adequate supply” can not be properly defined by the department by using unknown variables it has not collected. This further prevents the Department of Health from being able to set a proper plant count for each producer in the program for the means of achieving adequate supply within the medical cannabis program as required by law.

How is the purpose of the act able to be fulfilled ?
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 26-2B-2 (2009)
    § 26-2B-2. Purpose of act
The purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act [26-2B-1 NMSA 1978] 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.
HISTORY: Laws 2007, ch. 210, § 2.
EFFECTIVE DATES. --Laws 2007, ch. 210, § 12 makes the act effective July 1, 2007.”
The current format being used by the Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program in devising adequate supply does not allow for the beneficial use of medical cannabis. This has further prevented patients from fully being able to alleviate symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.
The approval of these Policy And Reform Goals would strengthen the MCP and bring the Department of Health in compliance with the intent of the law and uphold the spirit of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007.  New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978.  After public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis...the first law.

WHEREAS cannabis (marijuana) has been used as a medicine for at least 5,000 years and can be effective for serious medical conditions for which conventional medications fail to provide relief;

WHEREAS modern medical research has shown that cannabis can slow the progression of such serious diseases as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and stop HIV and cancer cells from spreading; has both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties; can alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy, PTSD and multiple sclerosis; is useful in the treatment of depression, anxiety and other mental disorders; and can help reverse neurological damage from brain injuries and stroke;

WHEREAS the World Health Organization has acknowledged the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids, the primary active compounds found in cannabis, including as an anti-depressant, appetite stimulant, anticonvulsant and anti-spasmodic, and identified cannabinoids as beneficial in the treatment of asthma, glaucoma, and nausea and vomiting related to illnesses such as cancer and AIDS;

WHEREAS the American Medical Association has called for the review of the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance to allow for clinical research and the development of cannabinoid-based medicines;

WHEREAS the National Cancer Institute has concluded that cannabis has antiemetic effects and is beneficial for appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep among cancer patients;

WHEREAS the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and the American Herbal Products Association have developed qualitative standards for the use of cannabis as a botanical medicine;

WHEREAS the U.S. Supreme Court has long noted that states may operate as “laboratories of democracy” in the development of innovative public policies;

WHEREAS twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that allow for the medical use of cannabis;

WHEREAS seventeen additional states have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of therapeutic compounds extracted from the cannabis plant;

WHEREAS more than 17 years of state-level experimentation provides a guide for state and federal law and policy related to the medical use of cannabis;

WHEREAS accredited educational curricula concerning the medical use of cannabis have been established that meets Continuing Medical Education requirements for practicing physicians;

WHEREAS Congress has prohibited the federal Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with and prosecute those acting in compliance with their state medical cannabis laws, and the Department of Justice has issued guidance to U.S. Attorneys indicating that enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act is not a priority when individual patients and their care providers are in compliance with state law, and that federal prosecutors should defer to state and local enforcement so long as a viable state regulatory scheme is in place.