Saturday, February 4, 2017

14 Facts For Legalization in New Mexico

The Cannabis Revenue & Freedom Act

Photo Credit: MedicalJane

According to the
National Conference of State Legislators,  total of 28 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical marijuana and cannabis programs and 17 more states allow use of "low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD)" products for medical reasons. Eight states and the District of Columbia now have legalized small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use. State cannabis policy reform surged forward on Nov. 8, 2016, with voters in four states, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, approving adult-use recreational cannabis; Colorado and Washington measures passed in 2012, and Alaska, Oregon and District of Columbia in the fall of 2014.  That is 45 states with legal cannabis laws and 8 of those states have complete legal adult use of cannabis.

At least 30 states passed legislation related to industrial hemp. Generally, states have taken three approaches: (1) establish industrial hemp research and/or pilot programs, (2) authorize studies of the industrial hemp industry, or (3) establish commercial industrial hemp programs. At least 16 states have legalized industrial hemp production for commercial purposes and 20 states have passed laws allowing research and pilot programs. Seven states—Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Virginia—have approved the creation of both pilot/research and commercial programs.

Seven Facts Why New Mexico Should Legalize Cannabis

  1. Cannabis is Medicine and the Federal Government has a Patent for it.  The U.S. Patent Office issued patent #6630507 to the U.S.Health and Human Services filed on 2/2/2001. The patent lists the use of cannabinoids found within the plant cannabis sativa plant as useful in certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and HIV dementia. Since cannabis sativa (marijuana) contains compounds recognized and endorsed by an agency of the U.S. government- Why is it that cannabis remains on the Federal Schedule One list of drugs? The issuance of patent #6630507 is a direct contradiction of the Government’s own definition for classification of a Schedule 1 drug. The U.S. government’s own National Institutes of Health researchers even concluded: “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that Information on safety is lacking.” Maybe there are some big pharma lobbyists and bigwig campaign finance contributors that would get a little upset. In article in American-Statesman staff writer Jeremy Schwartz in 2012 noted that in 2011, “the Pentagon spent more on pills, injections and vaccines than it did on Black Hawk helicopters, Abrams tanks, Hercules C-130 cargo planes and Patriot missiles — combined.” The military spent at least $2.7 billion on antidepressants and more than $1.6 billion on opioid painkillers such as Oxycontin and hydrocodone over the past decade. More than $507 million was spent on the sleeping pill Ambien and its generic equivalents.”  the pharmaceutical industry spent about $1.7 million for more than 1,400 trips for Defense Department doctors and pharmacists to places such as Paris, Las Vegas and New Orleans between 1998 and 2007.  All those Pills killed a lot of Veterans, Cannabis has a 3000 year history with zero deaths associated with it.  "The American Medical Association has no objection to any reasonable regulation of the medicinal use of cannabis and its preparations and derivatives. It does pretest, however, against being called upon to pay a special tax, to use special order forms in order to procure the drug, to keep special records concerning its professional use and to make special returns to the Treasury Department officials, as a condition precedent to the use of cannabis in the practice of medicine."                     
    ~Wm. C. Woodward, Legislative Counsel - 11:37 AM Monday, July 12, 1937
  2. Nowhere in the US Constitution is it written that the federal government can regulate cannabis. The Constitution defines the powers of the federal government, and according to the Tenth Amendment, if it’s not in the Constitution, it’s a state power. States’ rights have advanced state medical cannabis programs since the 1970’s and paved the way for states with legal adult use of cannabis, states should continue on that same policy path for the issue of cannabis research. States like Washington and Oregon should get full commendations on leading the way for states’ rights in the act of “legislating” for freedom by breaking tyrannical barriers for research on a plant with so much promise. Prohibition of cannabis is not a fundamental right that should be imposed on the states by the federal government, it’s a choice that states should be allowed to make based on their culture and their values-allowing states to once again be laboratories of democracy. "...a state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country." - Justice Louis Brandeis

  1. Cannabis is a cash crop. So let’s talk economy. New Mexico’s economy continues to be one of the slowest growing economies in the country.  The state budget shortfalls for 2016 totals near $600 million, and this slow economic growth by the state reveals too much dependence on the federal government and oil revenues. Colorado cannabis tax revenues now greatly exceeds original estimates of $70 million per year. Canada has had industrial hemp since 1998, and farmers there have reported net profits of $200 to $250 per acre. Most Canadian hemp is exported to the United States. The Colorado Tourism Office reports that 12% are visiting Colorado dispensaries and 5% specifically due to cannabis legalization there. The activities that cannabis tourist reported engaging in included: sightseeing and wine tours, historical sites, hiking, camping, mountain biking, winter snow sports, nightlife, festivals and farmers' markets, according to the survey.  All great activities in New Mexico with a Balloon Fiesta to boot. Colorado was the first to allow recreational cannabis sales in January 2014, followed by Washington in July 2014, and then Oregon sales began October 2015. Since then Headset Inc, found that the average recreational consumer spends $647 annually on cannabis.
  2. Cannabis is 114 Times Less Toxic Than That Other Legal Substance, Alcohol.  In a comparative analysis on the risks of recreational drugs, alcohol was the top contender, while cannabis was considered the lowest risk, making cannabis literally 114 times safer to use than alcohol, a legal substance for adults ages 21 and up.  And with that mention of alcohol we know the DUI problem New Mexico has...In late December 2016, Research and Practice, a peer-reviewed science journal, published an article that briefly turned the marijuana world on its head. Cosigned by a half-dozen Columbia University PhDs, “U.S. Traffic Fatalities, 1985-2014, and Their Relationship To Medical Marijuana Laws” came to the following shocking conclusion: “Both MMLs (medical marijuana laws) and dispensaries were associated with reductions in traffic fatalities, especially those among aged 25 to 44 years.” In other words, these scientists said, when it comes to driving, states with legal cannabis laws save lives.
  3. Legalization Hasn’t Led to Increased Use Among Teens and Minors.  Since cannabis was legalized in Colorado, many feared that it would lead to increased consumption among youth. In fact, legalization has had the exact opposite effect – due to education and regulations restricting use to adults, the percentage of teenagers in Colorado who admit to using cannabis has been steadily dropping from 22% to 20% between 2011 and 2013, and remains below the national average at 23.4%.  
  4. Cannabis As An Exit Drug for Addiction.  In New Mexico, according to the Department of Health, the drug overdose rate in 2014 was still twice that of the national average. It was the #1 cause of unintentional injury or death in New Mexico. Seventy-five percent of those drug overdose deaths involving opioids or heroin. During the time period of 2001 - 2014, medical prescription sales of opioids increased 236% in New Mexico.  That's lead to an average of 10 New Mexicans dying per week. New Mexico saw a statistically significant increase from 2013-2014 in overdose deaths caused by opioids. According to CDC state data, a increase of 20.8% in opioid overdose deaths was reported. "Research suggests that people are using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication." Says a lead investigator on addiction, Zach Walsh, a professor of psychology at University of British Columbia.  For example, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a 25 percent lower rate of opioid overdose deaths in states with legal medical cannabis, compared to those without such laws.  Another study, published in Health Affairs, found that in states with medical marijuana, each doctor wrote 1,800 fewer annual opioid prescriptions. A study by the Rand Institute showed that medical cannabis states have not only lower overdose death rates — but also lower opioid addiction rates. And, research conducted with chronic pain patients found that those who used medical marijuana were able to reduce opioid by use by 64 percent — while experiencing fewer side effects and better quality of life. Other research, meanwhile, finds reductions in the number of drivers age 21- 40 involved in fatal crashes with opioids in their system in medical cannabis states.
  1. The state of New Mexico should legalize cannabis and 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 much better because of their extended time in office and ability to devote more time to each issue. New Mexico is the only state with a unsalaried legislature. Providing funding for a paid legislature and state budget reform can be achieved with cannabis and hemp legalization; in conjunction with the utilization of solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources. The state has the renewable resources to potentially provide 1,000 times more clean energy than the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s current demand, according to the state Energy Conservation and Management Division. This will create jobs, has vast potential for the state universities to benefit, and creates a new business market to keep college graduates in New Mexico.States have a paid rather than volunteer fire departments, law enforcement, health-care workers, and teachers, to name a few. The reason is that we rightly expect increased reliability, productivity, and professionalism when we pay for services as opposed to them being provided voluntarily.

Seven Facts Why New Mexico Should Legalize Hemp

  1. Hemp Defined. Noun (noun: hemp; noun: Indian hemp; plural noun: Indian hemps)
    The cannabis plant, especially when grown for its fiber, the fiber of the cannabis plant, extracted from the stem and It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed. Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp are both members of the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique biochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has extremely low concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which eliminates its psychoactive effects. Hemp nutritional properties are;  Protein: 31.56 g (per 100 g), Energy: 585.8 Calories (per 100 g), Iron: 7.95 mg (per 100 g), Magnesium: 700 mg (per 100 g), Potassium: 1.2 g (per 100 g), & Calcium: 70 mg (per 100 g) ~ All Good For The Human Body!
  2. Bullet Proof With Hemp. Legalizing Hemp In New Mexico Will Save The Lives Of Police.
    Hemp fiber is stronger than kevlar fiber. Compared to the system of creating Kevlar or forging metal, growing hemp is an all-natural process requiring only soil, sun, water and time. Hemp is better for the environment because of this, but also because the material created out of hemp is still biodegradable, as opposed to plastic. The final material is also lighter than Kevlar or steel, which is good news for soldiers who have to wear nearly 31 pounds of body armor to protect themselves. Many decades later, military scientists are looking for newer and lighter body armors for the modern soldier. While Kevlar has been the mainstay for nearly a generation, the search remains for something even stronger to protect wearers from harm. Hemp plastic might just be it. It is already understood in the automobile industry that parts created out of hemp are ten times stronger than steel, and many cars use them already. Why not apply the same technological theory to body armor?
    Bulletproof Hemp2A company in Amsterdam called Hemp Works already offers a hefty bulletproof jacket called the Hemp Hoodlamb that is rated at a respectable level II-A, which the manufacturers claim has been tested with .22, 9mm and .357 magnum bullets. This could be done in New Mexico and be a new industry that creates: jobs, income for the state and saves lives!
Photo Credit: ireadculture
  1. Hemp Is A Cash Crop.  Hemp legalization for New Mexico in conjunction with the utilization of solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources would be a giant leap forward in breaking it’s dependence on the federal government and oil revenues. This will create jobs, has vast potential for the state universities to benefit, and creates a new business market to keep college graduates in New Mexico.  In spite of the absence of rules or regulations, some existing academic institutions, including New Mexico State University, Santa Fe Community College and the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, have expressed interest in studies ranging from seed research, food and nutraceuticals, to pharmaceutical grade CBD—a compound found in hemp—for potential epilepsy and cancer medicines. Recent economic reports suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is at a minimum $600 million per year. Industry observers count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s number-one importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world. Canada has had industrial hemp since 1998, and farmers there have reported net profits of $200 to $250 per acre. Most Canadian hemp is exported to the United States.
  2. The “Hemp Amendment”. Early in 2014, President Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The “hemp amendment”: …allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oil-seed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law. In short, current federal law authorizes the farming of hemp – by research institutions only, for research only. These states also authorizes commercial farming and production.
  1. Hemp Cleans Air, Eats Radiation, And Cleans Toxic Metals From Soil. New Mexico sues EPA, mine owners over massive gold mine waste spill. ... The Gold King Mine rupture, which was “accidentally” triggered by an EPA inspection team called there to inspect seepage, unleashed a torrent of yellow sludge that contained high concentrations of heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead -3 million gallons of heavy metal sludge from the shuttered Gold King Mine gushed into a tributary of the Animas River, the Navajo Nation is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for what it sees as negligence in cleaning up the disaster. Many Navajo and New Mexicans are worried about potential long-term health effects from the heavy metals that have settled into the river sediment upstream from the Navajo Nation. Snowmelt and heavy rains can dredge up that sediment and send it coursing downstream once again.In other words, not only does hemp provide humans with innumerable products, it also helps to clean the environment of the mistakes we have made in the past. It has already been discovered that hemp may be extremely useful in the removal of cadmium from the soil and other toxic metals, as well as radiation. As cannabis journalist and researcher Seshata notes in her article “Hemp and the Decontamination of Radioactive Soil” – a number of studies that demonstrate hemp’s durability in the face of pollutants as well as its ability to remove metals from the soil. The concentration of this type of soil pollution has increased greatly in many locations across the world since the start of the industrial revolution, Claire Moore, plant biologist and laboratory manager at Michigan-based cannabis testing facility Iron Labs, told Extract in an email.
    “Phytoremediation describes the treatment of environmental problems, often contamination with heavy metals, through the use of plants that help mitigate the contamination without the need to excavate the offending contaminant(s) and dispose of it elsewhere,” she explains.
    It’s a relatively new technology that’s gaining international attention due to its cost-effective, non-intrusive method of “exploiting the ability of certain species of plants to remediate pollutants from contaminated sites,” Moore said.Researchers at Nova Institute, an ecology R&D group based in Germany, found that hemp has a “favorable influence on the soil structure” because it curtails the presence of nematodes and fungi, and it has a high shading capacity that suppresses weed growth. In one study cited by the researchers, a hemp rotation was found to increase wheat yields by 10 to 20 percent. Hemp can also grow in the most inhospitable and otherwise useless soils, such as those polluted by heavy metals. Grown alone, used in rotation or planted on abandoned farmland, hemp is an environmental win.
  2. Legalization of hemp in New Mexico would also help facilitate a Navajo Tribe resolution to grow industrial hemp. According to a report published in Forbes, the Navajo will work with CannaNative to develop industrial hemp farming. The organization assists tribes in developing hemp and cannabis-based economies on Native American lands throughout the United States. Tribal lands cover parts of New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The farm where they plan to begin industrial hemp production is in New Mexico. Such a move would be entirely legal; as a sovereign nation, the Navajo Nation would not need the approval of the New Mexico state legislature or the Governor to move into industrial hemp cultivation and the light manufacture of derivative products as an economic opportunity. The same opportunity applies to any pueblo in New Mexico that might want to explore it. They can proceed with or without state legalization, but eliminating a layer of state laws would certainly make the path toward developing a hemp economy smoother. In April 2015 \, Governor Martinez vetoed a bill legalizing hemp production within the state. She cited contradictions between state and federal law, despite the fact of the “Hemp Amendment” (mentioned above #4). Early in 2014, President Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing states to begin limited research programs growing hemp.. With most state legislatures having taken action to promote industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity in recent years, it’s time for New Mexico to join those ranks.
  1. Forest Cover and Biodiversity. Although more than 95 percent of paper is made from wood pulp, hemp can play the same role. It can be recycled twice as many times as wood pulp, it can produce three to four times as much fiber per hectare as typical forests and even twice as much as a pine plantation. These abilities discussed by Dr. Ernest Small, Principal Research Scientist at the Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada, suggests that more reliance on industrial hemp could reduce dependence on old growth forests, which host the world’s greatest concentrations of biodiversity and absorb carbon dioxide. Forests can’t keep up with the pace of deforestation, but hemp could keep up with our appetite for paper products. Popular Mechanics dubbed hemp “the new billion dollar crop” in 1938, claiming that it “can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to cellophane.” And when World War II demanded the full industrial might of the U.S., hemp restrictions were temporarily lifted and production reached its peak in 1943 when American farmers grew 150 million pounds of hemp. It was manufactured into shoes, ropes, fire hoses and even parachute webbing for soldiers fighting the war.

Legalization Is About Freedom And Good Health

In the Roundhouse on the House side, Representatives Bill McCamley,  Javier Martinez, and Deborah A. Armstrong- are all strong supporters of the medical cannabis program who want to see it to be protected and improved. For all New Mexicans our best platform to date for the legalization of cannabis is HB-89: Cannabis revenue & Freedom Act,  by Bill McCamley and Javier Martinez as it follows the the legislative process with the sequence of steps required for laws to move through the system, from ideas to formally adopted legislation.

New Mexico has taken the first steps needed towards legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis and hemp.As New Mexico works to define a model for cannabis legalization that protects and improves the state’s medical cannabis program and puts patients first as well, lawmakers have a lot of history to contend with. 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). In an Albuquerque Journal poll conducted in October 2016, 61 percent of likely voters said they would support a measure to legalize recreational cannabis for adults age 21 and older. As all use of cannabis has true therapeutic aspects and the state budget can benefit from it

“New Mexico won’t see people coming across the border like we see with Colorado,” said Richard Anklam, Executive Director of the New Mexico Tax Research Institute. “The sooner we do it (legalization), the more likely we would have an initial positive effect.”
To contact your New Mexico State Legislator and voice your opinion go to, Find My Legislator or call the Roundhouse at (505) 986-4600.

Appendix A: An Americans for Safe Access (ASA) national report was released on December 8th, 2016 and calls for an end to contradictions between federal and state guidelines with regard to medical cannabis policies. The Americans for Safe Access briefing book, “Medical Cannabis in America”, showing that not only do opiate related deaths drop an average of 24.8% in states with medical cannabis laws, the report also notes that the Department of Justice has spent an estimated $592 million to date in arrests, investigations, enforcement raids, pretrial services, incarceration, and probation.
About Americans for Safe Access.
The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.  ASA was founded in 2002, by medical cannabis patient Steph Sherer, as a vehicle for patients to advocate for the acceptance of cannabis as medicine. With over 100,000 active members in all 50 states, ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political, social and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, research, grassroots empowerment, advocacy and services for patients, government's, medical professionals, and medical cannabis providers.

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-eight 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.

by Jason Barker