Thursday, February 16, 2017

LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico

Lynn & Erin Compassionate Use Act Patient’s Coalition of New Mexico ~ A GrassRoots Movement!
(All Rights Reserved 04/20/2016)

By Jason Barker - Organizer & Medical Cannabis Patient
LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico

Establishing the LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico is a great way to formally bring together like-minded activists in OUR medical cannabis community to work together toward ensuring safe access to medical cannabis. LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico will provide a state network of activists and goals to provide a national coalition network and staff; who work together on a regular basis to achieve shared goals. A great grassroots movement brings together vibrant activists in an environment of mutual respect, shared responsibility, and constructive political activism and creates a space for new advocates to plug into the movement. The ideal grassroots movement is networked into the larger community and is a constructive voice for patients, future patients and providers of medical cannabis in the state of New Mexico.

The best grassroots movements combine the art of conversation with skilled activism. They are considered by elected officials to be a principled voice and smart resource for community leaders who are interested in addressing the question of medical cannabis. The primary focus is on Medical Cannabis, LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico is solely focused on expanding safe access to medical cannabis in New Mexico.

The LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico is the only patient led group in the State with a primary focus on medical cannabis, providing patient community advocacy, and the only group that has no outside financial influences from program producers or ancillary businesses in the medical cannabis program.

This means that LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico position does support legalization of cannabis for nonmedical therapeutic purposes or on related issues, such as incarceration or sentencing standards for recreational drug use; this support will be to provide advocacy for policy writing that first & foremost protects and improves the spirit and intent of the LECUA, 2007, protects and improves the Medical Cannabis Program in said legislation, and  improves the State Department of Health Medical Cannabis Rules & Regulations.

We Must Organize effectively and with Inclusion to the community...
Good legislative and program policy is created when those who are most affected are at the table. By the end of 2016, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program will be close to 35,000 participants!
The Voice of the Medical Cannabis Community is NOT at that Legislation Policy Table right now.
It’s time to organize and establish a steering committee. The State Medical Cannabis Community Voice should have a spot at the Policy Table. A Voice from an advocacy organization that puts the medical aspects of cannabis First! The primary focus is on Medical Cannabis, LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico is solely focused on expanding safe access to medical cannabis in New Mexico. All use of cannabis is medical.
The Steering Committee would be with no single leader and make all decisions by consensus.  Would like to see a minimum base or five people and hope to see representation to hear all perspectives such as; a Patient, a Caregiver, a Community member, a Patient with Veteran status, and dispensary/producer representative, a Provider member from in the program, a ancillary business member, and a Parent in the Program.  ( Open to all - Physical presence not required / Online thru Google Hangouts ) As new patient-oriented groups have formed recently in New Mexico, a dictatorial decision and organizing process was utilized and this has been true for other State patient “advocacy” groups--- that process WILL NOT be used here. That process does not foster community or advocacy.

While many different issues bring people to the issue of medical cannabis, the following are the beliefs and values that guide our work at LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico
· Cannabis is medicine and the truth is becoming more widely known and recognized
· Government should guide policy on compassion, care and scientific research
· The current federal policy on medical cannabis is hypocritical, immoral and a violation of basic human rights
· Government must be accountable to the people
· Everyone should have the right to produce, acquire
and use their own medicine

Nonpartisan Statement: LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico cannot endorse candidates for elected office. This would be a violation of the organization's nonpartisan and nonprofit status. LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico are also not allowed to use funds to make contributions to candidates' political campaigns. However, it is acceptable—and highly encouraged—to seek candidates' positions on medical cannabis issues. It is also highly encouraged to invite political candidates to meetings or even host a meet and greet with candidates so they can get to know patients and LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico members in their community. In addition, it is perfectly legal for  to campaign for or against ballot initiatives, referenda, state constitutional amendments, bond measures, or similar measures. Any position that LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico takes will be in line with the focus on safe access to medical cannabis.
LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico is NOT:

• Group that dispense medication
• Group that are linked to an individual medical cannabis provider
• Commercial entities or group that makes commercial endorsements or promotions

The LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico, as a grassroots organization, will be the leader in New Mexico amongst medical cannabis patients groups; setting the tone for respectful communication, fiscal integrity, and transparency in decisions and plans. Members will have a clear sense of how funds are spent, how decisions are made, and why they are all valued members of a team! As a group we will be seeking transparency from others and the LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico will always be transparent itself.

We have all almost certainly heard the phrase "medical cannabis movement," but have you stopped to consider what a movement is? And what it means to be a part of a "grassroots" movement? In terms of community organizing, a movement is simply a group of people who come together consciously, at their own cost, to accomplish a goal. The definition we use at LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico, is that a movement is a group of people who come together to change outdated laws concerning medical cannabis, while providing support for those who are harmed by existing law.

Some people say that a movement is not a movement until others outside the group know it exists. This is a good point. The goal of organizing is to change minds and laws, so grassroots movements must reach out to the broader public. But all movements start small and local. It is up to all of us and our like-minded neighbors, friends and patients we know- to plant the seeds and grow the movement locally!   

Movement leaders do not tell the grassroots members what to do or believe. Instead, they listen to the community and look to the members for solutions.

After all, the medical cannabis movement exists to get medicine to patients and support the victims of bad laws. A clear focus on that mission helps us set priorities and make decisions not governed by politics, public relations, or economics.  As custodians to our grassroots movement, LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico can help provide you with the tools you need to build the powerful grassroots base that will foster real change as our group moves forward. We all have a role in being sure that this grassroots movement grows, stays true to its roots, and acts like a mature social change movement. Dialogue and discussion are necessary and we need to be able to listen non-defensively and communicate respectfully if we are going to achieve the goals we want for our medical cannabis program and future legalization legislation policies.

I think it’s really important for all people within OUR medical cannabis community to know THEY are the power; the government, legislators & policy makers are lead to us and We have the power to change the laws and government - people in it, policy being written, and overturning rules & regulations that disrupt safe access to our medicine. Not one state’s medical cannabis law is perfect, they are working pieces of democracy and this is where WE can establish patient lead policy in New Mexico. We have the science, the research, the knowledge - the information the policy makers don’t have and we need to get it in front of legislators.

All you have to do is get involved...
-On Facebook, search “LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico” for the Facebook Group Discussion Page and the Facebook Community Page. Most current details for the Coalition will be there.

  A strong and healthy movement must be led from the ground up. The term "grassroots" refers to a movement that is created and driven by the concerns of a community. This differs from political movements orchestrated from the top-down by politicians, political parties, or special interest groups. Our Foundation Will Be All People In Our Medical Cannabis Community.
 And foremost of importance, a true grassroots movement looks civil and is civil. Your behavior to one another , the medical cannabis community and the community at large is what will distinguish a movement from a mob. Resist the temptation to be exclusionary or hostile as they will never be part of this movement here! . Welcome those who share your core beliefs and want to work in goodwill with you.
You do not have to agree about everything inside a movement. But infighting, accusations, and rivalries will bring unwanted negative attention, splinter medical cannabis supporters, and this makes everyone weaker.
Accountability and transparency are of high relevance for a grass movement like this in medical cannabis from this group and ALL others alike...In view of their responsibilities important for all people within OUR medical cannabis community , they are considered to be of even greater importance to them than to commercial undertakings. Yet these same values are often found to be lacking in some groups - never here.

Because a grassroots movement springs from the community, it also looks like the community. Members should mirror the community at large in age, gender, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc. Diversity matters if the movement hopes to speak for all medical cannabis patients in the community. We need everyone's input to get across the big picture.

Having a bottom-up focus will protect the integrity of our grassroots medical cannabis movement.  After all, the medical cannabis movement exists to get medicine to patients and support the victims of bad laws. A clear focus on that mission helps us set priorities and make decisions not governed by politics, public relations, or economics.

Democracy : of Greek Origin; Demos (the people-in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights)

Structure .jpg

Progress Of Policy & Reform Goals:
LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico

Progress Of Policy & Reform Goals are highlighted in yellow with reference to the legislation by bill number that is currently addressing them. They are in committee discussions and going thru the legislative process, they are not passed or signed into law (as of February 4th 2017).

  1. LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico: LECUA ACT, 2007,  Policy & Reform Goals To :
(These policy and reform goals that have been collected from the patient community all over the state online & in discussion in the last nine months and is beneficial for patients, producers, providers of the program and the state.)
    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. (HB-89/SB-278)
      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 ).                  (SB-177)
      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. (HB-155)        

    1. Revisions to licensing requirements for MCP LNPP’s
      1. Plant count for patients & producers properly structured and increased. (SB-177)
      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. (HB-155)
        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.(SB-177)
        2. The addition of Cooperative/Collective PPL’s (HB-89)
          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. (SB-177/HB-89)
        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    (SB-177)
      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. (SB-177)
    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.   (SB-177)
    3. Removal of: L Maximum Concentration of THC in Concentrates    (SB-177)
    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.    (SB-177)
    6. Possibility of opening the program up to allow for more participants statewide;

Section 3. DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act:
B. "debilitating medical condition" means: (1) cancer; (2) glaucoma; (3) multiple sclerosis; (4) damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity; (5) epilepsy; (6) positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome; (7) admitted into hospice care in accordance with rules promulgated by the department; or (8) any other medical condition, medical treatment or disease as approved by the department;
WhereAs (8) [could state the following] “ any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person’s safety, physical, or mental health.”

Reciprocity -Recognition of nonresident medical cannabis cards.
        1. Recognition of nonresident cards     (SB-177)

          (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.
      2. 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.
      3. Whereas: The Department shall provide staff support to the committee.
      4. 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.
    2. 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 )     (HB-155)
    3. Proper decriminalization & legalization of cannabis & hemp 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.   (HB-89 / SB-278 / SB-6 / HB-144 / HB-154 / HB-166)

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.

Appendix A:
Americans For Safe Access Resources for Policy Makers

In This Section

State by State Analysis

This annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates - the patients - and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative and regulatory proposals in 2016, this groundbreaking report will provide state lawmakers with timely tools they need to improve their medical cannabis programs to truly meet the needs of the patients they are meant to serve.

What is the Policy Shop?

Utilizing ASA’s eleven years of experience in implementing medical cannabis laws and our “Legislating Compassion” and “Regulating Compassion” policy tools, ASA staff offer patient advocates and policy makers legislative and regulatory analysis, amendments for legislation and regulations, strategy advice, campaign development and support, and targeted lobbying materials.

ASA Policy Positions

Learn about ASA's policy position on medical cannabis

Model Legislation

This is ASA's principles of Legislating Compassion put into legislative form. This template for state-level legislation includes criminal and civil protections for patients. It also allows for personal cultivation and a dispensing center program. Our Dream Bill!

AHPA Industry Standards

Founded in 1982, AHPA is the oldest of the non-profit organizations that specializes in service to the herbal industry. It is the voice of the herbal products industry and the recognized leader in representing the botanical trade. With more than 300 members, AHPA's membership represents the finest growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of botanical and herbal products.

Guide to Regulating Industry Standards

ASA has created the Patients Focused Certification (PFC) program. PFC is a non-profit, third party certification program for the medical cannabis industry and the nation’s only certification program for the AHPA and AHP standards. PFC is available to all qualifying companies cultivating, manufacturing, or distributing medical cannabis products, as well as to laboratories providing medical cannabis analytic services. PFC offers a comprehensive program that includes employee training, compliance inspections, ongoing monitoring, regulatory updates and an independent complaint process for consumers.