Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Allowing Beneficial Use of Medical Cannabis


The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted Friday, April 7th 2017, to recommend that the state Department of Health add six conditions to the list of health conditions that qualify patients to enroll in the medical cannabis program. Two additional recommendations the board approved April 7th 2017, would be to allow Patients to possess up to 16 ounces of medical cannabis at any given time — up from 8 ounces — and the definition of an “adequate supply” of medical cannabis, which governs how much of the medicine a patient can possess over a 90-day period, also would increase to 16 ounces from 8 ounces. The board also voted to recommend that a patient who is granted a medical exception to the supply limit be allowed to have up to 24 ounces of medical cannabis in a 90-day period.

Patients who grow their own medical cannabis outdoors have complained that it’s difficult with a single annual harvest to strike a balance between possession limits while also producing enough medicine to meet their needs for a whole year. Patients who use large amounts of cannabis to treat their symptoms have said they are forced to choose between adequately medicating themselves and obeying the state law.

The second key recommendation, the board also voted to remove a cap on the THC content that cannabis products can contain. The cap is now set at 70 percent potency of THC. Eliminating the cap would clear the way for patients to use highly concentrated substances, such as extracts known as Rosin, BHO wax and shatter, and Rick Simpson’s oil- a product used by patients with cancer.

During the 2017 Regular Legislative Session, state lawmakers made efforts to legislate a number of changes to the state’s Medical Cannabis Program, Gov. Susana Martinez vetoed one of the bills,  House Bill-527, later that same Friday (April 7th), saying she did so in part because she didn’t want to “eliminate an important responsibility” of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher, who has the final word on changes to the state Medical Cannabis Program, hasn’t decided whether to accept new conditions and petitions the board recommended.

The Governor’s Office has highlighted the importance of such priorities like; Ensuring Transparency and Ethics in Government, and Keeping all New Mexicans Safe. In the Roundhouse, one of the state legislators’ primary functions is to represent the people who elect them, but it is by no means their only function. They help to solve the numerous problems of their constituents, they serve on interim committees and they continually study new ideas for legislation. The Department of Health’s mission is to promote health and wellness, improve health outcomes, and assure safety net services for all people in New Mexico. And the purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use 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.

Looks like there should be absolutely no reason for all of the recommendations made by the doctors on medical cannabis advisory board to be approved.

Is the Medical Cannabis Program out of Compliance with the law, LECUA, 2007?

For those rules and regulations that have been established limiting patients and primary caregivers to having 230 Units (grams) of any amount of medical cannabis for a three month period and the “Maximum THC content of concentrates” limited at 70% THC,this 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 in fact prevents patients from fully being able to alleviate symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments and that creates a liable situation for the state being out of compliance with the LECUA, 2007.

For example, a cancer patient or a patient with chronic pain in the medical cannabis program, for them to be able to receive beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments under the current law; both patients would need to be allowed to use THC concentrates with potency content of 80-95% THC and a minimum quantity of usable medical cannabis of 425.243 grams per 3 months (or 2.5 ounces every two weeks) to be able to producer this medicine. And this same problem is a issues for all qualifying conditions into the medical cannabis program. Types of medicine made from the medical cannabis plants for treating cancer and other debilitating health conditions are a concentrated medical cannabis oils. A three month supply of this concentrated medical cannabis oil requires 450-500 grams (or Units) of dried cannabis flower plant material.  (The oil is also known as, hemp oil, Phoenix Tears, and Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), whole-plant cannabis oil can be orally administered or applied directly to the skin. Sublingual delivery is the preferred method of treatment for many cancer patients.)  

When a cancer patient goes through chemo treatments, do they limit the dosage to only being 70% effective and further limit the dosage amount the patient can have?

"Best RSO is 95-98% THC and extremely potent and sedative (with 70% cure rate).” -Rick Simpson

Representatives Deborah A. Armstrong and Bill McCamley sponsored a Medical Cannabis Research bill, HB 155 in the 2017 Regular Legislative session.  A research assessment of physical and pharmacokinetic relationships in cannabis production and consumption in New Mexico hasn't ever been done in relation to Equivalency in Portion and Dosage for the medical cannabis program. HB-155 passed this year in the House of Representatives (Y:41 N:26), only to be left in the Senate Judiciary Committee with no action taken on it when the lawmakers had the time to do so.

Representative Armstrong had also tried getting a medical cannabis research bill passed in 2015. The legislation in 2015 even had six additional legislative sponsors, passed two committees and then was intentionally left to die. 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 kind of licensed producer in the program for the means of achieving adequate supply within the medical cannabis program as required by law.

Yet we often hear lawmakers in New Mexico say how they need to learn more about cannabis or that there isn’t enough research for this or that; all the while the Roundhouse has now stopped medical cannabis research twice since 2015.  

Facts About The Medical Conditions That Qualify For The Medical Cannabis Program.
Patients in New Mexico diagnosed with one or more of the following medical conditions qualify into the program and are allowed legal protection under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Cancer : Chronic disease, can be treated, & average treatment plan length 5 years or more.
Crohn’s Disease : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: Lasting several years or lifelong.
Epilepsy : Is a chronic neurological disorder. Can't be cured, but treatment does help.
Glaucoma : Chronic, can't be cured, but treatment does help.  ( Can braille cards be printed ? )
Hepatitis C : Chronic, but treatment does help.
HIV/AIDS : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Huntington’s Disease : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Hospice Care :Palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms.
Inclusion Body Myositis : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis Can't be cured, treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Multiple Sclerosis Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord :No cure, treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Painful peripheral neuropathy :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Parkinson’s disease :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Severe Chronic Pain :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Severe Anorexia/Cachexia :Often a sign of disease, such as cancer, AIDS, heart failure, or advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic but treatment does help.
Spasmodic Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia) :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
Ulcerative Colitis: Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.
All of these types of debilitating medical conditions have some common medical facts; treatment plan for 5 years if not lifelong, most all have no cure, all of them are chronic health conditions, and sadly some take a person’s life. They all also require a medical treatment plan with several visits to more than one medical practitioner throughout the course of a year.
Medical Cannabis Programs In Other States Allow Registered Participants To Possess: Colorado 2 ounces, Arizona 2.5 ounces, Oregon 24 ounces, Washington 3 ounces, Vermont 2 ounces, Illinios 2.5 ounces, Maine 2.5 ounces, Nevada 2.5 ounces, and the same trend continues in the other medical cannabis programs. Nor do these programs limit the potency of medical cannabis concentrates.
The approval of ALL the recommendations made by the doctors on the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, would bring the Department of Health in compliance with the intent of the LECUA law and uphold the spirit of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007.  We already saw these same recommendations supported by lawmakers in the state’s legislature.  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:
All Petitions Can Be Viewed Online At:

These Petitions Reviewed By The MCAB, Isn’t A Medical Cannabis Case…
It’s A HealTHCare Case.
                       Petition Action Vote (Y/N)
2017‐012 Add autism as a condition Recommended to add to MCP 3-0
2017‐013 Add anxiety as a condition Recommended to add to MCP 3-1
2017‐014 Add depression Recommended to add to MCP 4-0
2017‐015 Add Concussions, CTE and TBI as conditions Tabled
2017‐016 Add diabetes 0-4
2017‐017 Add Dystonia Recommended to add to MCP 4-0
2017‐018 Add Migraines Recommended to add to MCP 4-0
2017‐019 Add Rheumatoid Arthritis Recommended to expand terms 4-0
(Petition 2017-019 (Title Was TO BE) : Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) To Include:
There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis and related diseases. The most common types include osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), fibromyalgia and gout.   *Printing Error at copy place used wrong cover page…)

2017‐020 Sleep Disorders Recommended to add to MCP 4-0
2017‐021 Substance Abuse Disorder Tabled
2017‐022 Patient Run Collectives Recommended to add to MCP 4-0
2017-005 Change/increase possession limit to 16 oz Recommended to add to MCP 4-0
2017-009 Removal of Max THC Content Recommended Removal of Cap   4-0

Per legal counsel’s input petitions numbered 1,2,3,4, and 11 would require statutory changes or are not covered under the duties of the MCAB and will not be discussed.
2017-001 Add Veteran Status as a Qualifying Condition
2017-002 Allow any chronic condition to be a qualifying condition
2017-003 Change LECUA to give MCAB more authority (increase membership)
2017-004 Change LECUA to make renewals every three years
2017-011 Add definition of Medical Treatment definition to LECUA and add Adequate
Petitions 6, 8,10 and 23 concern the licensed producers and would require statutory changes and are not covered under the duties of the MCAB and will not be discussed.
2017-006 Allow PPL holders to use manufacturers for conversion of product.
2017-008 Remove CBD plants from producer plant count (This is a regulatory change).
2017-010 Increase plants for licensed producers (This is a regulatory change).
2017-023 Develop MCP education and research components


The solution provided above was organically derived from the following sources:
Americans For Safe Access [http://www.safeaccessnow.org/policy_shop], Colorado Medical Marijuana Program [https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/medicalmarijuana], Colorado Department of Revenue- An assessment of physical and pharmacokinetic relationships in marijuana production and consumption in Colorado [https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/MED%20Equivalency_Final%2008102015.pdf],  Cannabis Yields and Dosing by Chris Conrad (court qualified cannabis expert) [http://chrisconrad.com/], and the Hawaii Medical Cannabis Program-Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force Study 2015 [http://files.hawaii.gov/auditor/Reports/2014/14-12.pdf].

“IF, what we want is for the cannabis industry to maintain BEST PRACTICES, then the careful cleaning up of concentrates, removing the majority of impurities, is the closest thing we have to proper pharmaceutical technique. IF the state forces you to less appropriate techniques, that produce a less cleaned-up product, then the state is taking on the legal liability of forcing the industry into bad techniques. This means that if the industry is pushed by the state, then when patients get sick for these poorer quality medicines, the state becomes a co-defendant in these cases… more over, the cannabis company getting sued can also sue the  state.” -  Dr. Kymron ( Steep Hill Labs )
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.

Plant Count For Producers Based On Patient Population Growth For Adequate Supply Proposed: Legislators could easily solve this by looking to Americans For Safe Access for this policy.

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 provider.


Lynn & Erin Compassionate Use Act Patient’s Coalition of New Mexico ~ A GrassRoots Movement!