Thursday, August 31, 2017

Register To Vote - Go Vote October 3rd 2017

Albuquerque Mayoral Election 2017
With a government elected by its citizens and that effects every aspect of our lives from schools to health care to homeland security, voting is an important right in our society. By voting, you are making your voice heard and registering your opinion on how you think the government should operate.
Voting for the president is often the first thing that comes to mind when most of us think of taking political action. While it’s true that voting for the highest office is important, the changes that most affect our day-to-day lives are often closer to our backyards than to Washington. I’m talking about local elections.
Our local elected officials are the ones who dictate the local laws, policies and budgets that affect us the most, and these officials are being elected every year with little citizen involvement.
Our local public servants leverage our property tax dollars to make big budgetary decisions that influence our local communities, from education reforms to welfare and more. They’re heavily involved in helping voters pass bills that often take precedence over national law.

One of the most prominent, recent examples of states dissenting from national law occurred when voters in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California and others made the use of cannabis legal, either medically and/or recreational and Hemp. This reform, decided by local voters, had enormous local impacts in each state that created long-lasting effects on their economies, legal systems and more. Voting for mayor is more important than voting for president...
The 2017 Albuquerque mayoral election is a nonpartisan election, to be held on October 3, 2017, to choose the next mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Richard J. Berry, the incumbent mayor, will not seek reelection. This will be the first mayoral election in Albuquerque without an incumbent candidate in twenty years. All candidates run on the same ballot. If no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, a runoff election is held between the top two finishers.
The race is nonpartisan (i.e., party affiliations do not appear on the ballot). However, "although the election is nonpartisan, a candidate’s political affiliation obviously can play a role in the campaign” (ABQ Journal).  In order to appear on the ballot, a candidate must collect 3,000 signatures from Albuquerque registered voters and submit them to the city clerk's office (NM Political Report).
Qualified Candidates for ballot (in alphabetical order)

Ricardo Chaves, founder of Parking Company of America — Republican
Brian Col√≥n, former chairman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico — Democrat
Michelle Garcia Holmes, former chief of staff for the Attorney General's Office, retired Albuquerque police detective — independent
Wayne Johnson, Bernalillo County Commissioner — Republican
Tim Keller, State Auditor — Democrat
Dan Lewis, City Councilor — Republican
Augustus "Gus" Pedrotty, University of New Mexico undergraduate student
Susan Wheeler-Deichsel, co-founder of Urban ABQ, a civic group — independent
KOAT Mayoral Candidate Q & A

Last Chance to Register to Vote, deadline is next week! - The deadline to be registered to vote is Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. - And voters must by state law be registered to vote at their current home address. U.S. Citizens who are NM residents with a state of NM Driver's License or state MVD issued Photo ID card can easily Register to Vote (and submit home address updates to list their current home address inside the City of Albuquerque) using our state government website.
Please see the office of New Mexico Secretary of State (SOS) website, to register to vote for free today:…/Web…/InstructionsStep1.aspx
Or you can go visit at NM Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) office or MVD express office to register to vote today, or visit the Bernalillo County Clerk's office downtown at 1 Civic Plaza NW, 6th floor, Albuquerque, NM.

The registration deadline is next week on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 5 p.m. and only voters who are currently registered at a home address inside the city limits of the City of Albuquerque are allowed to vote on who is the next Mayor of the City of Albuquerque.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Vital Role of Vetting in the Cannabis Industry

Vetting politicians is the process by which voters, the public, journalists, observers and institutions gather information on candidates for political office. It is an age-old tradition, and occurs in the U.S. and abroad, for nonprofits, businesses, politics, and in government. In theory, the vetting process seeks to inform the public or other decision-makers of a candidate's past. In practice, it often serves to cut through the field of candidates by preventing those with risky or embarrassing pasts from ascending to a higher position, role or public office. Vetting is also the process of performing a background check on someone before offering them employment, conferring an award, etc. A prospective person or project may be vetted before making a hiring decision.

The vital role of vetting is one that has been overlooked for too long in the cannabis industry, especially in state medical cannabis programs.  And this is even more so important for the medical patients, caregivers, and consumers - whose greenbacks fuel the greenrush. As the medical cannabis industry continues to grow, it is also becoming fertile ground for bad operators and scams.

Within the same weekend in New Mexico, we saw two such examples of this occur and this sort of thing is becoming all too common for the state’s medical cannabis community.

LECUAPCofNM Acronym.jpeg

First we had the allegations revealed about the promoter for the Albuquerque Beer and Hemp Fest planned for November 11th of this year in the downtown Civic Plaza. The allegations about the Thompsom’s, owners of Southwest Publishing Marketing Entertainment, the event’s promoter includes; sexually harassing people in the state’s medical cannabis community with nude selfies being sent to people on Facebook and allegations of child abuse and neglect from the ownership’s prior state of residency. At this promoters first event in Las Cruces (NM), 420 Fest, dispensaries and patient advocacy groups all support and sponsored these bad actors, when simple vetting by them would have revealed these dangerous people. The LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico put out several public posts warning the patients and community and it was ignored. Also at that time, Kenneth Thompson responded to that boycott by making threats of assault and even came looking for this advocate. Before attending or sponsoring any event - check it out and who is involved with it, don’t just take someone else's word for it - as many of these event promoters and even sponsors pay others in our community to promote it like it’s the greatest thing.

Secondly, we saw something else that is becoming a growing problem for the cannabis industry. As highlighted in the article, “Buyer Beware: Pot College and Canna Consultants” by the great legal minds at Canna Law Blog. If you are considering attending a cannabis “symposium”,  “school” or “conference,” please do your due diligence. This is also on Canna Law Blog’s ‘Top Ten Marijuana Industry Red Flags’ list as, #7 Marijuana airport seminars, consultants, and “colleges.” And thats what we had this past weekend in Albuquerque at the Embassy Suites Hotel, the ‘Medical Cannabis Symposium’ hosted by CannabisNM Staffing and facilitated by New Mexico Empact. This two day event, that claimed to be taught by industry professionals and experts, charged just shy of $320 for two days. Yet some of the people they had listed as experts or industry professionals have only worked in the industry for a mere three years.  And every person who presented at this event was a business owner or person affiliated with a business in the state’s medical cannabis industry industry. The overpriced fee that was charged for this event is just what Canna Law Blog has cautioned us all about, as there are some predators lurking out there in the cannabis waters.

The event also said it would provide those in attendance with a certificate of completion but the ‘classes’ being taught have absolutely zero accreditation in the medical cannabis industry. All these ‘classes’ being taught are done so by those who are making money off of the medical cannabis patient community. A honest description of the event would have told the community it is being taught by business owners and employes. And always take all claims of “expertise” with a healthy helping of salt, particularly in areas where a new business venture was just begun.

The “green rush” for New Mexico has given rise to many people who will do anything to make a name for themselves and a dollar off of you. And it’s only going to get worse as New Mexico continues to debate the possibilities of passing legalized adult use cannabis. And we’re already seeing patients with ancillary business doing this to other patients and consumers in their own community. The vital role of vetting in the medical cannabis industry will reveal those bad actors and dirty players.

This weekend in Portland,  there is a similar event being put on that is making similar claims as the one just held in Albuquerque. The Cannabis Science Conference at the Portland Convention Center, with two day passes going for $299 and the event’s industry experts and professionals include the likes of Dr. Sue Sisley, Tracy Ryan (CannaKids &, Curtis Phinney (CNS, LDN, Former Reference Standards Scientist and Scientific Liaison, U.S. Pharmacopeia) and many many more true experts.


If you are a patient, caregiver, or consumer looking to get involved in your community or wish to participate in an event; please do your due diligence and find out all you can about those involved with it. Be it local cannabis advocacy groups, cannabis related nonprofits, ancillary businesses outside of state medical programs regulations, event promoters, cannabis consultants or cannabis related staffing groups putting on airport themed seminars - it’s ok to ask them all questions. And if they don’t want to answer those questions then those red flags should be going up, just like Canna Law Blog mentions.

There are some very basic vetting questions we all should be asking to ensure the purpose and power of the plant maintains it’s integrity, because some people will say they want to heal the world, when really they just want to make a lot of money…
Do they have actual experience, relevant college degrees, etc.from an accredited place? Is it a legally registered as a business in your state? Who are the principals? How many years of cannabis industry and/ or education experience does the staff have?
Who develops the learning content, and what makes them qualified? Are they subject matter experts, professional educators, or both?
Is the learning institution accredited by a reputable cannabis industry organization? Would this training be supported by the state’s medical cannabis advisory board?
Is the learning institution involved in medical cannabis activism?
Are their law classes specific to one state, the whole country, or both?
Do the courses focus on business, medical science, cultivation, law, or all the above? Do they offer the classes that best suit your specific needs?
How accessible are the classes for those who may have a disability? Where are they located, and how easy is it to get there?
Does the training program offer a certification? If so, which organization(s) is that certification backed by?
Does the institution place heavy emphasis on spreading education, or do they seem more interested in getting your money?


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Weeding Out Under Qualified Medical Cannabis Educational Training

Many medical cannabis patients tend to rely on staff at a dispensary to offer recommendations on the best possible strain or cannabis product to treat their respective health condition. A new report finds that most dispensary employees actually have very little training on what they are talking about when it comes to connecting sick people with the right form of medical cannabis.

Scientists have found that only 55% of dispensary employees, surveyed in the study, had received any formal training for their current positions. The other 45% hadn’t had any formal educational training on cannabis or cannabis products at all.

Canna Law Blog also noted, in the last year, that education scams are among the top six scams occurring in the medical cannabis industry targeting patients and dispensary staff. The cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in America, education and understanding of medical cannabis should be a cornerstone for business owners and their employees alike.

Before you overpay for low-quality educational resources, do a web search to find out who your money is going to and what their qualifications are. If a search engine can’t point you towards anything that lends the company authority and credibility on the subject of medical cannabis, as odds are you’ll see that a business like CannabisNM Staffing, is too focused on the wrong kind of green in the “green rush.”

The report, titled “Training and Practices of Cannabis Dispensary Staff”, released this past December in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, was conducted by California researchers and found that only 20 percent of the employees who received training were taught specialized medical or scientific information. But nearly all (94 percent) of staff still gave dosage recommendations to patients.

Clearly, there is a recognizable economic need for cannabis training seminars and schools as future and existing cannabis businesses become more standardized & regulated; in addition to state-level statutes regarding quality standards, packaging, potency and the like, a number of people within the medical/ recreational cannabis industry have been calling for self-regulation and guidelines for best practices.
For current and potential business owners—as well as anyone else seeking employment in the medical or adult-use cannabis industry—the rapidly-expanding number of training institutions raises serious questions as to which ones actually know/ care about what they’re teaching, and which ones are just trying to capitalize off of what’s being referred to in the media as the “green rush.”
The overwhelming majority of ‘educational cannabis symposiums’ are 1 or 2-day crash courses that cost upward of $300 or more. And many people may view it along the lines of a “hit and run” in which some nameless benefactor grabs your cash and skips town the next day. Many learn better when they are able to take their time studying course materials; instead of spending a day feverishly writing notes in a hotel convention room, these individuals prefer an easily-accessible online option. Clinicians, entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers, and real estate agents may be hard-pressed to fit a full-day seminar into their busy schedules. Ideally, these people want educational resources that may be easily accessed online (better still would be classes with no time limit, allowing you to pay once and gain lifetime access to your cannabis-related course materials). 

How many years of cannabis industry and/ or education experience does the staff have?
Who develops the learning content, and what makes them qualified? Are they subject matter experts, professional educators, or both?
Is the learning institution accredited by a reputable cannabis industry organization? Would this training be supported by the state’s medical cannabis advisory board?
Is the learning institution involved in medical cannabis activism?
Are their law classes specific to one state, the whole country, or both?
Do the courses focus on business, medical science, cultivation, law, or all the above? Do they offer the classes that best suit your specific needs?
How accessible are the classes? Where are they located, and how easy is it to get there?
Does the training program offer a certification? If so, which organization(s) is that certification backed by?
Does the institution place heavy emphasis on spreading education, or do they seem more interested in getting your money? 

The ‘Medical Cannabis Symposium’ this weekend in Albuquerque, hosted by CannabisNM Staffing and facilitated by Nicole Morales of New Mexico Empact, is a perfect example of those types of events that is too focused on the wrong kind of green in the “green rush” and worse- patients are doing this to other patients. This two day event that claims to be taught by industry professionals cost just shy of $320 for two day passes and they say “No Refunds”. No refunds in education tells me they are not very confident in their own educational work to be provided. Didn't Trump Univeristy get in trouble for this sort of thing?  So let’s see what this near $320 weekend event provides one compared to what other medical cannabis education options are available.
The agenda for the ‘Medical Cannabis Symposium’ that CannabisNM Staffing is putting on, says it is taught by medical and industry experts. Yet the managing partner for CannabisNM Staffing said herself, they are just a startup business.  The event also says it will provide those in attendance with a certificate of completion but the ‘classes’ being taught have absolutely zero accreditation in the medical cannabis industry. All these ‘classes’ being taught are done so by those who are making money off of the medical cannabis patient community. A honest description of the event would have told the community it is being taught by business owners and employes. And seeing two medical professionals participating in this event, a MD and former medical cannabis advisory board member and a RN who is a member of American Cannabis Nurses Association, teaching two different ‘classes’ when they know as medical professionals, that what is being taught here has no accreditation but yet they still participate. This is also the same MD, Dr. Steven Rosenberg, who spoke out against medical cannabis patients rights; like have cards renewed every 2 or 3 years and the removal of the concentration cap, Dr. Rosenberg even suggested newer patients and some other patients should have to been seen every 3 months for recertification... $320 for a certificate of completion? Where is that fine line for a medical professional, like a MD or RN, who also has a business in the medical cannabis industry? Too many are making that a grey line- mixing the two...
The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), has online core curriculum that is available. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with The Medical Cannabis Institute (TMCI) and includes the latest medical cannabis research, usage and clinical applications delivered by subject matter experts.

Topics include the Endocannabinoid System, Dosing, Psychiatry, Medical Risks and Legal Implications. The course features 12 lessons from 11 different authors and is certified for eight (8) Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) contact hours. The CNE activity was approved by the Virginia Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.  The course retails for $369 but is available to ACNA members for $299, ACNA student membership is $25.  For $325, one gets all of those accredited educational courses, unlimited access to the course materials, and the membership supports one of the best organizations in the cannabis industry - the American Cannabis Nurses Association.

The Medical Cannabis Institute (TMCI), provides online medical education for healthcare professionals who want to learn about medical cannabis and its potential clinical application. Our science-based, accredited courses help professionals deliver quality care and address patient questions. TMCI works with organizations that are recognized as pillars of medical cannabis learning and brings their valuable medical expertise to the healthcare community via an ever-growing online course catalog.

Through TMCI’s online course offerings, healthcare professionals, dispensary staff, and medical cannabis patients will learn about everything from the basics of the endocannabinoid system and the importance of patient education to specific medical cannabis treatments for pain, cancer and other diseases.

TMCI’s charter group of content providers –the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the American Cannabis Nurses Association and Patients Out of Time – is providing courses from distinguished faculty and healthcare professionals. Medical courses and the nursing curriculum are certified for continuing medical education (CME) credits and continuing nursing education (CNE) contact hours, respectively. TMCI has individual course offerings at just $29.99 each. Those 10 classes are a much better deal than the near $320 two day ‘Medical Cannabis Symposium’, that does not provide unlimited online access to educational materials.  

The Answer Page and Americans For Safe Access also have a one stop shopping for quality CME credits on medical cannabis. This content is jointly sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society and The Answer Page and approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. The Answer Page offers 21 different accredited course for the medical cannabis industry members.

Americans for Safe Access has also devised seed to consumption national quality standards, that now exist for the medical cannabis industry thanks to the 2011 collaboration of Americans for Safe Access, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP). This unique collaboration combines the expertise of ASA, the nation’s largest medical cannabis patient advocacy organization; AHPA, the principal U.S. trade association and voice of the herbal products industry since 1982; and the AHP, an organization that has developed qualitative and therapeutic monographs on Western herbs since 1994. The result is that patients, healthcare providers, lawmakers, regulators, and medical cannabis businesses now have the tools they need to ensure reliable, high-quality hemp, medical cannabis, and medical cannabis products.

In Washington, the state requires all licensed and medically endorsed cannabis retail stores to have a certified medical cannabis consultant on staff to work with patients. Many fully-accredited universities are now offering cannabis training courses. Schools like the University of Colorado, Oregon State University, Santa Clara University and The Ohio State University offers some cannabis courses that cover issues like cannabis business financing, cannabis economics, consumer demographics and job creation.

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program and industry needs cannabis training that are affordable, accessible, reputable, experienced, and dedicated to the cause. Given the option to learn from a ‘green rusher’ who started their business a couple of months ago or being educated by seasoned industry professionals who want to see the medical cannabis industry thrive in helping the patient community it serves, the latter option sounds like the more appealing choice.
Appendix A:
Petition Provided to the NM DoH MCAB requesting the establishment of MCP Education Standards:

"This petition for the Medical Treatment that pertains to Requesting the Medical Treatment; Medical Cannabis Program Research & Education Established, is being provided to the state Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program to strengthen the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act"
read full Petition here:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

How Medical Cannabis Can Help Treat Autism Spectrum Disorder

A vendor points out the variety of marijuana for sale at the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market, for sales of medical marijuana products, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. The market hosts nine permanent vendors for seven-day-a-week sales, as well as a number of daily vendors of a variety dried medicines, edible products and starts. Voters in Washington state last fall passed Initiative 502, which legalizes the recreational possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and calls for the creation of state-licensed pot growers, processors and retail stores. Recreational marijuana sales are expected to begin late this year, and in the meantime, the state’s medical marijuana industry continues to operate. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Christian Bogner, M.D is fighting to show the world the benefits of Medical Cannabis for the Autism Spectrum. He is also the author of “The Endocannabinoid System as it Relates to Autism” His interest lies in strain research, specifically pioneering correct ratios for the wide spectrum of ASD.
Dr. Bogner, along with his Detroit based attorney Michael Komorn and researcher Joe Stone are fighting to add Autism as a qualifying condition for the medical cannabis program in Michigan, just as patient advocates are doing in New Mexico, for broader acceptance of medical cannabis treatment for ASD across the US. His work is actively advocated by Lester Grinspoon, MD and many other experts in the field of neuropsychiatric research.Follow him on Facebook at “Let it grow for Autism”.
Awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder is becoming more and more prevalent in our society, with nearly 1 in 68 children now being diagnosed with some form of ASD every year. The spectrum of severity is extremely wide, but it can negatively impact communication skills, complicate social interactions and may cause aggression, obsessive-compulsive tendencies or self-injurious behaviors.
There is no known cause or cure for autism, so the disorder is typically treated with a variety of therapies and medications. For some patients these treatments are effective, but with the large increase in diagnoses, many parents are still desperate for an effective way to ease autism’s various symptoms.
With medical cannabis showing great efficacy in treating epilepsy, which affects around 30 percent of people with autism, some parents are now wondering if it could also be a potential treatment for other issues associated with the disorder.
There has been a growing number of anecdotal cases of children and adults with ASD showing positive results with medical cannabis use, but due to the fact that cannabis remains a Schedule I substance, many parents are putting themselves at risk of legal consequences in their attempt to heal their children.
A Lack of Empirical Evidence
Since all cannabis remains federally illegal, there is minimal scholarly research on the subject of medical cannabis of any kind. Fortunately, a clinical study currently underway in Israel has many advocates of medical cannabis for autism cautiously optimistic: The study involves 120 participants between the ages of five and 29, all with varying degrees of ASD. Each patient receives one of two types of medical cannabis oil or a placebo.
Lead researcher, Dr. Adi Aran, launched the study (which will last through 2018) after seeing positive results in 70 of his autistic patients in a previous observational study. He does warn that, while current results have shown promise, it will take more time to determine whether medical cannabis could be a viable treatment.
Yael Shulman’s daughter, Noa, is one of the participants in Dr. Aran’s study. In an interview with USA Today, Shulman stated that while she does not know which treatment group Noa is in, she happy just to have an opportunity to try something new after so many failed treatment attempts.
Hoping for a Miracle
Despite the growing interest and evidence that medical cannabis may be a viable treatment for autism, it is still difficult for parents and caregivers to obtain the medicine legally. Medical cannabis is available in 29 states, yet only a handful consider ASD a qualifying condition. Therefore, many parents are forced to treat their children illegally in order to potentially save their lives.
Mieko Hester-Perez, whose son Joey suffers from severe autism, has been a vocal advocate of medical cannabis as a treatment for ASD. After trying medications, behavioral therapies and dietary changes with little to no results, Hester-Perez was desperate for help. She eventually discovered an editorial written by Dr. Bernard Rimland, former director of the Autism Research Institute, touting the potential benefits of medical cannabis for people on the autism spectrum.
She said Joey began consuming medical cannabis brownies with remarkable results.
“He wanted to sit in his room and play with his toys,” Hester-Perez said in an interview with the Autism Support Network. “We noticed that he wasn’t on edge as much.”
Hester-Perez went on to found the Unconventional Foundation for Autism, which aims to educate the public about alternative autism therapies, including medical cannabis. Other parents are also starting to come out in support of cannabis, with many stating that the plant saved their children’s lives.
Mark Zartler began treating his daughter Kara, who has severe autism, with medical cannabis on the advice of a friend. Kara had not responded to traditional therapies or medications, yet medical cannabis appeared to ease her self-injurious behaviors. However, the family resides in Texas, where medical cannabis remains illegal.
Zartler recently went public with his family’s story in the hopes that others will come forward to help others gain access to medical cannabis.
“If I’m driving through Texas, and I get pulled over, I’m going to be arrested,” Zartler said in an interview with The Washington Post. He went on to say that while going public with his story puts his family at extreme risk with the authorities, the potential benefits make it all worth it. “Obviously I’m doing an antagonistic thing, but I don’t want to be antagonistic about it…We’re hoping with the attention we’re getting, we can influence people into doing the right thing.”
As future research is published we may see advances in the treatment of ASD by targeting the ECS. Until then we remain largely in the dark with possible glimmers of hope on the horizon. The mere possibility of combating ASD is enough for some families to explore cannabis as a treatment option, generally families unable to wait for possible future advances.
The question of when it becomes acceptable to provide a cannabis based treatment to a pediatric patient is complicated and loaded with moral and legal implications. The wide spectrum of ASD, the uncertainties in regards to targeting the endocannabinoid system for this treatment, and the possible adverse effects of THC therapy in pediatrics, all lend to the complexity of the issue.
In States with approved medical cannabis programs, it’s imperative that ASD be added to their lists of qualified medical conditions for approval of cannabis licenses. Parents and physicians should have the right and legal protection to explore cannabis as a treatment option, especially as a last-line therapy in ASD.
With a growing number of parents finding incredible results using medical cannabis, it is hoped that researchers will continue to take notice. While the plant may not be the defining answer, it is a welcomed approach for so many parents desperate to help their children achieve a normal life.

Additional Research Showing How Medical Cannabis Benefits ASD

Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Autism Spectrum Disorder


This petition for the Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Autism Spectrum Disorder is being provided to the New Mexico State Department of Health, Medical Cannabis Program, so the advisory board can review and recommend to the Department for approval of adding an additional debilitating medical conditions that would benefit from the medical use of cannabis with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.