Saturday, October 14, 2017

DR. JAHAN MARCU:

SCIENCE-BASED CANNABIS EDUCATION IS ESSENTIAL


Commercialization of cannabis has increased the need for quality control and science-based education within the industry. The Patient Focused Certification Program, a project of Americans for Safe Access, aims to address both of these needs.
Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., has helped set worldwide standards for the cannabis industry as director for the Patient Focused Certification Program. Dr. Marcu is also Chief Scientific Officer for Americans for Safe Access. He serves on the board of directors of the International Association for Cannabinoids as Medicine (IACM). He received his Ph.D. for significant contributions to the study of the structure and function of the CB1 receptor, and the role of the endocannabinoid system in bone.
For Marcu, science-based education is essential to cannabis businesses.
“Consistency and quality of information is a liability for operations if staff are providing information to patients that is not based in scientific literature,” he said.
Only 20 percent of dispensary employees surveyed reported receiving medical/scientific training on cannabis, according to a 2016 survey. Almost 90 percent of physicians-in-training said they do not feel prepared to prescribe medical marijuana in a 2017 survey.
The Patient Focused Certification Program offers third-party certification and support services to companies cultivating, manufacturing, analyzing or distributing medical cannabis products and is the nation’s only certification program based upon American Herbal Products Association and American Herbal Pharmacopoeia standards. PFC business certification and professional training is available in all medical cannabis states including the District of Columbia.
Marcu talked about the cannabis industry’s need for education and quality standards with Cashinbis.
How did you first get involved with the Patient Focused Certification program?
I had already been volunteering over 10 years, and we had worked with them using standards that had been adopted in over 20 states. We developed the first training standards, so that medical professionals and people working in dispensaries have proper training and can be a reliable source of information for patients.
Health professionals can get CME [Continuing Medical Education] credits through us, whether they work in pharmaceutical, dispensaries – we have the accreditation you need for cannabis. One of the greatest barriers is health care professionals having access to cannabis education. We need to shout to the world that education is available.
What is it like to set global standards for the cannabis industry?
Sometimes I feel like the world’s luckiest paleontologist – I get to walk with the dinosaurs.
I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and we have companies that can meet pharmaceutical and botanical quality. It’s fulfilling to get to ensure that there’s safe and legal access to medical cannabis.
What’s new with PFC?
Patient focused certification is Penn. State Nurses Association accredited. We have live trainings in Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as online training available. The newest classes are for an extraction and safety workshop: the pros and cons, safety risks and how to minimize them, and personal safety equipment.
How many companies are accredited?
Globally we’ve had over 100 applications in 12 months. Some are huge farms or multi-state companies. We have contracts with over 70 percent of cultivators in Maryland, and our program is mandated in Guam and Delaware.
Are there any upcoming plans to partner with universities?
Everyone wants to offer this education because it’s a public health need. We have university partners around the world and will continue to partner with institutions. A lot of institutions are embracing this, but some have more flexibility than others.
How have business developments in the cannabis industry impacted the scientific community?
Not very many companies have supported cannabis research. Research is largely supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
What are the risks of the commercialization of cannabis?
As with any product that becomes commercialized, the chance for error increases with production. On the triangle of best practices, science and technology are on opposite sides and quality control is on the bottom. Technology moves faster than science, so quality control balances out the discrepancy between how fast technology and science move. For example with cell phones – we don’t know how long term cell phone use affects us, and technology moves faster than science can research it, but quality control can help prevent any side effects.
What’s the current focus for cannabis research?
Terpenes, the compounds that give cannabis its aroma, are already an area of interest. We have the technology now to study metabolites. I think we’ll go from a very narrow view of potency toward studying metabolomics to move toward a very personalized medicine. Knowing what’s in the plant material is important. Focusing on cannabinoids is great, but I think it’s the entourage effect of looking at the whole plant.
How does the American scientific community stack up compared to the rest of the world when it comes to cannabis research?
People forget the first cannabinoid was isolated in the U.S. CB1 receptors were discovered in the U.S. as well.
The U.S. is one of the leaders in cannabis research – we have of the oldest standardized strains of cannabis at the farm at the University of Mississippi.
The researchers [in the US] have a challenge because there’s a limited number of people who can engage in research for cannabis. But over 40 years, there’s been an incredible effort to generate a lot of data on it.
Jesse is an award-winning journalist covering the medical cannabis.

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Here is a Petition, before the New Mexico Department of Health, to provide for what Dr. Marcu says is essential;


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Saturday, September 16th 2017

New Mexico State Department of Health
Medical Cannabis Advisory Board
Medical Cannabis Program
PO Box 26110
Santa Fe, NM, 87502-6110

Petition: Medical Treatment; Medical Cannabis Program Research And MCP Certification & Education Standards Established For State Industry Employment

Table of Contents
Pg.  1 Cover Page
Pg.  2 Petition Introduction
Pg.  4 Petition Purpose and Background
Pg.  22 Relief Requested In Petition
Pg.  23 References
Pg.  24 Appendix A
 



Petition Introduction: Requesting the Medical Treatment; Medical Cannabis Program Research And MCP Certification & Education Standards Established For State Industry Employment

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 New Mexico’s medical cannabis program (MCP)  is the only program in the U.S. that places sole responsibility for regulation on the state’s Department of Health. Doctors must comply with state requirements for patients to be considered for applying to the medical cannabis program.

Today the New Mexico medical cannabis program has almost 50,000 registered participants with 35 Licensed (Non-Profit) Producers growing 14,550 medical cannabis plants, as the program hit the midpoint of its 10th year.The tremendous growth of the Medical Cannabis Program with new program participants, an increase of 75% during 2016, so that currently means we have almost 50,000 patients benefiting from medical cannabis. The medical cannabis program office is currently processing applications in a 12-14 day range and recommends submitting renewal and new patient applications a minimum of 60 days prior to expiration to allow ample time for processing. Due to the incredible growth in the medical cannabis program participants, there needs to be a clear increase to the plant count allowed for by the licensed producers from the Department of Health. In order for the Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program to allow for the beneficial treatment with medical cannabis, the Department must properly have “adequate supply”.

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New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program 2017 2nd Quarter Report & 2017/2018 Re-licensure Summary
- 1 Licensed Non Profit Producer Per 1,300 Patient (The Patient number keep growing too)
- 35 LNPPs and 4 of those LNPPs have no operating dispensary;
additionally 4 LNPP's decided not to increase the number of plants they can grow;
of those four - 2 of these Licenses are being used to produce only 450 plants
- Average Price Per Gram (Flowers and Bud): $10.40
- Average Amount (Units) Purchased: 15.63
- (Average Transaction Amount: $162.55)
- Over Half of all Dispensary Locations are in Albuquerque City Area (Is it about the ‘business’ or about ‘medical’?)
- Totals Plants in Production: 12,281 (out of 13,800 possible)
- Number of Plants Harvested: 5,430
- 2017/2018 Re-licensure; Total Medical Cannabis Plants = 14,550 (For over 45,000 Patients)
- If all 35 LNPPs grew the max allowed: (450 Medical Cannabis Plants x 35) Total = 15,750
       Link to 2017 2nd Quarter Report: https://nmhealth.org/publication/view/report/3606/

In the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, (2007) the law states; The Secretary of Health shall establish an advisory board consisting of eight practitioners representing the fields of neurology, pain management, medical oncology, psychiatry, infectious disease, family medicine and gynecology. The practitioners shall be nationally board-certified in their area of specialty and knowledgeable about the medical use of cannabis. The members shall be chosen for appointment by the Secretary from a list proposed by the New Mexico Medical Society. A quorum of the advisory board shall consist of three members.
The advisory board shall:
A. review and recommend to the department for approval additional debilitating medical conditions that would benefit from the medical use of cannabis;
B. accept and review petitions to add medical conditions, medical treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the medical use of cannabis;
C. convene at least twice per year to conduct public hearings and to evaluate petitions, which shall be maintained as confidential personal health information, to add medical conditions, medical treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the medical use of cannabis;
D. issue recommendations concerning rules to be promulgated for the issuance of the registry identification cards; and
E. recommend quantities of cannabis that are necessary to constitute an adequate supply for qualified patients and primary caregivers.

First, do no harm.  As an important step in becoming a doctor, medical students must take the Hippocratic Oath. And one of the promises within that oath is “first, do no harm”.  

We have a sound law in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, as Section 2 reads; PURPOSE OF ACT.--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.
“ARTICLE 2B. LYNN AND ERIN COMPASSIONATE USE ACT
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 26-2B-2 (2009)
    § 26-2B-2. Purpose of act
The purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act [26-2B-1 NMSA 1978] is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.
HISTORY: Laws 2007, ch. 210, § 2.
EFFECTIVE DATES. --Laws 2007, ch. 210, § 12 makes the act effective July 1, 2007.”

Mosby’s Medical Dictionary states that “medical treatment” means; the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder. Medical treatment includes: Using prescription medications, or use of a non-prescription drug at prescription strength; and or treatment of disease by hygienic and pharmacologic remedies, as distinguished from invasive surgical procedures. Treatment may be pharmacologic, using drugs; surgical, involving operative procedures; or supportive, building the patient's strength. It may be specific for the disorder, or symptomatic to relieve symptoms without effecting a cure.(Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 9th edition.)

What is a chronic medical condition?
A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear. Harvard Medical Dictionary defines chronic as: Any condition that lasts a long time or recurs over time; chronic pain as: Pain that persists after an injury has healed or a disease is over; and chronic pain syndrome as : Long-term, severe pain that doesn't spring from an injury or illness, that interferes with daily life, and is often accompanied by other problems, such as depression, irritability, and anxiety.
What is the meaning of debilitating?
Something that's debilitating seriously affects someone or something's strength or ability to carry on with regular activities, like a debilitating illness. Debilitating comes from the Latin word debilis, meaning "weak." That's why you'll often see the adjective used to describe illness, despite the negative reference.
Petition Purpose and Background
The purpose of this Medical Treatment petition is; Requesting Medical Cannabis Program Research And MCP Certification & Education Standards Established For State Industry Employment

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 Rules And Regulations.

“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.” - Journal of Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research

Americans for Safe Access Policy Facts on Medical Cannabis Research
Medical Cannabis Research

Background: Examples of the medical use of cannabis have existed for thousands of years, not the least of which was the production and distribution of cannabis tinctures by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly at the turn of the 20th century. Yet, the scientific investigation into this important and promising therapeutic substance is not what it could be. Only in the last few years have we seen the needed increases in medical cannabis research, but such studies have predominantly been outside the U.S. Still, even studies inside the U.S. have shown that cannabis can be used to effectively treat neuropathic pain for people living with HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis, as well as treat nausea and stimulate appetite.

Findings: With the use of a science-based approach, several countries around the world are investigating the therapeutic qualities of cannabis and expanding our knowledge base. For example, scientists in Israel are uncovering ways of treating Alzheimer’s with cannabis, and researchers in Spain are studying the effects of cannabis on brain cancer. Unfortunately, in the U.S., a Byzantine approval process hinders scientists’ ability to obtain research grade cannabis for studies and clinical trials. The federal government maintains a monopoly on the production of research grade cannabis and uses an approval process run by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Drug Enforcement Administration, federal agencies with a clear bias against medical cannabis. As a result, scientists in the U.S. face federal hurdles that don’t exist in other countries, which skews and stifles meaningful research. Efforts to overturn the government’s monopoly and employ a more reasonable research approval process have so far failed. Yet, patient advocates continue to fight for increased research, not to establish the medical efficacy of cannabis, that’s been done; to expand our knowledge and understanding of this important therapeutic substance.

Position: According to the DEA’s own Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner expanded medical cannabis research is “in the public interest.” ASA agrees. The federal government should better invest in the therapeutic research of medical cannabis. The monopoly on access to research grade cannabis should be dismantled to allow additional licensed facilities to produce a sufficient, consistent and high quality supply for scientists. The federal government must also create incentives for expanded research and retool the research approval process to eliminate a bias for abuse studies and the onerous requirements unique to the U.S.

Medical Cannabis Research For The Land of Enchantment: House Bill 155
Now with 45 states having a medical cannabis programs, there has been a welcome increase in exploration of medical cannabis by academic institutions. Colorado State University-Pueblo launched an Institute of Cannabis Research, backed by tax revenue from legalization. Revenue from legalization in California will also go to bring back to life the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California San Diego, which wrapped up funding from the state legislature several years ago. Jefferson University launched a Center for Medical Cannabis Education and Research ,which includes on its board Mahmoud El-Sohly, who is in charge of the Ole Miss federal medical cannabis farm. And in Louisiana, both state universities are making plans to become the first state universities to provide medical cannabis for a state medical cannabis program.

As many as nine other fully-accredited universities are now offering cannabis college courses and several more are developing them. Schools like the University of Colorado, Harvard, Hofstra, Oregon State University, Santa Clara University and Ohio State University- all offer cannabis courses that cover issues like cannabis business financing, cannabis economics, consumer demographics and job creation.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978.  Lynn Pierson, a 26 year old cancer patient,  brought the value of medical cannabis to the New Mexico legislature. After public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis. Later renamed The Lynn Pierson Marijuana & Research Act set forth a program that had over 250 New Mexicans receiving medical cannabis through the University of New Mexico until 1986. Federal opposition and state bureaucratic opposition developed  thus ending the program in 1986.
Then in the early 2000’s, Erin Armstrong, a medical cannabis advocate who suffered from thyroid cancer, began to lobby the state legislature to pass a medical cannabis law.  Armstrong, a Santa Fe High and UNM grad, spent three years tirelessly advocating for the medical cannabis program we have today. The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007, passed under Governor Bill Richardson and was lead in the state legislature by Senator Cisco McSorley.
In the New Mexico State House of Representatives, is one of the more important pieces of legislation in 2017 for the medical cannabis program and the medical cannabis community. Representatives Deborah A. Armstrong and Bill McCamley are sponsoring a Medical Cannabis Research bill, HB 155. 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.

Rep. Armstrong’s daughter, Erin Armstrong, was a pivotal medical cannabis advocate who suffered from thyroid cancer, and that did not stop Erin, who began to lobby the state legislature to pass a medical cannabis law. Representative Deborah Armstrong represents district 17,  Bernalillo county, she was first elected to the House in 2014 and has a occupation as a consultant. Armstrong had also tried getting a medical cannabis research bill passed in 2015. 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.

The Medical Cannabis Research bill, HB 155, would amend the current medical cannabis program law to provide for the research. This proposal would create a “Cannabis Research Advisory Council”, a research fund and also limit liability for researchers to be able to do this. The "medical cannabis fund" is created in the state treasury. The fund consists of fees collected from the medical cannabis program and by the end of each month, ten percent of the fees collected by the department pursuant to the medical cannabis program during the previous thirty days shall be
transferred to the cannabis research fund.

The "cannabis research advisory council" is created at the Health Sciences Center at the University of New Mexico to provide for research into the production, uses, effects and efficacy of medical cannabis. Members of the council as follows: one qualified patient; one licensed producer; one practitioner; one representative from a laboratory licensed in the state to test medical cannabis; one representative of the department; and any other individual whom the chancellor deems appropriate to advise the health sciences center in matters relating to cannabis research. Members of the council would serve five-year terms and every three years report to the legislative health and human services committee.

MEDICAL CANNABIS RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO


The Medical Cannabis Research Fund (MCRF) is comprised of faculty and researchers from a variety of disciplines at the University of New Mexico that are focused on conducting scientifically valid and unbiased research on medical Cannabis across all areas of social and biomedical sciences. Donations made to the MCRF support the direct costs of studies intending to measure the safety and efficacy of using medical Cannabis as a pharmacological agent. Findings from these multi-disciplinary investigations are intended to generate basic and clinical knowledge, educate patients, scientists, and physicians, and help inform regulation and use of medical Cannabis.  

The Medical Cannabis Research Fund was established in August 2016 by Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil with the singular mission to harness the vast intellectual and technological resources  from the  University of New Mexico and larger Central New Mexico community for conducting sound and  ethical research on medical Cannabis. The MCRF supports wide-ranging and  often multi-disciplinary research programs that advance basic and clinical knowledge on the safety and potential medicinal uses of Cannabis. The MCRF also supports student training,  academic assistantships, and professional programs that advance research on medical Cannabis.

As part of our mission, the MCRF aims to not only conduct pioneering research in all areas of medical Cannabis, but to also train the future leaders in medical Cannabis research.  To learn more about the training and collaborative opportunities for medical Cannabis researchers, please contact Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil at vigilj@unm.edu or go here.

Social and Biomedical Sciences at the University of New Mexico

A recent poll conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine showed the majority of physicians in the U.S. believe that medical Cannabis is a safe and effective pharmacological agent for certain mental and physical health conditions (Adler & Colbert, 2013). With increasing morbidity rates associated with currently available treatment options, such as prescribed narcotic abuse (particularly among non-Hispanic Whites), there is a legitimate place for Cannabis sativa as an alternative and perhaps primary therapeutic option for patients with a broad range and severity of negative health symptoms. Importantly, a recent study found that U.S. states that have enacted a medical Cannabis provision have experienced a 33% reduction in opiate-based overdose deaths (Bachhuber et al., 2014). Although it cannot be discerned with certainty, these data suggests that some patient populations may be experiencing significantly improved health and lower morbidity rates as a result of the option to use Cannabis in place of more conventional treatment options (e.g., prescribed narcotics). The substitutability of Cannabis sativa for alcohol could also reduce the exorbitant number of deaths and costs associated with alcohol abuse and drunk driving.
State health departments have approved a growing number of health conditions thought to be treatable with Cannabis sativa, based on the limited research available, as described here. These include:
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Anorexia
  • Arthritis
  • Autism
  • Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS)
  • Arnold-Chiari malformation and syringomyelia
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Causalgia
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Crohn's disease
  • CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I)
  • CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type II)
  • Dravet syndrome
  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia (severe)
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hospice patients
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Huntington's disease
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS)
  • Lupus
  • Migrains
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Muscle spasms
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myoclonus
  • Nail-patella syndrome
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathies
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • PTSD
  • Residual limb pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Seizures
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Sjogren's syndrome
  • Spastic quadriplegia
  • Spinal cord damage / disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Undefined (any other) mental and physical conditions

Additional Resources:

Adler, J. N., and Colbert, J. A. Medicinal use of marijuana — polling results. N. Engl. J. Med 2013; 368:e30.
Bachhuber, M. A., Saloner, B., Cunningham, C. O., & Barry, C. L. Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010 JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(10):1668-1673.

Article: Medical Cannabis Research in 2017: A Battle Of States’ Rights

There have been several major developments for cannabis research in 2016 amidst unprecedented debate about marijuana’s medical potential among federal officials and congressional  lawmakers. The most significant growth in the cannabis industry happened during the eight years Barack Obama has been president. Before then, there were roughly a dozen states with medical cannabis laws and now that has more than doubled with several of those states formally allowing commercial adult use.

While Obama did not officially change federal policy around cannabis, his administration opted for a hands-off approach, deferring policy to states as a states’ rights issue through a series of Department of Justice memos. These memos essentially signaled to the states that the Department of Justice would likely only interfere if the cannabis activity in the states moved across borders, or into the hands of kids, for example. Outgoing President Obama also decided not to reschedule cannabis while in office, despite statements by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The interview was recently released as part of Frontline’s “Chasing Heroin” documentary.
“I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled. You know, we treat marijuana in the same way that we treat heroin now, and that clearly is not appropriate. So at a minimum, I think Congress needs to do that. Then I think we need to look at what happens in Colorado and what happens in Washington,” Holder said.

The most disappointing development was the DEA’s decision not to reschedule cannabis, leaving cannabis in Schedule 1, which means according to the federal government it is still considered to have no medical value and a high abuse potential. On the other, the government actually holds patents for the medical use of the cannabis plant. Since one part of the government applied for the patent of medical cannabis, and another part of the government approved that patent, it only logical to conclude that the federal government knows that marijuana does indeed have valid medical properties. 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.

A positive development was the decision to, for the first time, to license more than one entity to grow cannabis for research, opening a four decades long ban. The University of Mississippi has had an exclusive license with the US government to be the only one to grow cannabis for federally sanctioned research.

While no other university has been federally approved to grow cannabis for research yet, one researcher in the running is Lyle Craker, who studies medicinal plants at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has also tried in the past to get approval to grow cannabis to research. So far almost a dozen agricultural schools, including those with industrial hemp programs, are reluctant in their eagerness to grow cannabis for the federal government as found out by the Boston Media Group. Not interested, said Cornell University, the University of Kentucky, and Virginia Tech. Ditto, said Michigan State University, the University of Vermont, and Western Kentucky University. No plans, said University of California- Davis, and University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Same with Colorado State University, Oregon State University, and Purdue University.

To register for research with the DEA, applicants will need to show that they will have security measures in place to protect the cannabis and be willing to comply with a host of other requirements. And depending on the scale of the operation, prospective growers will likely have to make significant investments to get it up and running. The agency has indicated it wants just enough cannabis to be produced so research demands are met, but not more than that. Nor did the agency set any kind of deadline to select growers indicating a multi-year process.

State governments recognize the injustice of this cannabis prohibition. Soon after the DEA gave its decision, Washington state, in an announcement demonstrated perhaps the boldest act of states’ rights yet for cannabis.  As The News Tribune reported: “Washington state is moving ahead with its plans to allow scientific research of marijuana, sidestepping federal rules that critics say have hampered study of the drug for decades. The state has a new marijuana research license that will allow laboratories to grow marijuana for scientific study. State officials expect to start accepting applications for the new license by January.”

As Sam Méndez, executive director of the Cannabis Law & Policy Project at the University of Washington School of Law, points out: “It can take up to two years just to get the federal licenses in the first place, because the process is so long and onerous.” And, when a researcher finally does get a federal license, the only place they can get research-grade cannabis is from the University of Mississippi. Further, when discoveries are made about the medicinal properties of cannabis, they cannot be applied to state-level systems. Washington’s state licensing program will bypass these absurd hurdles, and will open the door for private research facilities to conduct research as well as state universities. Research-grade cannabis can be sourced from within the state from a variety of qualified producers. Oregon is also working to develop similar licenses to allow for cannabis research.

In Louisiana,  Louisiana State University and Southern University both agreed to provide medical cannabis for the state’s medical program. LSU’s agriculture vice president even suggested to the Washington Times, without getting into specifics, that he has had assurance that federal funds wouldn’t be at risk if the university went ahead with their plans. If that program goes forward, it would be a significant development and perhaps open the door for other universities that want to take a role in cannabis cultivation and research. 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 certain cannabinoids found within the 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 marijuana 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.  

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. Additionally, states have traditionally held “police power”, or the right to regulate crime within their respective jurisdiction. Yet, there are federal laws that regulate cannabis, and under the Supremacy Clause, federal law supersedes state law. If this power isn’t in the constitution, how does the federal government justify regulation? The Commerce Clause of the Constitution is used to justify federal regulation of cannabis.
“To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes”
Some critics argue that, in theory, the commerce clause can give the government authority to force people to eat vegetables and brush their teeth in an effort to reduce medical costs, which are linked to nationwide insurance companies.

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
Survey Says…Higher Learning Needed at Dispensaries
Do you trust budtenders at your local dispensary? 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 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.

As a medical cannabis patient myself, I encountered this exact situation on Christmas Eve day while in a medical cannabis dispensary.  Witnessing a dispensary employee advising a medical cannabis patient of how there is no real medical value to dabs. Now here in lies the irony, I was placing my order for CBD BHO and some indica BHO and was pretty close to needing to use it on the spot…the dispensary provides a suggestion box and it was utilized.

The report just out, titled “Training and Practices of Cannabis Dispensary Staff”, this 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 gave dosage recommendations to patients.

The staff members studied worked at both medical or non medical cannabis dispensaries in Colorado, California, Arizona, Oregon, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. Only 20% have any medical background on the health effects of marijuana, and just 13% had received any education on the science of the medical cannabis, researchers have found. Furthermore, some of the dispensary employees in the study had made suggestions to people who were purchasing medical cannabis that wasn’t appropriate for treating their customers’ conditions, said lead study author Nancy Haug, a professor at Palo Alto University in California.

From the report researchers have found that 13% of the employees studied said they had suggested types of cannabis that had high levels of THC to patients who intended to use the cannabis for anxiety treatment. However, previous research has shown that THC may actually worsen anxiety, Haug told Live Science. THC was also suggested by 7% to treat epilepsy, when studies have shown that CBD oil may work better, Haug stated.

Participants were asked by the researchers about their job duties and whether they had training related to their job, and what types of cannabis they usually suggested to people with particular conditions.

Research findings reveal more focus on sales training with 35% of the dispensary employees having had received customer service training and 26% had received business training. While only 20% had received medical training, and 13% had received scientific training. Another 20% had received some other type training that might have involved cannabis education. Almost 100% of the participants said that they had given advice to customers. That advice included suggesting which strains of cannabis they should use and offering advice to the customers on the benefits of cannabis for particular symptoms. The participants said the most common symptoms reported by their customers were chronic anxiety, pain, and insomnia.

Employees were also more likely to suggest cannabis with high levels of CBD and equal ratios of THC to CBD for people with epilepsy and muscle spasms rather than suggesting cannabis with high levels of THC. Results have shown that dispensaries should formally train their employees. This education should be based on findings from up-to-date scientific literature on cannabis, Haug stated. It’s not all bad news though.  

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 offer some cannabis courses that cover issues like cannabis business financing, cannabis economics, consumer demographics and job creation.
The American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA) and TMCI have collaborated to develop the first comprehensive online medical cannabis curriculum available.. Topics include the Endocannabinoid System, Dosing, Psychiatry, Medical Risks and Legal Implications. The curriculum features 12 lessons from 11 different authors available online by The Medical Cannabis Institute. Another great educational resource is by a company called Green Flower Media. It’s an online educational platform that provides courses people can take. Live streams of events, some really exciting work with summits. Their presentations are streamed all over the world, where people can ask questions and engage on an interactive platform.

Seed to consumption national quality standards also 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.

The study concluded that employees were more likely to suggest cannabis with equal ratios of CBD to THC for people with PTSD, anxiety, Crohn’s disease, or Trauma rather than suggesting cannabis that have high levels of THC. This is in line with what experts suggested, the researchers stated.
Still, the main takeaway from the study is that a lot more work needs to be done in order to get dispensary workers trained to provide professional guidance to those looking for help. Educational standards can also play a key role in keeping dispensaries from over regulation and looking like the bland pharmacy at a grocery store.  

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. “If you’re not actively making your community a better place, then you’re passively making it worse”, says Rachael Speegle, Registered Nurse and dispensary owner in New Mexico.

Certification and Education Standards That New Mexico Should Require:

Washington State Department of Health Medical Marijuana Program

Certified Consultant

All licensed and medically endorsed marijuana retail stores (PDF) are required to have a certified medical marijuana consultant on staff to work with patients. The certified consultant isn't a medical provider and can do only the following for customers within a medically endorsed marijuana retail store:
  • Enter patient and designated provider information from the authorization form into the medical marijuana database and create the medical marijuana recognition card.
  • Assist the patient with selecting products.
  • Describe risks and benefits of methods for using products.
  • Give advice on ways to properly store products and keep them safe from children and pets.
  • Show how to properly use products.
  • Answer questions about the medical marijuana law.
Services not allowed by consultants:
  • May not provide medical advice.
  • May not diagnose any conditions.
  • May not recommend changing current treatment(s) in place of marijuana.
  • May not open and use actual products when demonstrating how to use.

To qualify for certification as a medical marijuana consultant you must:

Related topics


Patient Focused Certification (PFC) Credentials By Americans For Safe Access

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.
Americans for Safe Access Foundation has created the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) Program to address issues of quality control and product safety in the cannabis industry to ensure patients (consumers) and their healthcare providers can rely on high-quality medical cannabis products and services. ASA has been advocating for safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research on behalf patients for over a decade. Founded in 2002, ASA developed a vision for safe access that includes a legal and regulatory framework that has shaped the medical cannabis industry we see today.

The PFC Program has established guidelines that provide a system of processes, procedures, and documentation to ensure that Cannabis products (hemp, medical cannabis, and cannabis-derived products intended for human consumption) have the strength, composition, purity, and identity they claim to constitute or possess. PFC helps companies that are cultivating, manufacturing, and distributing these products achieve a commitment to quality and product safety.  PFC represents the consensus of the world’s leading experts on cannabis, hemp and botanical product regulations.

PFC addresses quality control & product safety through:

Developing and Adopting Industry Standards
Industry and Regulatory Training
Certification Program
To date, we have

Worked with American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) to release a Cannabis Monograph, which now serves as a guide for identifying the quality, purity, and potency of the cannabis plant internationally;  
Collaborated with the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) to create the AHPA Cannabis Committee which has developed  industry standards in the form of Recommendations for Regulators for Distribution, Cultivation, Analytics, and Manufacturing, Packaging and Labeling;
Worked with regulators to get AHP and AHPA cannabis standards adopted in over a dozen states and;
Partnered with American Chemical Society (ACS) divisions of Small Chemical Business(SCHB), Agriculture and Food (AGFD), and Chemical Health & Safety(CH&S) to create a Cannabis Chemistry committee to provide education and training that addresses the needs of laboratories, chemists, and service/equipment providers.

Third-party certification ensures that an independent organization has reviewed the cultivation and/or manufacturing process of a product or the  management process of a service in order to determine that the final product complies with a specific set of standards designed to ensure safety, quality, or performance.  PFC certifies compliance with AHPA and AHP standards for medical cannabis products and services.  This review typically includes comprehensive reviews of formulations and materials, independent testing, and facility inspections.  Certified products typically exhibit the certifier’s ‘mark’ on their packaging to help consumers make educated decisions about the products or services they are purchasing.  PFC requires annual inspections, unannounced random inspections, employee training and product testing to ensure that certified companies continue to meet all AHPA standards after the initial certification.  Other nationally recognized certification programs include Good Housekeeping, NSF and ISO.  

Trusted by Governments and Regulators
PFC currently holds the first government-issued educational permit from the District of Columbia to provide the required staff trainings for the District’s legal medical cannabis providers.  Additionally, PFC has been awarded a contract with the State of Maryland to train all compliance inspectors for the State’s medical cannabis program.

Patient Focused Certification Review Board

The PFC Program is overseen by the PFC Peer Review Board that provides over 300 years of collective expertise in the realms of USDA food and product safety protocols, federal regulatory development, medical cannabis research, medical cannabis industry operations, pharmacology, and biochemistry. The PFC Peer Review Board is tasked with the annual review and update of audit methodologies and program standards, the processing and review of all certification appeals, complaint investigation and resolution, and any and all revocation actions. The review board may be asked to weigh in on a company’s corrective actions as determined through either a scheduled or a secondary follow up audit.

Regulator’s Program Guide for Medical Cannabis: ( 92 Page PDF ) https://american-safe-access.s3.amazonaws.com/Regulators_Program_Guide.pdf

Industry Program Guide: (115 Page PDF ) http://american-safe-access.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/Talana/Patient%20Focused%20Certification%20Industry%20Program%20Guide.pdf

Online Medical Cannabis staff training is open for enrollment in the areas of cultivation; processing, dispensing and laboratory standards. Americans for Safe Access's (ASA) proven Patient-Focused Certification (PFC) curriculum uses best evidence in the field of medical cannabis, product safety, manufacturing standards, laboratory quality, and dispensing. Coverage of current federal and state policies guide your business operations in a changing regulatory environment. Check our online and webinar formats.

Medical Cannabis industry leaders can be assured that PFC training offers the right blend of adult learning strategies and rigor prior to certification. This comprehensive training program is organized in a step-wise fashion. Learners can progress through three levels of competency: PFC Staff Certification, PFC Verified Professional and PFC Assessor.

Four areas of  PFC specialization include: cultivation; manufacturing and production; laboratory standards; and product dispensing. Take one pathway or combine your training to earn dual certification. Click below to learn more.

PFC Advanced Professional and Assessor inline modules will be released soon thanks to a growing collaboration between ASA and the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions.

Article:‘Weeding Out Under Qualified Medical Cannabis Education 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).

FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN CHOOSING TO GET YOUR CANNABIS EDUCATION:
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.” 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.  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 year 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.
Source: http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2017/08/weeding-out-under-qualified-medical.html

Rules, Regulations, & Policy Solution For the Medical Treatment that pertains to the Petition Requesting; Medical Cannabis Program Research And MCP Certification & Education Standards Established For State Industry Employment

The approval of this Petition: Medical Treatment; Medical Cannabis Program Research And MCP Certification & Education Standards Established For State Industry Employment, is being provided to the state Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program to strengthen the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and allow for the MCAB to be able to fulfill:
“ The advisory board shall:
A. review and recommend to the department for approval additional debilitating medical conditions that would benefit from the medical use of cannabis;
B. accept and review petitions to add medical conditions, medical treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the medical use of cannabis;
C. convene at least twice per year to conduct public hearings and to evaluate petitions, which shall be maintained as confidential personal health information, to add medical conditions, medical treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the medical use of cannabis;
D. issue recommendations concerning rules to be promulgated for the issuance of the registry identification cards; and
E. recommend quantities of cannabis that are necessary to constitute an adequate supply for qualified patients and primary caregivers.”
And to further to allow the advisory board and the Department to promulgate rules, based on scientific and medical research, in accordance with the State Rules Act to implement the purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.

The approval of this petition would 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. Fulfilling both;“ Section 2. PURPOSE OF ACT.--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” And  Section 6. ADVISORY BOARD CREATED--DUTIES: The advisory board shall:
A. review and recommend to the department for approval additional debilitating medical conditions that would benefit from the medical use of cannabis.” 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.

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.

References
The solution provided above was 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].
Cannabis News Journal
Americans For Safe Access

Appendix A:
ASA Releases Federal Medical Cannabis Policy Roadmap

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.

The report includes actions for the POTUS during the lame duck as well as the incoming Congress and POTUS. These actions would protect the more than 2 million medical cannabis patients in the U.S. by allowing local manufacturers, growers, and distributors to operate in accordance with their own state’s laws regarding medical cannabis without fear of federal interference.

“Medical cannabis is reshaping the way we view modern medicine,” Steph Sherer, ASA’s executive director said in a written statement. “But in order to continue providing millions of patients with the medicine they need, Congress and the Obama Administration need to take action.” Most importantly there are things that President Obama can do before he leaves office to ensure a smoother transition for medical cannabis policy under the new administration. This is perhaps one of the only political issues that has bipartisan support.

‘Medical Cannabis in America: The Medical Cannabis Briefing Book’ is a guidebook for Congress and the Administration that includes information on modern scientific evidence about medical cannabis, what the federal and state conflict means for patients who rely on this medicine, and what Congress can do to end this conflict.

The report outlines how federal agencies can help states to increase the quality and safety of medical cannabis programs, details a role for federal oversight after the passage of comprehensive legislation and outlines the following steps:
*Instruct Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to update their website and publications to reflect their most current science.
*Order Health and Human Services (HHS) and DEA to take the recommendation from Food and Drug *Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff to examine and possibly overhaul the regulations that are preventing medical research and rescheduling of cannabis.
*Engage with U.N. Secretary General on the scheduling of cannabis in the UN Single Convention of Drugs, which is based on a report from 1935.
*Release the remaining medical cannabis POWs and drop the handful of remaining prosecutions.
“Medical Cannabis in America: The Medical Cannabis Briefing Book” also dispels a number of popular myths about cannabis - amongst them that cannabis is a “gateway” drug, and documents how over 2 million Americans rely on state-run, physician supervised cannabis programs to alleviate symptoms of illnesses like cancer, crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, parkinson’s, seizure disorders, post traumatic stress, and chronic pain.

The report shows that:
*Opiate related deaths dropped an average of 24.8% in states with medical cannabis laws.
*89% of Americans support medical cannabis.
*The Department of Justice (DOJ) has spent an estimated $592 million to date in arrests, investigations, enforcement raids, pretrial services, incarceration, and probation.
*The total amount spent on federal interference under the Bush Administration two terms was estimated to be in excess of $232 million — The Obama Administration two terms has spent $350 million.
*In 2012 the DEA used 5% of their budget on medical cannabis cases.
*There are 44 states with medical cannabis laws.

“The next Congress must pass the CARERS Act or its successor bill to protect millions of patients from federal interference in states with medical cannabis programs,” said Mike Liszewski, Director of Government Affairs at Americans for Safe Access. “CARERS has the potential to greatly improve public health by harmonizing state and federal medical cannabis laws, but we need our elected officials to act swiftly. Millions of people depend on this botanical medicine and simply cannot afford to wait.”

There are 128,000 opiate related deaths annually as opposed to 0 deaths caused by cannabis.  The ASA recommendations include reflecting the most current science across DEA platforms and overhauling regulations that prevent medical marijuana research. In order to protect medical cannabis patients in the U.S. we must help manufacturers, growers, and distributors to operate without fear of federal interference.

Source :ASA 
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.

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