Sunday, December 17, 2017

New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program 2017 Year in Review




The year 2017 started with some big significance for the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act(2007), it was the 10 year anniversary of when the the LECUA was passed into law, on March 13th 2007. The coming New Year and 2018 are just around the corner and that is also very significant, as it is the 40th year now since enacting HB 329 the nation's first law recognizing the medical value in cannabis- that is really big for New Mexico as no other medical cannabis state can say this and as a community should be proud and celebrate this achievement.

The year also started out very busy for cannabis policy in New Mexico. The New Mexico State Legislature convened in January 2017 for a 60-day session with Democrats back in control of both chambers. The nation's only unsalaried Legislature gathered in Santa Fe, starting the legislative session with consideration of a wide range of policy initiatives and address a state budget crisis brought on by a downturn in the energy sector. Cannabis policy did get a lot of discussion, as we saw over 25 different bills filed in the Roundhouse affecting cannabis.

Two Hemp specific bills and Representative Gentry’s medical cannabis bills all made it to the Governor’s desk. Vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez, was House Bill-527, on Friday April 7th 2017 (same day as the medical cannabis advisory board meeting), saying she did so in part because she didn’t want to “eliminate an important responsibility” of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board. The Governor’s Office did not follow proper veto procedure on the Hemp bills and they both should be coming into law in 2018, the matter is currently tied up in courts.




The State’s Medical Cannabis Program expansion is now “Medically Necessary”and the State needs to allow the Department of Health to open the application process, the State needs to increase the LNPP plant count, add more licensed non-profit producers, in conjunction with other measures to ensure safe access to medicine and to be compliant with the law. Currently there is ⅓ of a cannabis plant per one person in the medical cannabis program.

New Mexico has the highest licensing fees in the nation, and some of the lowest plant counts allowed. Licensed Non Profit Producers pay the state $200 for each plant they intend to grow, and can only grow up to 450 plants paying $90,000. All together they are licensed to grow 14,550 plants. Not all Producers are growing the max allowed 450 plants.

Medical Cannabis Program 2017 Second Quarterly Report Summary & 2017/2018 Relicensure:

- 1 Licensed Non Profit Producer Per 1,300 Patient
- 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
- Totals Plants in Production: 12,281 (out of 13,800 possible)
- Number of Plants Harvested: 5,430
- 2017/2018 Relicensure; Total Medical Cannabis Plants = 14,550 (For over 45,000 Patients)
(⅓ of a plant per patient)
- If all 35 LNPPs grew the max allowed: (450 Medical Cannabis Plants x 35) Total = 15,750

“Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.” ... Albert Einstein.


LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico Grassroots Advocacy Group Provides Forty Two (42) Petitions to the State of New Mexico Department of Health For Expanding Safe Access of Medical Cannabis in 2017
These Petitions are being provided to the State Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program so the advisory board can review and recommend to the department for approval additional debilitating medical conditions and medical treatments that would benefit from the medical use of cannabis with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.

For the Petitions that were heard on Friday, November 3rd 2017:

November 2017 MCAB Petitions
Petition Action & MCAB Vote (Y-N)
Health Conditions To Add Petitions:
  1. ADD/ADHD & Tourette's Syndrome -Recommended to add to MCP with 5-0 Vote
  2. All Forms of Arthritis -Accepted Condition under Chronic Pain
  3. Cystic Fibrosis -Accepted Condition under Chronic Pain
  4. Degenerative Neurological Disorder / Neuroprotective Applications
-Recommended to add to MCP with 5-0 Vote
  1. Diabetes -Not heard and No reason given
  2. Dysmenorrhea -Accepted Condition under Chronic Pain
  3. Eczema / Psoriasis -Recommended to add to MCP with 4-1 Vote
  4. Muscular Dystrophy -Recommended to add to MCP with 5-0 Vote
  5. Polymyalgia Rheumatica -Accepted Condition under Chronic Pain
  6. Post-Concussion Syndrome & TBI -Recommended to add to MCP with 5-0 Vote
  7. All Types Seizures (such as: psychogenic neurologic disorders; Motor Disorders / Motor Development Disorders) -Recommended to add to MCP with 5-0 Vote
  8. Substance Abuse Disorder(s) -Recommended to add to MCP with 5-0 Vote
  9. 2017-44 Opioid Use Disorder: 11-06-2016 Vote of 5-1 to recommend, Secretary Gallagher denied the recommendation and did not add Opiate Use Disorder as a qualifying condition Petitioner for Opioid Use Disorder would like to present technical evidence from: -Petitioner -Dr. Steve Jenison - Drug Policy Alliance November Vote was -Recommended to add to MCP with 5-0 Vote


November 2017 MCAB Petitions Continued
Petition Action & MCAB Vote (Y-N)
Medical Treatment Petitions:
  1. Medical Treatment; Pediatric Oncology & Medical Cannabis Use for Antiemetic in State Hospitals -Recommended to add to MCP with 5-0 Vote by sending a letter of support to Legislature to add into LECUA Act, 2007.

  1. Medical Treatment; Medical Cannabis Program Research & Education Established
(Petition was not heard at this meeting - “they are beyond the scope of the Medical Advisory Board.”)
  1. Medical Treatment; ADA language for Section 8 of LECUA; Medical cannabis registry
(Petition was not heard at this meeting - “they are beyond the scope of the Medical Advisory Board.”)
  1. Medical Treatment; Medical Cannabis 3 yr registry identification cards.
(Petition was not heard at this meeting - “they are beyond the scope of the Medical Advisory Board.”)
  1. Medical Treatment; Recognition of nonresident medical cards.
(Petition was not heard at this meeting - “they are beyond the scope of the Medical Advisory Board.”)
  1. Medical Treatment; Adequate Supply: LNPP Plant Count Increase
(Petition was not heard at this meeting - “they are beyond the scope of the Medical Advisory Board.”)
  • 3 of the 5 MCAB members made public comment that they feel this is part of the scope of work they do for the program and further said they (MCAB) should have been able to hear this petition as it does pertain to adequate supply in the medical cannabis program.
  1. Medical Treatment; Increase MCAB membership
(Petition was not heard at this meeting - “they are beyond the scope of the Medical Advisory Board.” Despite the Boards desire to review and hear the petition and others.)

Petitions from the April 2017 MCAB meeting and MCAB result below. The final decision at the November 2017 meeting on these Petitions that MCAB had recommended to add in the MCP was made by Secretary Gallagher, and was to deny and refuse all the recommendations made by the doctors.
April 2017 Petitions
Petition Action & MCAB Vote (Y-N) Secretary’s Final Decision
2017‐012 Add autism as a condition - Recommended to add to MCP 3-0 No to add
2017‐013 Add anxiety as a condition - Recommended to add to MCP 3-1 No to add
2017‐014 Add depression - Recommended to add to MCP 4-0 No to add
2017‐017 Add Dystonia - Recommended to add to MCP 4-0 No to add
2017‐018 Add Migraines - Recommended to add to MCP 4-0 No to add
2017‐019 Add Rheumatoid Arthritis - Recommended to expand terms 4-0 No to add
2017‐020 Sleep Disorders - Recommended to add to MCP 4-0 No to add
2017‐022 Patient Run Collectives - Recommended to add to MCP 4-0 No to add
2017-005 Change/increase possession limit to 16 oz-Recommended 4-0 No to add
2017-009 Removal of Max THC Content-Recommended Removal of Cap   4-0 No to add
2017‐015 Add Concussions, CTE and TBI as a condition was Tabled in April ---
2017‐021 Add Substance Abuse Disorder as a condition was Tabled in April ---


Attached here is Secretary Gallagher’s full decision regarding the petitions submitted for the Medical Advisory Board Hearing on April 07, 2017. All Petitions Can Be Viewed Online At: LECUA NM MCP MCAB Petitions (http://lecuanmmcpmcabpetitions.blogspot.com/)

Based on the statement made by the Governor of New Mexico in April 2017, the State should have followed and accepted all the April 2017 Petition Recommendations because of that important responsibility of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board the Governor spoke of.

A Medical Cannabis Program update in November 2017 by Program Manager Mr. Vigil, he said approximately 48,000 patients were enrolled as of September and it was mentioned again of the Department of Health’s plans to have a online application system created sometime in 2018 for program participants to then be able to do that process online as well as having the paper application option. Also during the first three quarters of 2017 the MCP office has continued to do a great job in maintaining a application processing time average of 20 days. The program office continues to grow as well, with a new medical director & health educator now hired and a environmental scientist.

A representative from a State Lab that test medical cannabis in the program mentioned how they had done a test on a medical cannabis product and this product had failed the Microbiological Contaminants testing they did, these failed test results were then entered in the BioTrackTHC Computer System. Then the State Lab went back into BioTrackTHC to check the entered failed test result - It had been deleted out of BioTrackTHC by an unknown user from another location...this is extremely concerning as it exposes two major issues: 1) Unauthorized Access (A Security Hack into BioTrack that also has patient information?) and 2) that medical cannabis that failed the Microbiological Contaminants test was also sold to patients.

New Mexico requires that producers have their cannabis tested for a number of other things, including potency, microbial contaminants, solvents and metals—a more comprehensive list than a majority of other medical cannabis states. In October 2017, the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee hearing had busy discussion on medical cannabis testing. Speaking before the committee was Reginald Gaudino, vice president of scientific operations at the company Steep Hill, Gaudino advocated more strongly for tighter pesticide rules.

“We’ve received a number of complaints from users as well as received samples with testimony saying that after using [a] product, they were passing out, their lips were bleeding, vomiting, conditions we’ve seen in other states that had pesticide problems,” Gaudino said.




New Mexico Advocates Push For Medical Cannabis Program Changes.
A new study conducted by researchers at The University of New Mexico, involving medical cannabis and prescription opioid use among chronic pain patients, found a distinct connection between having the legal ability to use cannabis and significant reductions in opioid use. The study titled, “Associations between Medical Cannabis and Prescription Opioid Use in Chronic Pain Patients: A Preliminary Cohort Study,” and published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by Drs. Jacob Miguel Vigil, associate professor, Department of Psychology and Sarah See Stith, assistant professor, Department of Economics. The results from this preliminary study showed a strong correlation between enrollment in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) and cessation or reduction of opioid use, and that whole, natural Cannabis sativa and extracts made from the plant may serve as an alternative to opioid-based medications for treating chronic pain.

At the meeting with the Attorney General’s Office in Santa Fe (Dec. 11th 2017) we discussed, ‘Medical Cannabis in New Mexico 2017: The Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act Report’ , that I had put together outlining theses 7 items below and these were our main discussion topics…(It was myself and two members of the Attorney General’s Office.)

Medical Cannabis in New Mexico 2017: The Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act Report.

This report will provide the State of New Mexico with timely tools they need
to improve the medical cannabis program to truly meet the needs of the patients they are meant to serve. The Full Report is 40 pages and attached here and link is below.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R3JoaVmYfpVQZ3o2HK12ZIgbtoBdpSKm/view?usp=sharing


The State of New Mexico is Not following or fulfilling the following sections of the LECUA Law:
*The purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis and this is Not being fulfilled.
*"adequate supply" for the Medical Cannabis Program is Not being followed or fulfilled.
*The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Duties are Not being allowed to be fulfilled.
*Recommendations made by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board are Not being followed.
*The Department of Health is not fulfilling its own Duties in accordance with the LECUA, 2007 and the State Rules Act. (Example: Testing of Medical Cannabis)
*The Department is not following or fulfilling one of the most crucial sections of the LECUA law; “determine additional duties and responsibilities of the advisory board; and be revised and updated as necessary”
*The State of New Mexico is acting as a Medical Provider and Practicing Medicine Without a Medical License and is therefore Not following the LECUA Law.

The meeting went really well, the Attorney General’s Office is going to look into things much more closely, that were provided to them and review both MCAB meetings from this year. They were very interested in how the doctors were making recommendations for improving the program and how the process works that has had them being denied by the Secretary. And the point was raised of how the DoH may not have acted even if wanting to, due to who their boss is- Governor Martinez... I encouraged them to speak to the doctors on the Advisory Board as well, mentioning the comments made at the November meeting by the MCAB doctors in wanting to hear petitions about increasing the plant count for producers and patients.

Bryan Krumm, Medical Director of Harmony Psychiatric LLC, has been proactively advocating for the medical cannabis community with his petition before the DEA on rescheduling and in filing a complaint with Hector Balderas Office. Making the great point of how,“Lynn Gallagher is an attorney, an appointed bureaucrat serving at the leisure of an anti-marijuana governor. She has no presumed expertise in medicine and is not qualified to evaluate the quality of medical or scientific research. She has no legal standing to exert her own “medical opinion” over that of a well qualified Medical Advisory Board.”

A few other advocacy and legislative policy items that are being worked on.
2018 New Mexico Legislation Proposal Outline:


1. A Joint Resolution: New Mexico Legislative Reform.

PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE 4, SECTION 5 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO LENGTH OF SESSIONS; ITEMS CONSIDERED IN EVEN-NUMBERED YEARS AND SECTION 10 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF NEW MEXICO TO PAY STATE LEGISLATORS AN ANNUAL SALARY IN AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME IN NEW MEXICO FOR THE MOST RECENT CALENDAR YEAR.

2. An Act: Related to Amending the LECUA, 2007.

RELATING TO THE PUBLIC PEACE, HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE;AMENDING THE LYNN AND ERIN COMPASSIONATE USE ACT; EXEMPTING CERTAIN APPROVED ENTITIES AND EMPLOYEES AND AGENTS FROM CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LIABILITY; ALLOWING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO EXTEND THE ENROLLMENT OF A QUALIFIED PARTICIPANT; REQUIRING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO ENTER INTO INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENTS WITH NEW MEXICO INDIAN NATIONS, TRIBES AND PUEBLOS THAT PARTICIPATE IN THE STATE'S MEDICAL CANNABIS PROGRAM; AMENDING A SECTION OF THE JONATHAN SPRADLING REVISED UNIFORM ANATOMICAL GIFT ACT; ENACTING A NEW SECTION OF THE NMSA 1978 TO REMOVE PARTICIPATION IN THE STATE'S MEDICAL CANNABIS PROGRAM AS GROUNDS FOR CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES INTERVENTION; DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

3. An Act: Medical Cannabis Program Research.

RELATING TO MEDICAL CANNABIS; AMENDING SECTIONS OF THE LYNN AND ERIN COMPASSIONATE USE ACT AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ACT TO PROVIDE FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS RESEARCH; CREATING THE CANNABIS RESEARCH ADVISORY COUNCIL; CREATING THE CANNABIS RESEARCH FUND; LIMITING LIABILITY FOR RESEARCHERS; AND CREATING PROGRAM INDUSTRY EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.

4. An Act: New Mexico CARERS 2018. “New Mexico Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2018”

RELATING TO THE PUBLIC PEACE, HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE; RELATING TO THE PRINCIPLE OF FEDERALISM TO THE STATE CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE ACT AND STATE DRUG POLICY, RELATING TO CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES; DECREASING PENALTIES FOR POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA AND OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA; CREATING A PENALTY ASSESSMENT FOR THE CRIMINAL CODE; PROVIDE ACCESS TO MEDICAL CANNABIS, RELATING TO CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES; DEFINING AND SCHEDULING CANNABIDIOL; AND ENABLE STATE RESEARCH INTO THE MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF CANNABIS; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION. DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.

5. A Joint Memorial: Lynn Pierson and Erin Armstrong be commemorated for their courage to advocate for legal access to medical cannabis.

COMMEMORATING LYNN PIERSON AND ERIN ARMSTRONG FOR THEIR COURAGE AND STRENGTH IN ADVOCACY FOR ALLOWING LEGAL ACCESS TO MEDICAL CANNABIS IN NEW MEXICO FOR ALLEVIATING SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND THEIR TREATMENTS AND RECOGNIZING FEBRUARY 13TH, 2018 AS "MEDICAL CANNABIS DAY" IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE; AND RECOGNIZING JULY 10TH, 2018 AS "MEDICAL CANNABIS DAY" IN THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO. MEDICAL CANNABIS HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY HELPING NEW MEXICANS FOR OVER TEN (10) YEARS; FORTY (40) YEARS AGO NEW MEXICO’S MEDICAL CANNABIS HISTORY STARTED IN 1978 BY ENACTING HB 329 THE NATION'S FIRST LAW RECOGNIZING THE MEDICAL VALUE IN CANNABIS

For all of these legislative policy items for the Roundhouse, the full text of the legislation is already written up and there are a few different legislators looking at them for consideration.


Proclamations Requested in 2017

In reaching out to the Mayor's Offices in the cities of Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe in December 2017, a request was made in each one that Proclamations be declared. A Proclamation is an effective tool in creating awareness and honoring people or causes.

Here is a copy of the Proclamation used:
Date requested to be Proclaimed is February 2nd, 2018 (in all three Cities if it works out)

Official Title of Day to be Proclaimed:
Lynn Pierson and Erin Armstrong be commemorated for their courage to advocate for legal access to medical cannabis and that February 2, 2018 be recognized as "Medical Cannabis Day" in the Great City of Albuquerque!

Background Information:

COMMEMORATING LYNN PIERSON AND ERIN ARMSTRONG FOR THEIR COURAGE AND STRENGTH IN ADVOCACY FOR ALLOWING LEGAL ACCESS TO MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR ALLEVIATING SYMPTOMS CAUSED BY DEBILITATING MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND THEIR TREATMENTS AND RECOGNIZING FRIDAY FEBRUARY 2nd, 2018 AS "MEDICAL CANNABIS DAY" IN THE GREAT CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE; MEDICAL CANNABIS HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY HELPING NEW MEXICANS FOR OVER TEN (10) YEARS; AND FORTY (40) YEARS AGO NEW MEXICO’S MEDICAL CANNABIS HISTORY STARTED IN 1978 BY ENACTING HB 329 THE NATION'S FIRST LAW RECOGNIZING THE MEDICAL VALUE IN CANNABIS.

"WHEREAS, Forty Years ago in 1978, Lynn Pierson, an Albuquerque cancer patient, advocated for the passage of a model medical cannabis program in New Mexico; and the New Mexico legislature passed the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act in 1978, establishing the Lynn Pierson therapeutic research program as a result of Lynn's advocacy efforts and it was the nation's first law recognizing the medical value in cannabis; and"

"WHEREAS, Erin Armstrong advocated tirelessly for the passage of New Mexico's current medical cannabis program law; and New Mexico's medical cannabis law took effect on July 1, 2007, after enactment of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act; and"

"WHEREAS, Today more than fifty thousand (50,000) patients are currently protected to possess and use medical cannabis as medicine in New Mexico; and'

"WHEREAS, any medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy or nurse practitioner licensed to prescribe medicine in New Mexico is eligible to write a recommendation for qualified patients to register in the state's medical cannabis program. New Mexico law enforcement agencies recognize that state law protects patients who have registered with the department of health for possession of medical cannabis in the medical cannabis program; and"

"WHEREAS, Ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis means: International, federal and state laws and regulations recognized cannabis as a legal medicine, Medical professionals recommend medical cannabis options as a frontline treatment option or an adjunct therapy, Patients and their caregivers have the information they need to make educated choices about medical cannabis therapies, Patients and medical professionals can incorporate a diverse group of products and delivery methods to create required personalized treatment regimen, Patients can trust labels on products and that medicines are free of pesticides and contaminants, Medical cannabis treatments are eventually covered by insurance; and'

"WHEREAS, A total of twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico now allow for comprehensive public medical cannabis programs.'

"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE that Lynn Pierson and Erin Armstrong be commemorated for their courage to advocate for legal access to medical cannabis as medicine in New Mexico and that February 02, 2018 be recognized as "Medical Cannabis Day" (end of proclamation)

And through the Governor's Office in New Mexico, you can also request a Proclamation. So that was also requested from the Governor in December 2018, using the exact same proclamation above, to issue one recognizing Lynn and Erin.

Today the New Mexico medical cannabis program is pushing close to 50,000 registered participants by the end of the 2018 with 35 licensed (non-profit) producers growing 14,550 medical cannabis plants, as the program hits the end of its 10th year. There was a increase of 16,328 program participants this year by the end of November 2017 showing a 56.2% growth rate for 2017. (Based on DoH Reports)

The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created in 2007, as the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, under chapter 210 Senate Bill 523. The purpose of this 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.

The State’s Medical Cannabis Program expansion is now “Medically Necessary”; the State needs to allow the Department of Health to open the application process to add more licensed non-profit producers, in conjunction with the addition of patient run collectives and allowing some producers to increase the plants they can grow.

The State can allow the Department and Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to exercise that important responsibility they have to all New Mexicans, by opening up and accepting producer applications under newly created rules that would have 3 different licensing options.

The Medical Cannabis Program officials can create 3 different licensing options to include:
*A Licensed Producer to operate only as a grow facility for distribution to dispensaries.
*A Licensed Producer to operate only as a dispensary for distribution to patients.
*A LNPP to operate both as a grow facility and licensed for to operate dispensaries - with a limit of 3 store fronts per this type of license.

In addition to reducing current and new licensing fees.

The approval of ALL the recommendations made by the Doctors on the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, having the Department of Health to open the application process to add more licensed non-profit producers, and increasing the amount of medical cannabis plants a LNPPs and Patients can grow; would all need to be done to bring the State of New Mexico in compliance with the legal intent of the LECUA law and uphold the spirit of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978. After public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis...the first law.



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