Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2nd Annual New Mexico Medical Cannabis Conference: Dr. Dustin Sulak

Presented by The Verdes Foundation at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
Sunday, March 4, 2018 10 am – 5 pm

2018 Conference Expert Profile: Dr. Dustin Sulak 
Director of Integr8 Health, Cofounder of,
 & Medical Cannabis Expert

Dr. Sulak brings a lot of positive energy and credibility to cannabis medicine and education.

Dr. Dustin Sulak is the founder and director of Integr8 Health, a network of holistic health clinics specializing in cannabis therapeutics with offices in Maine and Massachusetts. His educational work is featured on, a free online patient educational information resource.

Dustin Sulak, D.O. is a licensed osteopathic physician. He is a practitioner and advocate of integrative medicine, the intelligent combination of conventional and alternative approaches to healthcare. He has long been fascinated by mind-body medicine, spirituality in healthcare, and natural approaches to promoting health and healing. He is a clinical hypnotherapist, Reiki Sensei, practitioner of chi kung and yoga, and has studied with numerous conventional and alternative healers and physicians.

Dr. Sulak holds the distinction of being a Diplomat of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine. He lectures on medical cannabis and the endocannabinoid system nationally. He is an advocate for medical cannabis and has been impressed by the excellent clinical responses he's seen in medical cannabis patients. He is enthusiastic about educating patients on the optimal uses of medical cannabis, and educating healthcare providers who may be misinformed about this safe and incredibly effective medicine.

Dr. Sulak has assembled a team of like-minded healthcare practitioners to help provide high quality integrative medicine consultations and medical marijuana evaluations.

Dr. Sulak's Credentials:

Doctor of Osteopathy - Licensed General Practitioner
Reiki Sensei
Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
Bachelor of Science in Biology
Bachelor of Science in Nutrition
Dr. Sulak is a graduate of Indiana University and the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine.

He has helped set the standard of care for the use of medical cannabis in a wide variety of conditions, including pain, spasticity, seizure disorders, PTSD, and more. Dr. Sulak lectures nationally to medical providers and patients on the appropriate use of medical cannabis, and continues to explore the therapeutic potential of this ancient yet emerging trend in medicine.

Medical cannabis works best with education. And through Dr. Sulak’s FREE programs, on you will learn:
1) How to find your optimal cannabis dosage
2) How to use cannabis therapeutically, without the high (if desired)
3) How to become more sensitive to cannabis
4) How to control unwanted side effects

Whether you’re new to cannabis therapy or an experienced user, if you’re serious about realizing the optimal health benefits of cannabis, will help you get there!
Healer’s mission is to empower people to live life to its fullest in great health. We achieve this through education, advocacy, and research. offers unmatched expertise in the correct use of medical cannabis, and through the educational programs on this site, provide the tools you need to get the most out of your cannabis therapy.

Developed by recognized cannabis expert Dr. Dustin Sulak, these valuable educational programs are based on science and clinical experience that’s successfully helped thousands of patients find relief from chronic pain, anxiety, spasticity and other health challenges.

A new kind of health care community.’s goal is to create a positive and supportive community of like-minded medical cannabis users. Healer is a transparent, trusted source of cannabis information, a respected authority on its safe and smart use.

Dr. Sulak launched this site and its programs with the essential basics of dosage, delivery methods, and the development of healthy new patterns in your life. In the coming months, we will continue to add more educational information as we endeavor to return cannabis to its place as the accepted therapeutic medicine it once was.

Cannabis News Journal Interview with Dr. Dustin Sulak:
Dr. Sulak also works in educating doctors and medical providers across the US with Cannabis Expertise, conducting Medical Cannabis Education Symposiums and providing comprehensive CME’s in the clinical education.

Interview Transcript:

Cannabis News Journal: In New Mexico we have a regulation limiting the potency of concentrates, does having such a regulation limiting cannabinoid potency prevent a patient from being allowed beneficial use of medical cannabis as a medical treatment?

Dr. Sulak: So my first comment, is how Cannabis is a very different medicine in terms of dosing, for example on one end of the spectrum I will see a Adult patient taking literally 1 mg of cannabinoids daily whether it be THC or CBD or a combination of both and that 1 mg with provide relief. And then I could see a subquesent patient taking 2000 mg dose without any adverse effects and providing good results. It’s important with a variety of different diagnosis for patients and different dosing needed that we have versatile treatment options where some are very low and some are very high potency.

And having a concentrate at 70% THC potency by weight, in my opinion is strong enough for any condition that requires a high does. Lets take for example someone with cancer who wanted to take 1400 mg of THC oil, that would be 2 grams of 70% Cannabis Oil and that’s something that could be done. In terms of public health whether it’s 70%, 80% or even up to 90% - it’s not going to make that much of a difference since the person requiring the high dose can achieve it. Nor does the restriction in place, limiting the potency, provide any protection to public health. 
And then for a extraction lab to produce a more potent product over 70% potency, they are having to use a technique(s) that will actually detract from the cannabis medicine. Take a distillate for example, in the distillation where the THC is being concentrated to get above 70% or 80% THC, that process is causing other beneficial cannabinoids to be removed from the final product. And we know from doing cancer studies on animal models for pain and inflammation, that the whole plant and all its components are always superior to the individual molecule medicines. Once we go above a 70% percent range that’s when we’re going in the direction of single molecule medicine and lose those other beneficial components from the whole plant. When we look at a ethanol concentrate like RSO, we really don’t see them above that 70%, its mainly butante and distillation processed concentrates that are going higher, and I think some can be done well but I’m not convinced that it’s a better quality of medicine.

Cannabis News Journal: As more and more states legalize cannabis for recreational use and many of these states have pre-existing medical cannabis programs, like New Mexico; what would you say to policy makers who are letting the debate surrounding legalization of cannabis for recreational use obscure the science and policy regarding the medical use of cannabis? (In today’s era of how legalization and financial profits of cannabis has spread, the distinction matters.)

Dr. Sulak: Yes, being here in Maine and knowing what has happened in Washington state and Oregon, I think the best thing for public health and the best thing for patients is decriminalization of cannabis. Not legalization and isolation. And now I realize policy makers don’t like to hear this because with decriminalization they lose the ability to tax for all that tax revenue. And I certainly understand that and think it can be a subsequent benefit in the future. So the reason I am such a strong proponent of decriminalization first is because it prevents the quagmire many state have found themselves in trying to create a regulatory framework that inevitable criminalizes some people who aren’t criminals. Legalization before decriminalization also has shown favoritism to larger or more well funded organizations at the expense of local developments and it most certainly jeopardizes the continuity of patient care.

Take for example Washington state, before legalization was passed, there was close to 1500 Collectives which served as access points for medical cannabis. Once the Washington state legalization law was passed and the medical cannabis program merged with it, those access points for medical cannabis where cut down to less than 300. And then think what a cut back in safe access points to medical cannabis can have on a large rural state like Washington is. Then pair that cutback with the new market demand for recreational cannabis and how recreational cannabis isn’t the same - the products are different thus it’s pushing patients out of the medical cannabis program.

I think for policy makers their priority should be, so it’s clear, should be removing the public health risks of prohibition of cannabis. Those public health risks- like putting people in jail for victimless crimes, jeopardizing people's access to financial aid for higher education, jeopardizing people’s employment, and exposing people to a underground market that would increase their potential to access more harmful drugs. All of those areas of harm reduction are all ones that communities can see a public health improvement in, through the decriminalization of cannabis. And all of those issues can be achieved with a logical approach to decriminalization. Then the lawmakers could follow that up with a regulatory scheme for adult use legalization along with keeping crucial aspects for the medical patients and medical cannabis program, like ensuring patients will be able to grow and produce their own medicine.

Cannabis News Journal: As a leading expert on medical cannabis, what are your thoughts on treating Substance Abuse Disorders with Medical Cannabis?

Dr. Sulak: There are several studies already done that looked at medical cannabis patients and their rate of substitution of using cannabis inplace of pharmaceutical and illicit drugs, these studies all consistently show at a high rate of 40% to 60% range of that cannabis use in place of others like; alcohol, nicotine, opioids, and hard illicit drugs. So first of all- we know that there is potential for that substitution and that is unarguable. So then the next question is, we already know a lot of people are doing it through observation data models and there is not much research done for controlled studies with data on how much they are taking the cannabis - the process they are using. And that has the Substance Abuse medical community, rightfully, not embracing this yet since we don’t have that data or studies done for usage and their process. And then the real problem is- for the patients who are already doing this substitution method and how there is a real opportunity for the medical community for EDUCATION and in helping their patient do it in the safest and most effective way. The aspect of education behooves the addiction and behavioral health medicine community, for example, when THC is inhaled it has a a rewarding effect which means it triggers pleasure centers in the brain and people with addiction know they need to be very careful in experiencing a strong rewarding effect because it can cause a relapse and trigger them to seek out more pleasurable experiences. But that risk factor isn’t only limited to THC; potato chips could be a risk, pornography could be a risk, a soft drink with a lot of sugar and caffeine could be a risk - there’s a lot of things that can trigger those pleasure centers associated with addiction.

Now with the right information, the person with a substance abuse disorder would be able to realize that using medical cannabis products that is not inhaled, but rather dosed sublingually (orally under the tongue) because it then has a slower onset along with then including CBD with the THC will further reduce the rewarding effects to little if nothing at all. And that then makes the risk for use and abuse extremely low. And that brings us back to the educational component so that the patient knows the safest way for them to use medical cannabis.

Cannabis News Journal: Can you speak to the importance for the medical cannabis patient to discuss their medical cannabis use with their primary care physician and medical providers, since many patients are still certified for medical cannabis use through separate clinics and many of them do not follow their patients us? Especially for inclusion of more Seniors and the elderly population so they can benefit from medical cannabis.

Dr. Sulak: It’s always best to have the doctor or medical provider who has issued the medical cannabis certification to be actively involved in the ongoing care of the patient. This means recommending a dosing regimen, following up with the patient on the effectiveness of their cannabis use and making necessary changes.

This is all basic medicine, as then they would want to communicate then with the primary care physician if they are not already, and anyone else involved in their medical care.
Essentially for medical cannabis to work right, it is unfair for the new patients to have to try to figure this out on their on, rely on friends, family or even a budtender - as they might be the easiest source but this is where the importance of the cannabis clinician and medical professionals come in.

Most seniors take prescription drugs on a daily basis. The “side effects” of cannabis are insignificant in comparison to the side effects of many prescription drugs, and not a single person has ever died from a cannabis overdose. An ongoing 30-year study found that a person weighing 140 pounds would have to consume over 4 pounds of cannabis in one sitting to reach toxic levels, and that still would not be a fatal dosage. The powerful antioxidant effects of cannabis can provide relief for many disorders including liver inflammation from Hepatitis C, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, and many other serious medical conditions that all involve inflammation and oxidative damage.

A major complaint of seniors regarding their daily medications is that the first pill often causes side effects that the second one is supposed to “fix.” Cannabis and its healing properties target various conditions such as inflamed joints, high blood pressure, chronic pain, digestive disorders, constipation, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, cognitive awareness, and more cannabis has the potential for accentuating the effect of many commonly prescribed drugs. For example, opiate based painkillers are typically enhanced when cannabis is used concurrently, often resulting in a reduction of pharmaceutical medicines and safer use of opioids for seniors.

One of the most dangerous health risks among senior citizens is the loss of appetite, leading to weight loss. Cannabis has been extremely successful in alleviating nausea and as an appetite stimulant. That being said, A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology finds an intriguing connection between cannabis use and body weight, showing that rates of obesity are lower by roughly a third in people who smoke cannabis at least three times a week, compared with those who don’t use cannabis at all.

Cannabis News Journal: In the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program, there is no CME requirement in place for medical providers recommending medical cannabis nor is there any state requirement for educational and training standards for dispensary staff.

Dr. Sulak: I think that is very important for state medical cannabis programs to have training standards and educational standards like CME requirements in place for medical providers, states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York, Maryland, Illinois and Minnesota all have that CME requirement. And I am personally a provider of CME course for medical providers in Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania through a company called Cannabis Expertise. We conduct both Medical Cannabis Education Symposiums and host online webinars.

Cannabis Expertise offers courses and symposiums across the US, with Nationally accredited AMA, AOA, ACPE, ANCC and APRN credits available. We provide 2, 4, 8 or 18 hour live trainings. We are approved education provider for the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota; enabling healthcare providers in those states to meet state requirements and have a good knowledge base to use in their practices.

These courses provide physicians, pharmacists, registered nurses and advanced practice nurses medical and scientific information on cannabis as a medicine. This knowledge allows the healthcare professionals to have the knowledge to talk with patients and caregivers about the pros and cons of cannabis as a treatment.

Cannabis News Journal: Dr. Dustin Sulak will be presenting, “Cannabis: A Solution To The Opioid Epidemic?”, in Albuquerque on Sunday, March 4th 2018 at the 2nd Annual New Mexico Medical Cannabis Conference presented by Verdes Foundation.

Visit Dr. Dustin Sulak's
Medical Cannabis Patient Education
Medical Cannabis Clinical Education

Integr8 Health

Don’t forget to bring the essentials for taking notes: Pens, Pencils, Paper, Notebook, Clipboard or Laptop.

Sunday, March 4, 2018 10 am – 5 pm
National Hispanic Cultural Center - Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts

Purchase Tickets Here Or Call Verdes Foundation at (505) 280-2814

R. Greenleaf also has a limited number of tickets at (505) 217-9101

On Sunday March 4th :Registration 10:00 am; Conference 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Lunch Break 1:00 pm. You can add a boxed lunch option when your purchase your ticket or enjoy lunch on your own.


Presented by Bonni Goldstein, M.D.

Presented by Debra Kimless, M.D.

Presented by Mara Gordon

Presented by Dr. Dustin Sulak

NM Medical Cannabis Conference
Integr8 Health
Dr. Dustin Sulak 

Monday, February 26, 2018

2nd Annual New Mexico Medical Cannabis Conference: Bonni Goldstein, M.D.

Presented by The Verdes Foundation at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
Sunday, March 4, 2018 10 am – 5 pm

Credit: Verdes 
2018 Conference Expert Profile: Bonni Goldstein, M.D. 
- Healer, Author, and Medical Cannabis Expert

Nine years ago Dr. Bonni Goldstein took a leave of absence from practicing as a pediatric emergency medicine doctor. During her break she researched medical cannabis for a friend who had cancer and “was surprised to learn that there were a number of studies on the subject and researchers had discovered the endocannabinoid system, a major system in our bodies that wasn’t part of my medical school or residency curriculum. Intrigued, I started working in a cannabis clinician’s office in Long Beach, California. It was really eye opening and I haven’t looked back since,” said Goldstein, who became an author last fall when her book “Cannabis Revealed” was published.

It is conferences just like this one in Albuquerque, where Dr. Goldstein started to educate herself about cannabis. In a interview with Elevate Nevada, Dr. Goldstein goes on to say; “I went to a few conferences and the internet is chock full of information. Anybody and everybody can go on Google Scholar and type in cannabinoid receptor or cannabis therapy and it lists all the scientific articles. You can educate yourself, you don’t need to have access to a medical library to find the studies. They are right there on the internet. There’s a huge amount of research coming out of other countries, they have restrictions but they are allowing their scientists to do research. Our Schedule 1 status in the U.S. prohibits us from doing research on the benefits of cannabis. Just recently the DEA did say they were going to open up cannabis to be researched. However, there are still a fair amount of legal barriers to research. You have to do a ton of paperwork and jump through 10 hoops in order to get access to cannabis.”

A native of New Jersey, Dr. Bonni Goldstein received her undergraduate education at Rutgers College. She pursued her medical degree at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Her post-doctoral education included internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Goldstein also served as Chief Resident at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She was a Clinical Instructor in Pediatrics at USC School of Medicine in Los Angeles, Emergency Transport Attending Physician at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Emergency Medicine Attending Physician in the Pediatric Emergency Department at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

In 2008, Dr. Goldstein developed an interest in the science of medical cannabis after witnessing its beneficial effects in an ill friend. Since then she has been evaluating both adult and pediatric patients for use of medical cannabis. Dr. Goldstein has given numerous lectures to many patient support programs, including the Cancer Support Community, Southern California Prosthetics, and Pediatric Epilepsy. She has also lectured at CannaMed 2016 at Harvard University, United in Compassion Medical Cannabis Symposium in Sydney, Australia, Patients Out of Time 2015, and United Patients Group Conference 2016.

She is currently the Medical Director of Canna-Centers, a California-based medical practice devoted to educating patients about the use of cannabis for serious and chronic medical conditions. She is a Medical Consultant to She is a Member of the International Association of Cannabis as Medicine, the International Cannabinoid Research Society, and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

She has a special interest in treating children with intractable epilepsy, autism, and advanced cancers, as well as adults with chronic pain, autoimmune illnesses and other endocannabinoid deficiency disorders. Dr. Goldstein recently authored the book “Cannabis Revealed: How the world’s most misunderstood plant is treating everything from chronic pain to epilepsy.”

Cannabis News Journal Interview with Bonni Goldstein, M.D.
As we continue our conversation on the 2nd Annual New Mexico Medical Cannabis Conference, we are joined by Dr. Goldstein who’s groundbreaking work really has been leading the way with cutting edge clinical input for medical cannabis.

Interview Transcript

Cannabis News Journal: Why are hospitals in legal medical cannabis states being so slow to develop policies on inpatient use, like the Minnesota Hospital Association has already done?

Dr. Goldstein: The federal illegality, namely the categorization of cannabis as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, is likely the main reason why hospitals are reluctant to develop policies allowing patients to use cannabis while in hospital. Additionally, the vast majority of physicians, nurses and pharmacists are taught that cannabis is a drug of abuse. Undoing this propaganda is very difficult, especially when we still have healthcare professionals that are unaware and uneducated about the endocannabinoid system and its importance in human health. I was asked last year to speak to a large group of HMO physicians and the attorney for the HMO warned against my talk, claiming that “physicians careers will be ruined as they might be federally prosecuted for recommending or discussing cannabis with patients.” This is incorrect as there is a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that protects physicians and allows us to discuss cannabis medicine with their patients without fear of prosecution. It is this ongoing misinformation that continues the stigma against medical cannabis.

Cannabis News Journal: So how do you start that conversation about medical cannabis with your physician or medical provider in a way that sets the stage for an open, meaningful exchange?

Dr. Goldstein: I encourage patients to ask their physician about their professional opinion of medical cannabis. If the physician is adamantly against cannabis, the patient can choose whether or not they want to continue the conversation based on their comfort level. If the physician is neutral or positive, the conversation can continue openly. Either way, I highly recommend that patients print out a educational document, such as the "Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System" by Ethan Russo, MD, and share it in a non-confrontational way with their physicians. (

Education is the key! One other very important thing - if you are going to tell your doctor that you use medical cannabis, you should say “I medicate with medical cannabis because it helps my (condition)." I advise against using slang terms such as "pot" or “weed.” Elevating the conversation is likely to result in a non-judgmental conversation for both parties.

Cannabis News Journal:
Can you explain the importance for the medical cannabis patient to discuss their medical cannabis use with their primary care physician?

Dr. Goldstein: Trust and honesty are the core of a good relationship between a patient and his/her physician. In order to provide good care that follows the oath of “do no harm,” physicians need to know about all of a patient’s medications and supplements, including cannabis. Although cannabis is known to have an excellent safety profile, drug interactions can occur and unwanted consequences can be avoided when the physician is aware of use.

Cannabis News Journal: As more and more states legalize cannabis for recreational use and many of these states have pre-existing medical cannabis programs, like New Mexico; what would you say to policy makers who are letting the debate surrounding legalization of cannabis for recreational use obscure the science and policy regarding the medical use of cannabis?

Dr. Goldstein: As a physician, recreational use is not my focus. But again, I must reiterate that education is the key for both adult recreational use and medical use. If policy makers are educated about the medical indications and the safety of cannabis, they will be able to develop common sense policies that work for both medical and recreational use. Continuing to believe “Reefer Madness” propaganda is not helpful and in the long run harms our society.

Cannabis News Journal: Is there a difference between recreational and medical cannabis? (In today’s era of how legalization and financial profits of cannabis has spread, the distinction matters.)

Dr. Goldstein: Remember that the cannabinoids in the plant mimic the cannabinoids that our healthy cells make to maintain homeostasis of many of our physiologic processes. I argue that those who use recreational cannabis are often medicating, they just may not be aware of it.
The vast majority of recreational users do not become dependent on cannabis (according to recent research - link below - about 9% of recreational cannabis users are dependent versus 67.5% for nicotine users, 22.7% for alcohol users, and 20.9% for cocaine users). Contrary to common belief, most people who use cannabis, whether recreationally or medically, do not have problems associated with its use.
Lopez-Quintero, Catalina, et al. "Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC)." Drug & Alcohol Dependence 115.1 (2011): 120-130.

Cannabis News Journal greatly appreciates Dr. Goldstein for taking time from her very busy schedule to do the this interview for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Community.

Learn more from Dr. Goldstein and Canna-Centers below.  

Dr. Goldstein’s Patient Resources from Canna-Centers:


Credit: Canna-Centers

Cannabis Treatment of the Pediatric Patient I have been a pediatrician for 25 years and a medical cannabis specialist for the last nine years, assisting thousands of adults and children with serious medical conditions in using cannabis treatment. I have evaluated hundreds of children with severe epilepsy, autism, and cancer and have seen many obtain an incredible improvement in their quality of life with cannabis medicine.

Download Resource Here



Learn the effects of THC vs CBD, understand CBD:THC ratios, decide how you want to dose, explore dosing pros and cons, and be aware of precautions when dosing. This is a must-have guide for any new medical cannabis patient.

Download Resource Here



Cannabidiol, or CBD, has become a major focus of research due to its tremendous medicinal value and non-psychoactive properties. Learn about this amazing chemical, its effects and treatments, and discover what types of CBD products are on the market.

Download Resource Here

Visit Dr.Goldstein’s Website Here


Don’t forget to bring the essentials for taking notes: Pens, Pencils, Paper, Notebook, Clipboard or Laptop.

Sunday, March 4, 2018 10 am – 5 pm
National Hispanic Cultural Center - Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts

Purchase Tickets Here Or Call Verdes Foundation at (505) 280-2814

R. Greenleaf also has a limited number of tickets at (505) 217-9101

On Sunday March 4th :Registration 10:00 am; Conference 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Lunch Break 1:00 pm. You can add a boxed lunch option when your purchase your ticket or enjoy lunch on your own.

Presented by Bonni Goldstein, M.D.

Presented by Debra Kimless, M.D.

Presented by Mara Gordon

Presented by Dr. Dustin Sulak

Project CBD
NM Cannabis Conference 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

2018 New Mexico Elections And Political Candidates

A very important general election will be held in the state of New Mexico on November 6, 2018. 
Civic Engagement will be very important for Medical Cannabis in 2018; especially for Medical Cannabis Programs, for Patients, for Caregivers, for Producers, for Medical Providers, for Labs and for Manufacturers.

To register to vote, you must be:
1) A U.S. citizen;
2) A New Mexico resident;
3) At least 18 years old.
4) Have Your Registration Done 30 days Before The Election Date
(Register by MAY 5th 2018)

Register to vote or update your current voter registration online now! 

Or Call Toll Free: 1.800.477.3632 
Click This Link for Online Registration:


June 5, 2018: Primary election
November 6, 2018: General election
(Polling hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

U.S. Senate: New Mexico will elect one member to the U.S. Senate in the election on November 6, 2018. The election will fill the Class 1 Senate seat held by Martin Heinrich (D). He was first elected in 2012.

U.S. House: Voters will elect three candidates to serve in the U.S. House, one from each of the state's three congressional districts.

Nine state executive offices are up for election in New Mexico in 2018:
Lieutenant governor
Attorney general
Secretary of state
Public lands commissioner
Public education commissioner
Public regulation commissioner

State Legislature: All 70 House Chamber seats in the State Legislature are up for election in 2018. New Mexico state representatives serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years.

2018 Ballot will also include:
State Supreme Court
Intermediate appellate courts
Local Judges
Municipal Government
Ballot Measures

Qualified Political Parties in New Mexico
*Major Parties
New Mexico Democratic Party
New Mexico Republican Party
Libertarian Party of New Mexico

In New Mexico, only major political party candidates will appear on the Primary Election ballot. The three major political parties are the New Mexico Democratic Party, the New Mexico Republican Party and the Libertarian Party of New Mexico.

*Minor Parties
Green Party of New Mexico
Better for America Party of New Mexico

Qualified minor party candidates may appear on the General Election ballot and are nominated for office pursuant to the party rules on file with the Secretary of State and pursuant to NMSA 1978 §§ 1-8-2 and 1-8-3.
Civic Engagement will be very important for Medical Cannabis in 2018; especially for Medical Cannabis Programs, for Patients, for Caregivers, for Producers, for Medical Providers, for Labs and for Manufacturers.

Here is a few great videos to watch from the video series in the Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center section on Americans For Safe Access YouTube channel. ASA believes that good policy is created when those who are most affected are at the table. Just because you are medical cannabis patient, it doesn't mean that you automatically have a degree in public policy. ASA has always been committed to demystifying political systems and providing advocates the tools they need to participate in the processes in a meaningful way. Learn all about grassroots organizing, citizen lobbying, media spokesperson training, and much more.

· Medical Cannabis Advocate’s Training Center: Introduction

· Finding Your Voice

· Strategic Messaging

· Legislating Compassion

· Meeting with Officials

Election 2018 Candidates

New Mexico's US Senate elections, 2018
New Mexico will elect one member to the U.S. Senate on November 6, 2018.
Primary candidates for June 5th 2018
Martin Heinrich - Incumbent

Mick Rich - Construction company owner

Aubrey Dunn

New Mexico's Congressional District elections, 2018

New Mexico's 1st Congressional: District 1 

New Mexico's 1st.jpg

Current incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham-Democrat
Total Population: 698,441  Registered To Vote: 420,286 (60.2% Registered)
District 1 Medical Cannabis Patient Count: 18,401
Gender: 49.2% Male, 51.8% Female
Race: 68.2% White, 4.44% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.77% Black, 1.75% Asian
Ethnicity: 48.1% Hispanic
Unemployment: 10.8%
Median household income: $43,618
High school graduation rate: 87.4%
College graduation rate: 31.1%

2018 Primary candidates
John Abrams - Edgewood mayor pro tem
Patrick Davis - Albuquerque city councilor
John Flores
Debra Haaland
Jesse Heitner
Damian Lara - Attorney
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
Damon Martinez
Paul Moya

Janice Arnold-Jones

Lloyd Princeton

New Mexico's 2nd Congressional: District 2 

New Mexico's 2nd.jpg

Current incumbent Steve Pearce - Republican
Total Population: 702,936   Registered To Vote: 368,538 (52.4% Registered)
District 2 Medical Cannabis Patient Count: 14,148
Gender: 50.3% Male, 49.7% Female
Race: 80.7% White, 6.0% American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.6% Black
Ethnicity: 52.1% Hispanic
Unemployment: 11.5%
Median household income: $37,252
High school graduation rate: 78.5%
College graduation rate: 19.7%

2018 Primary candidates
Madeleine Hildebrandt
Xochitl Torres Small

Gavin Clarkson
Clayburn Griffin
Yvette Herrell - State Rep.
Monty Newman
Jack Volpato - Pharmacist

 New Mexico's 3rd Congressional: District 3 

New Mexico's 3rd.jpg

Current incumbent Ben Ray Lujan - Democrat 
Population: 680,847  Registered To Vote: 422,346 (Registered 62.0%)
District 3 Medical Cannabis Patient Count: 14,906
Gender: 49.9% Male, 50.1% Female
Race: 65.96% White, 17.24% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.99% Black, 1.28% Asian
Ethnicity: 39.81% Hispanic
Unemployment: 11.3%
Median household income: $44,467
High school graduation rate: 83.5%
College graduation rate: 25.6%

2018 Primary candidates
Ben Ray Lujan - Incumbent

Jerald Steve McFall

Christopher Manning

Seven state executive offices are up for election in New Mexico in 2018:

Lieutenant governor
Attorney general
Secretary of state
Public lands commissioner

Governor Primary candidates
Jeff Apodaca
State Sen. Joseph Cervantes
Peter DeBenedittis
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Rep. Steve Pearce

Christopher Michael Roybal

No Libertarian candidates have formally declared yet

Context of the 2018 Governor election-Noteworthy events-Campaign finance lawsuitOn November 28, 2017, Judge Judith Herrera issued a preliminary injunction allowing Rep. Steve Pearce (R) to access the nearly $942,000 in funds in his congressional campaign account while a legal battle over New Mexico's campaign finance laws proceeded. The case was brought by Pearce against the office of Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) and challenged a state law which prohibited Pearce from transferring the funds in his congressional campaign account into his gubernatorial campaign account. Under existing state law, a transfer from a campaign finance account used to run for federal office to a campaign finance account used to run for state office is considered to be a transfer between two separate campaigns and is therefore capped at $11,000, even when the accounts are associated with the same candidate. Pearce contended that this law was an undue violation of his freedom of political expression since the state does not limit the transfer of funds between two separate campaign finance accounts used by the same candidate to run for different state offices. As of Judge Herrera's preliminary injunction, Pearce had raised a total of $1 million for his gubernatorial campaign, while the Democratic candidate who had raised the most money, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), had raised a total of $2.4 million.
Lieutenant Governor Primary candidates
Former Public Education Commissioner Jeff Carr
Doña Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett
David McTeigue
Former state Rep. Rick Miera
State Sen. Michael Padilla

Former Cabinet Secretary Kelly Zunie

Attorney General Primary candidates
Hector Balderas - Incumbent

Michael Hendricks

A. Blair Dunn

Secretary of State candidates
Maggie Toulouse Oliver - Incumbent

JoHanna Cox[2]

Sandra Jeff[3]

Treasure candidates 
Tim Eichenberg - Incumbent

Arthur Castillo

Auditor Candidates 
Brian S. Colón - Former New Mexico Democratic Party chairman
State Rep. Bill McCamley

Wayne Johnson - Incumbent

Public Lands Commissioner candidates
State Sen. George Munoz - (D)
State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard - (D)
Garrett VeneKlasen - (D)
Public Regulation Commissioner Patrick Lyons - (R)
Michael Lucero - (L)

New Mexico Public Education Commission election, 2018
Note: The following list of potential and declared candidates is not official. It will be updated after the candidate filing deadline has passed and the official list of candidates becomes available.

New Mexico Public Regulation Commission election, 2018Note: The following list of potential and declared candidates is not official. It will be updated after the candidate filing deadline has passed and the official list of candidates becomes available.

Legislature elections, 2018All 70 House seats are up for election in 2018. New Mexico state representatives serve two-year terms, with all seats up for election every two years.

Democrats won control of the state House from Republicans in the 2016 elections. In the 2016 elections, Democrats gained five seats. Prior to 2016, Republicans held a 37-33 majority. After the 2016 election, Democrats controlled the chamber by a 38-32 margin. To retake control of the chamber in 2018, Republicans would need to gain four seats.

Democrats have a chance for a Democratic trifecta in 2018 if they keep control of the House and win the governor's office. The New Mexico State Senate is not up for election in 2018. In New Mexico's 2018 gubernatorial election, the overall race rating from five separate outlets was Lean Democrat in June 2017. Gov. Susana Martinez (R) was elected to a four-year term in 2014 and is term-limited in 2018. Martinez was re-elected with a margin of victory of 14 percent in 2014.

Nine House districts in New Mexico intersect with Pivot Counties. These nine districts are of 710 state legislative districts that intersect with one or more Pivot Counties. These 206 Pivot Counties voted for Trump (R) in 2016 after voting for Obama (D) in 2008 and 2012. Read more below.

New Mexico came under divided government when it elected Susana Martinez (R) as governor in the 2010 elections. From 2003 to 2010, Democrats had trifecta control, meaning they held both legislative chambers and the governor's mansion. Democrats retake control of the state House in the 2016 elections after Republicans held the chamber from 2015 to 2016. The state Senate was already controlled by Democrats prior to the 2016 elections.

Americans for Safe Access
New Mexico Secretary of State
New Mexico Department of Health 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Pay It Forward in Supporting the UNM Medical Cannabis Research Fund

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.

UNM Scientist and Private Physician Write the First Medical Cannabis Research Bill.
In February, 2015, UNM scientist, Dr. Jacob M. Vigil, and clinical pain specialist, Dr. Anthony Reeve wrote the first Medical Cannabis Research Bill to mandate that the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program direct a consistent proportion of revenue produced by the Program to local research on medical Cannabis. Supported in the Senate by Senator Jerry Ortiz (SB 516) and in the Congress by Representative Armstrong (HB 466), while gaining much traction in both houses of congress, failed to get the final approval before the end of the legislative session. The Bill continues to be proposed each legislative session and is expected to pass into law in the near future.

UNM Scientists Help Direct Federal Medical Cannabis Policy.

In July, 2016 the Director of the Division of Extramural Research for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Susan Weiss, cited a recent article published one month earlier by UNM scientists, Drs. Sarah Stith and Jacob Vigil, in her testimony to the U.S. Senate to justify medical Cannabis research reform. Soon after, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) "announced a policy change designed to foster research by expanding the number of DEA- registered marijuana manufacturers. This change should provide researchers with a more varied and robust supply of marijuana." Further, "...the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in consultation with DEA and the FDA, also released a statement of principles concerning provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 relating to the legalized growing and cultivating of industrial hemp for research purposes under certain conditions, such as in states where growth and cultivation are legal under state law." Sadly, these changes do not minimize the need for the MCRF to help fund scientifically valid and unbiased research on the true safety and efficacy of using medical Cannabis as a pharmacological agent in our present society.

Study Finds Medical Cannabis Is Effective At Reducing Opioid Addiction.
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.

UNM Economics Assistant Professor Sarah See Stith and Psychology Associate Professor Jacob Vigil.

Today, opioid-related drug overdoses are the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States killing approximately 100 Americans every day. Conventional pharmaceutical medications for treating opioid addiction, such as methadone and buprenorphine-tapering, can be similarly dangerous due to substantial risks of lethal drug interactions and overdose.

“Current levels and dangers of opioid use in the U.S. warrant the investigation of harm-reducing treatment alternatives,” said Vigil, who led the study. “Our results highlight the necessity of more extensive research into the possible uses of cannabis as a substitute for opioid painkillers, especially in the form of placebo-based, randomized controlled trials and larger sample observational studies.”

Cannabis has been investigated as a potential treatment for a wide range of medical conditions from post-traumatic stress disorder to cancer, with the most consistent support for the treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy and spasticity. In the U.S., states, including New Mexico, have enacted MCPs in part for people with chronic, debilitating pain who cannot be adequately or safely treated with conventional pharmaceutical medications.

Like other states, New Mexico only permits medical cannabis use for patients with certain debilitating medical conditions. All the patients in the study had a diagnosis of “severe chronic pain,” annually validated by two independent physicians, including a board-certified specialist.

New Mexico, Vigil notes, is among the U.S. states hardest hit by the current opioid epidemic, although the number of opioid-related overdose deaths appears to have fallen in recent years, perhaps the result of increased enrollment in the NM MCP, which currently includes more than 48,000 patients.

“MCPs are unique, not only because they allow patients to self-manage their cannabis treatment, but because they operate in conflict with U.S. federal law, making it challenging for researchers to utilize conventional research designs to measure their efficacy,” Vigil said.

The purpose of the researchers’ preliminary, cohort study was to help examine the association between enrollment in a MCP and opioid prescription use. The study observed 37 habitual opioid using, chronic pain patients that chose to enroll in the MCP between 2010 and 2015, compared to 29 patients with similar health conditions that were also given the option, but ultimately chose not to enroll in the MCP.

“Using informal surveys of patients enrolled in the MCP, we discovered a significant proportion of chronic pain patients reporting to have substituted their opioid prescriptions with cannabis for treating their chronic pain,” said Vigil.

The researchers used Prescription Monitoring Program opioid records over a 21-month observation period (first three months prior to enrollment for the MCP patients) to more objectively measure opioid cessation – defined as the absence of opioid prescriptions activity during the last three months of observation, with use calculated in average daily intravenous [IV] morphine dosages. MCP patient-reported benefits and side effects of using cannabis one year after enrollment were also collected.

By the end of the observation period, the data showed MCP enrollment was associated with a 17 times higher age- and gender-adjusted odds of ceasing opioid prescriptions, a 5 times higher odds of reducing daily prescription opioid dosages, and a 47 percentage point reduction in daily opioid dosages relative to a mean change of positive 10 percentage points in the non-enrolled patient group.

Survey responses indicated improvements in pain reduction, quality of life, social life, activity levels, and concentration, and few negative side effects from using cannabis one year after enrollment in the MCP.

The researchers’ findings, which provide clinically and statistically significant evidence of an association between MCP enrollment and opioid prescription cessation and reductions and improved quality of life warrant further investigations on cannabis as a potential alternative to prescription opioids for treating chronic pain.

According to Stith, “The economic impact of cannabis treatment should also be considered given the current burden of opioid prescriptions on healthcare systems, which have been forced to implement costly modifications to general patient care practices, including prescription monitoring programs, drug screening, more frequent doctor-patient interactions, treatment of drug abuse and dependence, and legal products and services associated with limiting opioid-related liability.”

“If cannabis can serve as an alternative to prescription opioids for at least some patients, legislators and the medical community may want to consider medical cannabis programs as a potential tool for combating the current opioid epidemic,” Vigil said.

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 here.

You can see the important medical Cannabis research projects that the MCRF is currently supporting here.

If you want to participant in a medical Cannabis research study in New Mexico, click here.

Information for current and future social and biomedical Cannabis researchers can be found here.

Today the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has over 50,000 registered participants (most all of whom are voters) with 35 licensed non-profit producers or LNPP’s now growing 14,550 medical cannabis plants, as the program hits the end of its 10th year. The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created in 2007, as the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, under chapter 210 Senate Bill 523. 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.

Advancements in Science

Vigil, J. M., Stith, S. S., Reeve, A. P. (2018). Accuracy of patient opioid use reporting at the time of medical cannabis license renewal. Pain Research and Management. Article ID 5704128, 4 pages, 2018. doi:10.1155/2018/5704128

Stith, S. S., Vigil, J. M., Adams, I. M., & Reeve, A. P. (2018). Effects of legal access to cannabis on Scheduled II-V Drug Prescriptions. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 19, 59-64.e1.

Vigil, J. M., Stith, S. S., Adams, I. M., & Reeve, A. P. (2017). Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients: A preliminary cohort study. PLoS ONE. 12(11): e0187795.

Stith, S. S., & Vigil, J. M. V. (2016). Federal barriers to Cannabis research. Science. 352(6290), 1182.

Filbey F. M., Aslan S., Calhoun V.D., Spence J.S., Damaraju E., Caprihan A., & Segall J. (2014). Long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111(47):16913-8.