We've come a long way since cannabis was first decriminalized in Oregon in 1973 and then in New Mexico; 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.
Patients who do or will benefit most from medical cannabis treatments still need to overcome political, social and legal barriers with advocacy by creating policies that improve safe access to medical cannabis for patients - and that means at school too.
In New Mexico, families are unjustly being denied to allow their child to use medical cannabis while at school. We now have two parents fighting to change this. These two courageous mothers are fearlessly advocating for medical cannabis patients rights and safe access for the beneficial use of medical cannabis in schools, which is also the very fundamental basis for New Mexico’s medical cannabis law.
“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.”
These two children, and any student for that matter in our state’s medical cannabis program, should be treated just like every other child who attends public schools in our state and uses medicine at school. The use of medical cannabis and safe access to it at school for these two students is a medical necessity.
“Medically necessary” is defined as “health-care services or supplies needed to prevent, diagnose, or treat an illness, injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms and that meet accepted standards of medicine.” Medical necessity is a United States legal doctrine, related to activities which may be justified as reasonable, necessary, and/or appropriate, based on evidence-based clinical standards of care.
Schools already allow children to use all kinds of psychotropic medications — from Ritalin to opioid painkillers — when prescribed by a physician. But they tend to take a much harder stance on medical cannabis, even in the case of non-psychoactive medical cannabis CBD oils - despite the fact how it has been scientifically proven to be safer than psychotropic medications.
Today the New Mexico medical cannabis program has over 50,000 registered participants with 35 licensed (non-profit) producers growing 14,550 medical cannabis plants, as the program hits the midpoint of its 10th year.
Jason Barker is organizer of Safe Access New Mexico and a medical cannabis patient.