Wednesday, August 1, 2018

New Mexico Needs To Follow Its Medical Cannabis Law

The purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis by the State. This is not being followed or fulfilled due to the State not accepting recommendations made by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

The advisory board consists of eight practitioners in the fields of neurology, pain management, medical oncology, psychiatry, infectious disease, family medicine and gynecology. The practitioners are all nationally board-certified experts in their area of specialty and knowledgeable about the medical use of cannabis.

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board duties and responsibilities according the medical cannabis program law says, “the advisory board shall convene at least twice per year to: review and recommend to the department for approval additional debilitating medical conditions that would benefit from the medical use of cannabis; recommend quantities of cannabis that are necessary to constitute an adequate supply for qualified patients and primary caregivers; 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 and all lawful privileges under the act and implementing rules; issue recommendations concerning rules to be promulgated for the issuance of registry identification cards; and review conditions previously reviewed by the board and approved by the secretary for the purpose of determining whether to recommend the revision of eligibility criteria for persons applying under those conditions or to review new medical and scientific evidence pertaining to currently approved conditions.”

At the April 2017 meeting, the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended that the Department of Health to add these new health conditions into the program: Autism, Anxiety, Depression, Dystonia, Migraines, Sleep Disorders, Patient Run Collectives, Change/increase patient possession limit to 16 oz, and for the Removal of Max THC Content imposed on concentrates. The Department of Health rejected all these recommendations made by nationally board-certified medical experts.

At the recent November 3rd meeting for 2017 the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board recommended that the Department to add these new health conditions into the program: ADD/ADHD and Tourette's Syndrome, Degenerative Neurological Disorder / Neuroprotective Applications, Eczema / Psoriasis, Muscular Dystrophy, Post-Concussion Syndrome and TBI, All Types Seizures, Substance Abuse Disorders, and Opioid Use Disorder. Once more the Department has final say in following these recommendations by medical doctors.

The State of New Mexico is not a licensed medical doctor or practitioner and the State of New Mexico has been and currently is practicing medicine without a license by denying the recommendations of the established medical cannabis advisory board.

The Office of the Attorney General in New Mexico should direct the State of New Mexico to Follow and Fulfill the Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007; under chapter 210 Senate Bill 523 and maintain the Spirit of the Law.

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.

This article also appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican.