Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Florida lawmakers want to give veterans medical cannabis cards for free

Credit: VA.org

SARASOTA, Fla. — With data continuing to roll in that underscores the health benefits of cannabis, two Florida legislators aren't waiting for clarity in the national policy debates and are sponsoring bills designed to give medical cannabis cards to military veterans free of charge.

Last week, the Journal of Psychopharmacology added yet another study to the growing body of evidence pointing to the linkage between cannabis use and the alleviation of post-traumatic stress disorder. In a cross-section survey of Canadians, the authors reported depressive episodes and suicidal ideation was not a factor among cannabis users; consequently, they cited "an emerging need for high-quality experimental investigation" of cannabis in treating PTSD.

At virtually the same time that study published, state Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, and state Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview, introduced companion measures to waive the $75 state registration fee for veterans, who are committing suicide more than 20 times a day, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Hattersley is an Iraq War veteran who earned a Bronze Star in the Navy. The bills will be considered in the 2020 session.

Still, the national war on cannabis continues at what appears to be an accelerating pace, according to FBI statistics released in October.

The Bureau's Uniform Crime Report indicates law enforcement made 663,367 arrests in 2018, marking the third consecutive year that cannabis-related arrests have risen, and 90% of those arrests were for simple possession. The 2018 figures are also roughly 21% higher than the number arrests for violent crimes.

A major cannabis mishap created a splash of national headlines in New York City on Nov. 2, when Brooklyn police arrested licensed CBD dealer Ronen Levy and confiscated 106 pounds of legal hemp. Hemp has minimal traces of psychoactive THC, but it looks and smells like regular cannabis and is used for medicinal and industrial purposes.

According to a Gallup Poll released last month, 66% of Americans — a super-majority — support cannabis legalization. But this week, rock legend Neil Young announced that his hopes of officially joining the American family have been stymied by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services policy.

A resident of California for decades, the Canadian-born "Godfather of Grunge" and longtime cannabis consumer said his application had been stalled, citing agency language stating "an applicant who is involved in certain cannabis-related activities may lack good moral character if found to have violated federal law, even if such activity has been decriminalized under applicable state laws."

The new bills proposed by Hattersley and Cruz apparently ignore the USCIS's definition of good moral character in deference to Florida's 1.5 million veterans.

"After seeing the response on social media to the legislation," Cruz stated in an email to the Herald-Tribune, "I believe it is met with broad bipartisan support among our constituents. I am hopeful that my colleagues will come to understand that this could be used as an alternative treatment to opioids currently being used for chronic pain management.

"Senate Bill 98 is for service-disabled veterans, those who certainly need chronic pain treatment and access to alternative treatment options."

Should the proposal become law, it could set a national precedent, according to the nonprofit Americans for Safe Access.
"Some states do not include a cost for the medical cannabis card at all (NM)," writes Interim ASA Director Debbie Churgai. "IL offers veterans a discounted cost, OR offers a veteran discount that reduces the fee to $20, and there are a few other states that offer need-based discounts."
"So it is possible FL may be the first to charge a registration fee but offer a free application to vets."

Bonus Resource From Americans For Safe Access:
Veterans and Medical Cannabis


Veterans of military service have a disproportionately high rate of certain debilitating medical conditions as compared to the general population. Some of those conditions may result from injury or exposures to toxins, but not all.

©2019 Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla..
Billy Cox, Sarasota Herald-Tribune November 19, 2019 at 04:30 AM

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Nuevo México and The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Presidential Candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), which would require resentencing and expungement of prior convictions for minor marijuana convictions and would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.

This Wednesday’s planned Judiciary Committee vote on the far-reaching cannabis reform legislation (the MORE Act)—which hasn’t yet been officially listed but is expected to be announced on Monday according to Marijuana Moment who first reported on this story—comes about two months after the full House overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan bill to increase cannabis businesses’ access to banks.

On September 18, 2019, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), the Assistant Speaker of the House cosponsored the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, HR 3884, which would end the prohibition of cannabis and creates a pathway for states to implement their own reforms, and introduced legislation, the Remove Cannabis from Deportable Offenses Act to end the practice of deporting immigrants for cannabis-related offenses. Congressman Ben Ray Lujan joins Representative Debra A. Haaland, who also is sponsoring the MORE Act.
Link to the MORE Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3884/text

Upon introduction, Assistant Speaker Lujan said “The Trump administration’s decision to use marijuana as a weapon against our immigrant communities is despicable. The federal government should not be wasting resources to wreak havoc on immigrant families when there are children held in border camps that are desperate for legal services, hygiene products, and basic humanitarian care. Providing care for these children and families should be where the Trump administration devotes its funding – not working as a deportation force.”

Luján is also a co-sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), which would allow marijuana dispensaries to access banking services.

There are 33 legal medical cannabis states & DC, 11 states and Washington DC have legalized cannabis for adult-use, and dozens more have passed laws decriminalizing its possession and use, including New Mexico. Despite this, federal law enforcement continues to use minor cannabis-related infractions as justification to deport otherwise law-abiding immigrants and their families.

The MORE Act addresses many of the issues stemming from cannabis prohibition, but it does not offer remedies for every issue. Instead, it takes a somewhat hands-off approach, leaving most regulatory questions up to the states.

Under the MORE Act, cannabis would be completely removed from the Controlled Substances Act, which currently classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I is the most restrictive category, supposedly reserved only for the most deadly and addictive drugs that have no accepted medical use. With cannabis off federal scheduling, individual states can decide for themselves how they’ll reform their cannabis laws, if they reform them at all.

Additionally, the MORE Act is the first piece of federal legislation that would establish social equity programs for cannabis entrepreneurs, and it would enact wholesale expungements of prior low-level weed offenses for federal convicts. Convicts currently serving time in federal prisons for cannabis violations would receive reductions to their sentences, too.

On the business end, the MORE Act also sets a 5 percent federal tax on all cannabis sales. That’s it. There is no overly-complex, tiered taxation system that unfairly gouges cannabis consumers and companies, like what those seen in California or Colorado. The excise taxes collected would go toward regulatory oversight, funding expungements and resentencing procedures, and researching how legal cannabis will affect the population at large.

By cosponsoring the MORE Act, Assistant Speaker Lujan becomes the most senior member of the House of Representatives to endorse legislation to end federal cannabis criminalization.






Thursday, November 14, 2019

NM Medical Cannabis Program Sees Dramatic Increase in Out-of-State Enrollees

100+ nonresident patients issued three-year cards in first full month since Judge’s ruling

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Nov. 14, 2019 -- Patient enrollment in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program reached 78,362 patients as of October 31, 2019, according to data compiled by Ultra Health® and released by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). October’s enrollment represents an increase of 25% over patient participation in October 2018.

A total of 130 patients who reside outside of New Mexico have been issued three-year patient cards that allow them to purchase medical cannabis while in the state. The out-of-state enrollment increased by 118 patients during the month of October alone.

Out-of-state patients are coming from several states including Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, and Michigan. A majority of out-of-state patients are coming from Texas. Mexican nationals are also enrolling in the program, according to data released by NMDOH via public document inspection.

The increased out-of-state enrollment is the result of Santa Fe District Court Judge Bryan Biedschied’s ruling that ordered NMDOH to issue three-year patient cards to nonresidents. New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program is the first and only program to allow nonresidents to receive three-year cards and purchase medical cannabis while in the state.

Given New Mexico’s proximity to Texas, enrollment is expected to make substantial leaps as the public becomes aware that nonresidents are officially allowed to enter the program.

"Four of New Mexico’s five border states have their own medical cannabis programs. The exception, Texas, is home to over 26 million people, roughly two million of whom live within 2 hours of the New Mexico border. If one percent of Texans living in close proximity to the New Mexico border enroll in the MCP, the program will add 20,000 patients and demand will increase by 18.4 million grams annually,” states a public comment on plant count written by economist Kelly O’Donnell in May of 2019.

A separate estimate of the impact of the new legislation was put forth by the NMDOH. “...if only five percent of two million Texas residents were to enroll in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program, enrollment in the Program would increase by 100,000, more than doubling the current enrollment of approximately 77,000 patients,” NMDOH Secretary Kathy Kunkel stated in an Affidavit on September 12, 2019.

The increasing number of out-of-state patients enrolling in the Medical Cannabis Program is expected to impact cannabis policy changes across the U.S., as portability of access and participation is advocated to ensure continuity of care.

Out-of-state enrollment is also expected to strengthen the medical program by increasing medical cannabis sales in New Mexico and overall enrollment. The New Mexico program is expected to surpass 80,000 patients by the end of the year.

Ultra Health is New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company and the largest vertically integrated medical cannabis provider in the United States. The provider currently operates 20 dispensary locations statewide, with another 10 stores slated to open by the second quarter of 2020. Ultra Health provides unparalleled medical cannabis care by producing accurately dosed, smokeless cannabis products such as sublingual tablets, oils, pastilles, suppositories and more through its partnership with Israeli pharmaceutical group Panaxia. Ultra Health has been at the forefront of patient-rights issues and continues to fight for adequate supply and rural access in the New Mexico medical cannabis market.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Petitions Submitted to New Mexico Dept. of Health to add several new Health Conditions and one new Medical Treatment into the state’s Medical Cannabis Program


Safe Access New Mexico
Jason Barker

Wednesday, November 13th 2019

For Immediate Release:

Petitions Submitted to New Mexico Dept. of Health to add several new Health Conditions and one new Medical Treatment into the state’s Medical Cannabis Program

Albuquerque - Safe Access New Mexico, the states leading advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use, on Tuesday November 12th provided Petitions to the New Mexico Dept. of Health Medical Cannabis Program Office to add two new Health Conditions and one new Medical Treatment into the state’s Medical Cannabis Program for the medical cannabis advisory board (MCAB) to review.

The New Mexico Department of Health will hold a Medical Cannabis Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday December 10, 2019, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Harold Runnels Building Auditorium, located at 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The first petition is seeking to add a new health condition- Substance Abuse Disorder, the second petition is seeking to add the new health conditions- ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, and Tourette’s Syndrome, and the third petition is seeking to add a new medical treatment- Medical Cannabis Therapy For Seizures in Animals.

Multiple times in the last couple years, the Doctors on the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board (MCAB) have voted in favor of adding Substance Abuse Disorder into the program and have recommended that the Secretary add it.

In June 2019 the Secretary of Health declined to add it then and could have put New Mexico at the forefront in harm reduction with the New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program by adding this Petitioned health condition into the program. Since June 2019, a new study found that the vast majority of substance abuse professionals support legalizing medical cannabis and believe that cannabis is safe when used responsibly for medical purposes. IN addition to a new scientific review that concluded that "CBD may reduce problems related with crack-cocaine addiction, such as withdrawal symptoms, craving, impulsivity and paranoia” and is a “promising candidate” to treat methamphetamine, cocaine and other stimulant use disorders.

The second petition, seeking to add the new health conditions- ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, and Tourette’s Syndrome has also been previously submitted in November 2017. And once more, these health conditions were recommended to be added into the medical cannabis program by the MCAB doctors and then Secretary Gallagher declined to do so.

Currently ADD/ADHD is a qualifying health condition in these state comprehensive medical cannabis program; California, Washington DC, Guam, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Currently Anxiety is a qualifying health condition in these state comprehensive medical cannabis program; California, Washington DC, Guam, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Currently Tourette’s is a qualifying health condition in these state comprehensive medical cannabis program; Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Washington DC, Guam, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The third petition is seeking to add a new medical treatment- Medical Cannabis Therapy For Seizures in Animals. A medical cannabis card would be issued to a person as a qualified caregiver. Doctors of Veterinary Medicine are allowed to recommend under the current law’s requirement and the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine allows DVM’s to discuss cannabis options. This Petitioned medical treatment is the missing link.

There is no aspect of the current medical cannabis program laws that would prevent this new medical treatment for Medical Cannabis Therapy For Seizures in Animals from being approved into the Medical Cannabis Program. Doctors of Veterinary Medicine are qualifying medical professionals who can recommend medical cannabis.

The intent of Safe Access New Mexico is to establish The Inclusion of a New Medical Treatment: Medical Cannabis Therapy For Seizures in Animals for Veterinary Medical Cannabis access to the states Medical Cannabis Program to:
(a) Prevent the potential danger of animal abuse by regulating the use of medicinal cannabis on animals.
(b) Give veterinarians the tools they need to treat their patients effectively without the fear of jeopardizing their license.
(c) Ensure that access is readily available to animal patients.
(d) Further research and knowledge throughout the health care system and for health care practitioners regarding medicinal 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. Later renamed The Lynn Pierson Marijuana & Research Act set forth a program that had over 250 New Mexicans receiving medical cannabis. Then in March 2007, the New Mexico legislature passed SB 523, "The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act." New Mexico became the 12th state to allow medical cannabis with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act in 2007 (Senate Bill 523). At the end of October 2019, the state has 34 licensed nonprofit medical cannabis producers, 98 dispensary locations across 20 counties that are serving 77,168 patients enrolled as of September 30, 2019, according to data from New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH).

Printing for the Petitions was provided by:

Credit: https://pecosvalleyproduction.com/

Safe Access New Mexico ~ An Affiliate of Americans For Safe Access

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Upcoming Meetings for New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program, Hemp Program, and for proposed Recreational Cannabis legislation

At the end of October 2019 in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program, there are 34 licensed nonprofit producers with 98 dispensary locations across 20 counties serving 77,168 patients enrolled as of September 30, 2019, according to data from New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). In 2019, New Mexico’s medical cannabis law was updated twice with passing of 2 new laws, Senate Bill 204, Medical Cannabis in School and with Senate Bill 406, Medical Cannabis Changes. Also in 2019, New Mexico lawmakers passed a law to decriminalize cannabis with Senate Bill 323, Decrease Cannabis Penalties. Also during the 2019 legislative session, House Bill 581 Hemp Manufacturing Act was passed and signed into law. The legislation grants NMDA and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) the regulatory authority over Hemp manufacturers, processors, labs, researchers and plant breeders.

Governor Lujan Grisham signed a bill (SB 406) that broadly expanded the state’s program by providing exemptions from criminal and civil liability for all patients, caregivers, and employees; established civil rights protections in the area of child custody and medical care including organ transplant; creates employment protections preventing employers from taking adverse actions; creates a 3-year registry card; requires the DOH to publish an annual report on the affordability and accessibility to medical cannabis including access fort hose in rural areas and living in subsidized housing; allows DOH to license on-site consumption of cannabis; and that requires DOH to create product safety and quality rules by December 2019.

Regulators in 2019 also added Opioid use disorder per the Governor’s request and added six (6) new additional health conditions to the program petitioned by patient advocates from Safe Access New Mexico that include: Sleep apnea, Alzheimer's disease, Autism spectrum disorder, Friedreich’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (3 degenerative neurological disorders) all as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Key Dates and News:
  • November 13, 2019 at 2:30 PM | Governor’s Legalization Work Group Presentation
  • November 22, 2019 at 9:00 AM | Medical Cannabis Program Proposed Rule Hearing
  • November 25-26 in Santa Fe | Governor’s Legalization Work Group Presentation
  • December 2, 2019 at 9:00 AM | Hemp Program Proposed Rule Hearing 
  • December 10, 2019 at 1:30 PM | Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Hearing 
  • Additional details below for each meeting
  • Policy Letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Formally Requesting Cannabis Legislation for 2020 | Cannabis News Journal | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/10/policy-letter-to-governor-michelle.html
  • Policy Letter Seeks Executive Order By New Mexico's Governor For Medical Cannabis in School Law | Cannabis News Journal | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/10/policy-letter-seeks-executive-order-by.html
  • The Third Annual Essie Awards: Nominate the best in New Mexico’s 2019 Industry HERE!! | Established by Kurple Magazine |  Open nominations from November 1st through December 6th, 2019 | Awards February 1, 2020 at Las Puertas Event Center

It is important for all medical cannabis advocates to think about the following questions:
" Without hearing from you, how will your legislator know what is important to you?
" Do you want to trust decisions about access to medical cannabis solely to lobbyists and policymakers?

Each one of us and every individual who holds a state license that authorizes the use or provision of cannabis for medical purposes is breaking federal law.

The point is that YOU ARE the patient, the physician, the caregiver, the provider, the lawyer, the nurse, or family member who is affected by medical cannabis laws and policy. You are THE VOTER with the power to hold elected officials accountable for their positions on policy matters. And you are the expert about how these laws and policies affect your daily life.

So if you are not talking with you elected officials about medical cannabis, then ask yourself, "Who is?"

Upcoming Proposed Rule Hearings, MCAB Hearing, and Legislative Hearings:

November 13, 2019 at 2:30 PM | Governor’s Legalization Work Group Presentation

On Wednesday, November 13th at 2:30 pm the Governor’s Legalization Work Group Chairman Davis presents the Work Group recommendations to the Economic & Rural Development Interim Committee in Room 322 of the State Capitol building. Public Comment is scheduled after Chairperson Davis presents the recommendations at 4 pm.

November 13, 2019 at 2:30 PM: Economic Benefits of Legalization of Recreational Cannabis:
—Pat Davis, Chair, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's Cannabis Legalization Working Group
—Mark R. Shea, Secretary, Department of Public Safety
—Sarah S. Stith, Assistant Professor of Economics, UNM

No electronic handouts are available as of yet for the committee hearing.
Economic & Rural Development Interim Committee Link: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=ERDT

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham's Cannabis Legalization Working Group in the News:
Problems in the medical cannabis program, like this, need to be addressed first by elected officials;
“Medical marijuana users struggle to keep up with costs” | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1386640/medical-marijuana-users-struggle-to-keep-up-with-costs.html

“The last two bills have failed in the Senate Finance committee. I don’t see any way that this bill is going to make it further on,” Ford said. “I guess I expected a little more progressive thinking in how they were going to approach this.”

“Josh McCurdy with the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Advocate Alliance said the state should focus on making sure patients in rural areas have access to cannabis before branching out to recreational legalization. McCurdy lives in Ruidoso and said many dispensaries in his area have a hard time keeping up with demand.”
“Mixed responses to suggestions from marijuana legalization work group” | NM Political Report | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/10/17/mixed-responses-to-suggestions-from-legalization-work-group/

“If lawmakers in New Mexico are going to take on the failed war on drugs, then please finish what you started with medical cannabis. Please focus on how the Medical Cannabis in Schools law passed this year is being ignored by the Public Education Department and all the schools that are keeping kids who are medical cannabis patients from being able to attend their school.”
“Work group’s plan will devastate medical pot | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1383936/work-groups-plan-will-devastate-medical-pot.html?fbclid=IwAR0aBEuhgvrS4FKSeEPROpHUaMOCJNmIpYBXv1_d8mJtXcvME8zQy7UpQXQ

“Recreational cannabis
As another example, during the last session, Gabello and spokesman Tripp Stelnicki suggested to Lujan Grisham that she make a more concerted push for legalizing recreational cannabis in the following session.
She agreed, said she would make the issue a priority and created a task force on cannabis that worked throughout the year.”
“Inside Lujan Grisham’s inner circle” | Santa Fe New Mexican | https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/inside-lujan-grisham-s-inner-circle/article_c74e34c3-e82d-5167-bd80-bca6ef805255.html

November 22, 2019 at 9:00 AM | Medical Cannabis Program Proposed Rule Hearing 

The New Mexico Department of Health (Department) will hold a public hearing on the proposed repeal and replacement of various rule sections of Department rules 7.34.2 Medical cannabis advisory board responsibilities and duties, 7.34.3 Medical cannabis registry identification cards, and 7.34.4 Medical cannabis licensing requirements for producers, couriers, manufacturers and laboratories NMAC. The hearing will be held on November 22, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the Harold Runnels Building, located at 1190 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The proposed rule revisions include new provisions in 7.34.4 NMAC concerning reciprocity for individuals who hold proof of authorization to participate in the medical cannabis program of another state of the United States, the District of Columbia, a territory or commonwealth of the United States, or a New Mexico Indian nation, tribe or pueblo.

The proposed rule revisions also include provisions in 7.34.4 NMAC for the establishment and operation of cannabis consumption areas for qualified patients, that are operated by licensed nonprofit producers.

The proposed rule revisions also include various revisions to the licensing requirements at 7.34.4 NMAC for licensed nonprofit producers, manufacturers, couriers, and laboratories, including but not limited to:
• Cannabis testing standards and requirements, including but not limited to microbiological, mycotoxin, residual solvent, and THC potency testing, new requirements for testing for pesticide residue and end product testing, and new sampling standards;

• Cannabis packaging and labeling requirements;

• Application requirements and licensing standards for nonprofit producers, manufacturers, laboratories, and couriers;

• Fees for couriers and manufacturers;

• Provisions concerning compliance by licensees’ employees with the NM Parental Responsibility Act; and

• Disciplinary actions and appeals for producers, manufacturers, laboratories, and couriers.

The proposed rule revisions also include revisions to definitions at sections,, and NMAC.

Free copies of the full text of the proposed rule amendments can be obtained online from the New Mexico Department of Health’s website at http://nmhealth.org/about/asd/cmo/rules/ or from Andrea Sundberg using the contact information below.

The public hearing will be conducted to receive public comment on the proposed repeal and replacement of various sections of Parts 7.34.2, 7.34.3, and 7.34.4 NMAC. Any interested member of the public may attend the hearing and submit data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing on the proposed rule amendments during the hearing.

Written public comments may also be submitted prior to the date of the hearing. Please submit any written comments regarding the proposed rule amendments to the attention of :

Andrea Sundberg
NM Department of Health
Medical Cannabis Program
P.O. Box 26110
Santa Fe, NM 87502-6110

Or at: MCP.comment@state.nm.us

Written comments must be received by the close of the public rule hearing on November 22, 2019. All written comments will be published on the agency website at http://nmhealth.org/about/asd/cmo/rules/ within 3 days of receipt, and will be available at the New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program for public inspection.

View the NMDOH Public Meeting Notice: https://nmhealth.org/publication/view/rules/5396/

November 25-26 in Santa Fe | Governor’s Legalization Work Group Presentation

The Governor’s Legalization Work Group Chairman Davis presents the Work Group recommendations to the Courts, Corrections and Justice Interim Committee.

Time, Room location, and Additional Details TBA.

Courts, Corrections and Justice Interim Committee Link: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Committee/Interim_Committee?CommitteeCode=CCJ

December 2, 2019 at 9:00 AM | Hemp Program Proposed Rule Hearing 

The Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department (“NMED”) will hold a public hearing beginning at 9:00 a.m. on December 2, 2019 and continuing thereafter as necessary at the Runnels Auditorium in the Harold Runnels Building, 1190 South St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM, 87505. The hearing location may change prior to the hearing date, and those interested in attending should visit NMED’s website prior to the hearing: https://www.env.nm.gov/public-notices/.

The purpose of the hearing is to consider the adoption of new rule 20.10.2 NMAC, Hemp Post-Harvest Processing of the Environmental Protection Regulations, which provides a regulatory framework for the emerging hemp market through a permitting process. NMED’s Environmental Health Bureau (“Bureau”) is the proponent of the proposed new rule.

On July 1, 2019 the Hemp Manufacturing Act (“Hemp Act”) NMSA 1978, Sections 76-24-1 to -10 took effect, delegating regulatory authority to NMED over the extraction, processing, transportation, and testing of post-harvest hemp and hemp-derived products. In adherence to the Hemp Act, NMED promulgated 20.10.2 NMAC- Hemp Post-Harvest Processing (“Emergency Rule”) on an emergency basis in accordance with Section 14-4-5.6 of the State Rules Act, NMSA 1978, § 14-4-1 to -11. NMED concluded that, in these circumstances, the time required to comply with and complete the procedures of the State Rules Act would cause an imminent peril to the environment, public health, safety and welfare.

Written comments regarding the proposed new rule may be addressed to Mr. Cody Barnes, Hearing Office Administrator, at the below address, and should reference docket number NMED 19-41 (R).

Cody Barnes, Hearing Office Administrator
New Mexico Environment Department
Harold Runnels Building
P.O. Box 5469
Santa Fe, NM 87502
telephone: (505) 827-2428
email: cody.barnes@state.nm.us

Pursuant to NMAC, any member of the public may file an entry of appearance as a party at the hearing. The entry of appearance shall be filed with Cody Barnes, at the above address, no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 15, 2019.

The Hearing Officer will allow for public comment at various points during the hearing. There will be a section dedicated to public comment on December 2, 2019 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Links to NM Hemp Program :

December 10, 2019 at 1:30 PM | Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Hearing 

The New Mexico Department of Health will hold a Medical Cannabis Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday December 10, 2019, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Harold Runnels Building Auditorium, located at 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The public meeting is conducted to accept and review petitions received by the 30 day public notice deadline, review and recommend to the department for approval additional debilitating medical conditions that would benefit from the medical use of cannabis, 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, 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.

The public meeting is also conducted for the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to recommend to the Department quantities of cannabis that a reciprocal participant may obtain and possess.

Petitions to add conditions may be accepted at any time. Petitions which have been received 30 days prior to the meeting, by the end of business on November 12, 2019, will be scheduled for the December 10, 2019 meeting.

View the NMDOH Public Meeting Notice: https://nmhealth.org/publication/view/meeting/5448/

Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Hearing
Tuesday December 10 @ 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Harold Runnels Building
1190 S. St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505

The meeting will be on the first floor in the auditorium (Room A-1006). Petitions to add conditions may be accepted at any time. Those received 30 days prior to the meeting, by the end of business on November 12, 2019, will be scheduled for the December 10, 2019 meeting.

The Second Session of the 54th Legislature

December 16, 2019 - January 17, 2020 Legislation may be prefiled
January 21 Opening day (noon)
February 5 Deadline for introduction
February 20 Session ends (noon)
March 11 Legislation not acted upon by governor is pocket vetoed
May 20 Effective date of legislation not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Medical Cannabis Therapy For Seizures In Animals

The use of cannabis as medicine for animals has been getting a lot of attention in the medical, scientific, and pet owning communities. One of the potential uses showing the most promise is in the treatment of seizures.

Tecumseh in Aura phase (pre-seizure). The first phase involves alterations in smell, taste, visual perception, hearing, and emotional state. 

The use of cannabis to treat seizures is nothing new. Cannabis has been described as a therapy for people with seizures for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. 1, 2

In recent years, cannabis, and cannabidiol (CBD) in particular, are once again being considered for the treatment of seizures in both humans and animals.

In ancient times, cannabis was used for seizures based purely on observational data, but today in-depth scientific research is being conducted to determine how and why cannabis is beneficial in the effort to determine how best to limit, and hopefully eliminate, seizures.


Despite the renewed interest and availability for research funding, the mechanisms by which cannabis effects seizures are still unclear. One consideration is a specific receptor on neurons, known as “GPR55,” which is thought to mediate seizure activity through regulating the excitability of neurons. CBD appears to limit GPR55’s ability to cause neuronal excitation which is speculated to reduce seizures.

Additionally, some studies have shown epileptic patients to have reduced anandamide (AEA) concentrations in their cerebrospinal fluid and/or alterations in their CB1 receptors. AEA is one of the naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the body that regulates the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CB1 receptors, also part of the ECS, are binding sites for AEA and changes in AEA and/or CB1 receptors are presumed to lead to changes in levels of other neurotransmitters that may ultimately lead to seizure activity. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) binds CB1 receptors and, in this way, may reduce seizure activity. 3, 4

The FDA-approved pharmaceutical Epidiolex is a single-molecule CBD formulation used to treat two forms of pediatric epilepsy.

Pre-clinical research into other cannabinoids and terpenes suggest other compounds found in cannabis may also be effective for seizure treatment. For practical and legal reasons, however, much of the current research focuses on CBD.

Although the exact reasons why cannabis compounds have a positive effect on seizures are not crystal clear, great strides have been made with regards to their therapeutic use. In 2018, the FDA approved the first cannabis-derived pharmaceutical, Epidiolex. A single-molecule CBD formulation, Epidiolex is approved for the use of refractory seizures in two forms of pediatric epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet Syndromes. Not only is Epidiolex of great benefit for the children it helps, the drug also represents a huge step forward in the federal government’s acknowledgement of the medicinal value of cannabis.

Related storyEpilepsy & Seizures


Veterinary specific research has also taken a big step forward this year with the publishing of the first clinical trial evaluating the effects of CBD on seizures in epileptic dogs. The study, conducted at Colorado State University, evaluated seizure frequency in dogs with and without the use of CBD. Results showed an 89% reduction in seizure frequency in dogs who received 2.5 mg/kg CBD twice daily compared to a 43% reduction in dogs not receiving CBD. Both groups of dogs were receiving other anti-seizure pharmaceuticals at the time of the study which is the reason the group not receiving CBD had a large reduction in seizures, as well. While these results are considered statistically significant, they are certainly not as dramatic as many hoped they would be. The authors noted this in their conclusions and stated further studies are warranted to see if higher doses of CBD may be more beneficial in the treatment of seizures in dogs. 5

Dogs who received 2.5 mg/kg CBD twice daily experienced an 89% reduction in seizure frequency.

One specific point to note about the study is the CBD formula used was not a CBD “isolate.” The hemp-based formula contained “trace amounts of other cannabinoids” which may or may not have contributed to its efficacy. Research suggests that multiple cannabinoids (CBD, THC, and others) as well as terpenes have anti-seizure properties and it may be that greater effects can be found with a “broader spectrum” formulation.

Speaking from the perspective of the benefits of “whole plant medicine,” broad spectrum formulations are usually more effective than single components. That said, from a research perspective, using pure CBD would clarify what effects are specific to the one compound.

Related story: CBD Isolates Vs. Full-Spectrum CBD

Anecdotal reports from pet owners and veterinarians suggest that cannabis can not only reduce seizure frequency, it may be able to lessen seizure severity, shorten recovery time, and potentially even prevent an imminent seizure if the animal is medicated at the first signs of trouble.

With research ongoing, we certainly see promise in the use of CBD, and potentially other cannabinoids, for the treatment of seizures in animals. That said, cannabis as medicine should be used with caution. CBD given at moderate to high doses can potentially effect blood levels of other medications, including anti-seizure drugs. Because of this, it may be necessary to monitor levels at the beginning of cannabis therapy. For the safety of your furry family members, always consult with your veterinarian before starting any form of cannabis therapy for your pet.

BY Gary Richter on October 30, 2019 For ProjectCBD

Gary Richter, MS, DVM, CVA, CVC, GDWVHM, a Project CBD contributing writer, is an Oakland-based veterinarian. His articles focus on practical information for using cannabis to treat medical conditions in pets.

  1. Zaheer S, Kumar D, Khan MT, Giyanwani PR, Kiran F. Epilepsy and Cannabis: A Literature Review. Cureus. 2018;10(9).
  2. Alison Mack; Janet Joy. Marijuana As Medicine?: The Science Beyond the Controversy. 2000; National Academies Press.
  3. Perucca E. Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Hard Evidence at Last?. J Epilepsy Res. 2017;7(2):61–76.
  4. Bazelot, M, Whalley, B, Investigating the Involvement of GPR55 Signaling in the Antiepileptic Effects of Cannabidiol. Neurology. 2016, 86 (16 Supplement)
  5. McGrath S, Bartner LR, Rao S, Gustafson DL. Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2019 ;254(11):1301-1308.


Claws and Effect: Cannabis Medicine for Pets

All beings with a backbone have an endocannabinoid system. Is cannabis medicine a good option for the health of your dog or cat?

The Legal Status of Cannabis for Animals

There's huge interest in the use of CBD and cannabis therapeutics for animals. But veterinary guidance, and research, is lacking. Vets in California are doing something about it.

CBD & Cannabis for Pets in Pain

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Project CBD is a non-profit educational news service. They do not sell or distribute any CBD/cannabis products. Please show your support.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Industry Revenues Up 20% Over Last Year

Plant cap and purchase limits create chokehold on growth of patient revenue

(Albuquerque) – Revenues for New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program topped $93.6 million for the first nine months of the year, with 77,168 patients enrolled as of September 30, 2019, according to data from New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH).

The patient sales during the first nine months of 2019 represent a 20% increase over the same period during 2018, while patient enrollment increased by 31%. The outpacing of patient enrollment over patient sales indicates the current program is unable to meet patient needs due to limits on supply, artificially high prices, and unsupported patient purchase limits.

This slower growth completely contradicts NMDOH’s recent estimate that revenues would increase 200% over last year. The department inaccurately predicted “$200-300 million” in patient sales in the current year due to recently reduced plant count limits and higher license fees that became effective August 27, 2019.

NMDOH incorrectly equated revenue growth and patient demand to the recently raised license fees and plant count rollback. In reality, plant count reductions and fee increases ultimately inflate the price per gram, restrict product innovation, and reduce the availability of medicine for sale.

While Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham consistently promotes the strengthening of the medical program in light of the legalization of cannabis for adult use, programmatic changes still need to be made. Increased producer fees, scant patient purchase limits, and lowered plant caps will ultimately hamper the medical program’s ability to survive post-legalization.


Of the 34 licensed producers, 17 operators’ patient sales fell below the industry’s 20% growth pace from the first nine months of 2019 over the same period in 2018.

The top five providers with comparable sales in 2018 and 2019 reported the following patient activities:

Increase over 9-months 2018
Producer                                   9 Month Revenue                $ Increase               % Increase
Ultra Health                             $14,169,016                          $2,640,697               23%
R. Greenleaf                             $8,457,654                            $1,666,265               25%
Verdes                                       $6,167,207                             $810,917                   15%
Sacred Garden                         $5,027,273                            $241,063                    5%
Pecos Valley                             $5,011, 098                            $2,026,708              68%
Total Industry                         $93,630,767                           $15,883,121             20%

There were 98 dispensary locations across 20 counties during the third quarter of 2019, according to the latest information from NMDOH. New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program has one of the most robust distribution networks in the country, with a patient-to-dispensary ratio of one store for every 787 patients.

In neighboring Arizona, the state has 120 dispensary locations to serve 210,308 patients statewide, representing a patient-to-dispensary ratio of 1,753 enrollees per dispensary.


Programmatic adjustments such as rules regarding provider cultivation caps, patient purchase limits, and medical cannabis coverage still need to be revisited to allow patients to fully access compassionate cannabis care.

Earlier this year, NMDOH was enjoined from enforcing the former permanent plant cap due to a lawsuit that found the cap was arbitrary, capricious, and frustrated the purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.

On March 1, 2019, NMDOH raised the plant cap to 2,500 plants per producer with no additional fee via an Emergency Rule. NMDOH then reduced the plant cap to 1,750 plants per producer with a fee increase of 100% for top providers without providing relevant evidence that the new limit would provide an adequate supply for patients.

Because NMDOH doubled the top fees, many providers were unable to subscribe to the maximum number of plants. The increase in fees then resulted in an average of less than 1,200 plants per producer.

Recent demand estimates show a plant limit of 5,000 mature plants per producer – more than 4 times the average plants per producer today – will be necessary by 2022 to provide adequate supply due to anticipated growth in program enrollment.

In regards to patient purchase limits, NMDOH rules only allow patients to purchase 8 ounces of cannabis every three months, while Arizona patients are able to purchase nearly twice that amount during the same period. The Arizona allowance of 2.5 ounces every two weeks is in line with patient purchase limits in Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, Washington, Illinois, and Maine.

NMDOH Secretary Kathy Kunkel stated in a letter the department would revisit purchase limits in the summer 2019 rulemaking process. The NMDOH failed to take any action on this issue despite Secretary Kunkel’s letter and the findings from the most recent NMDOH commissioned patient survey.

In the patient survey conducted by Research & Polling Inc., 48% of patients surveyed stated they would purchase more medicine if they were allowed. In addition, 1 in 4 patients reported they have developed a tolerance to their medicine that has required increased consumption over time.

The patient survey also found that 52% of patients reported household income of less than $35,000 annually, with half of those reporting less than $20,000 in household income. Sixty-four percent of patients are not employed full time and reported being either retired, stay-at-home parents, students, part-time workers, some other job status, or generally unemployed.

Given these figures and the fact that patients must pay for their medicine 100% out of pocket, patients need cannabis as a covered service whether it be through private insurance or Medicaid.
“Clearly, there are access points for patients to purchase their medicine,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “However, patients are being denied compassionate care because providers are still limited by draconian cultivation caps and patients restricted by arbitrary purchase limits. Simply put, patients can’t buy what’s not readily available, affordable, or allowed.”

Total industry patient sales are expected to fall substantially below NMDOH’s $200 to $300 million estimate and reach $125 million by the end of 2019. Enrollees are expected to top 80,000 patients by the end of the year.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Most physicians support access to medical cannabis — why doesn't the federal government?

© Getty Images

Voters overwhelmingly support medical cannabis access; increasingly, their doctors do, too.

According to several recent surveys of practicing physicians, the majority of health professionals now support legal access to medical marijuana.

Specifically, a survey of practicing physicians in New York State reported that 71 percent of respondents believe that cannabis ought to be legal for medical purposes, and 76 percent acknowledge having had patients who reported using marijuana for symptomatic relief at some point in their lives.

More recently, a survey of primary care physicians in Minnesota reported that 58 percent of providers agree with the statement, "[M]edical cannabis [is] a legitimate medical therapy."

These results mimic the support shown in recent national polls. For instance, a WebMD/Medscape survey of over 1,500 health professionals nationwide reported that two-thirds of respondents believe that cannabis should be a legal medical option for patients.

A separate survey of the attitudes of general physicians and nurses in North America and Europe similarly found that 71 percent believe that cannabis possesses therapeutic efficacy.

That’s the same conclusion drawn by experts at the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which in 2017 acknowledged that there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” that cannabis and its organic constituents “are effective” for the treatment of chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea and other conditions.

It’s also the position held by a number of prominent health organizations, like the American Nurses Association, which states: “Marijuana (cannabis) … has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms in a variety of conditions."

Therefore, the American Nurses Association actively supports patients' rights to legally and safely utilize marijuana for symptom management and health care practitioners’ efforts to promote quality of life for patients needing such therapy.”

Critics will counter that American Medical Association still remains skeptical of the legitimacy of medical cannabis, and that the agency would like to see the substance tested in additional well-controlled clinical trials. But despite the AMA’s name recognition and lobbying clout, its views no longer speak for most physicians. In fact, fewer than one in four practicing physicians even belong to the AMA.

Perhaps more importantly, the federal government’s views on medical cannabis continue to be out of step with those of the public and the growing percentage of health professionals. But it remains improbable that this "flat earth" position — which classifies that cannabis plant as a substance with “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” — can continue for much longer.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia (as well as the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) permit physicians to recommend marijuana therapy. Some of these state-sanctioned programs have now been in place for more than two decades, providing safe and effective physician-supervised cannabis access to well over a million Americans.

Congress must no longer hide its collective heads in the sand. It is time that leadership in both political parties come together and move expeditiously to amend federal law in a manner that rightfully recognizes cannabis as a legitimate therapeutic alternative that is supported by the majority of patients and their doctors.



Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML — the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He is the co-author of the book, Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? and the author of the book, The Citizen’s Guide to State-By-State Marijuana Laws.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Policy Letter Seeks Executive Order By New Mexico's Governor For Medical Cannabis in School Law

Safe Access New Mexico 
Jason Barker - Organizer & Lead Advocate
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Monday, October 28th 2019

Office of the Governor
The Honorable Michelle Lujan Grisham
Governor of New Mexico
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(via email and USPS mail)

Dear Governor Lujan Grisham,

As a constituent, I wanted to Thank you for taking the time from your busy day to read my letter. My name is Jason Barker, I’m a medical cannabis patient, advocate for medical cannabis, and registered voter.

I am writing you to formally request that you and your Office please consider issuing an Executive Order.

As Governor will you please issue an executive order immediately instructing PED to change and update their policy for the Medical Cannabis in Schools law?

Since the recent LHHS interim committee meeting on Thursday, Oct 24th, addressing SB-204, the PED policy clearly needs to be updated reflecting the true intent of the law. And a Executive Order directing the PED to instruct the schools that school personnel, including school nurses, are required by law to treat medical cannabis as any other medicine given to students at their school, in regards to administration and storage.

The intent of the new Medical Cannabis in Schools law (SB-204) is to allow for that reasonable accommodation to be created. That reasonable accommodation allows these families to have a family life by being able to go to work, attend graduate school, and live their lives to create a better future for their families. That reasonable accommodation allows for their student to go to school and be given their medicine just like all the other students while at school.

The medical cannabis in schools law is clearly written in a way for that reasonable accommodation to be met by the PED and the Schools with rules and regulations that match the state law by allowing for school personnel to administer medical cannabis and by allowing for the storage of the students medicine at school.

Senate Bill 204 and 406 are both protected state medical cannabis laws as provided in Federal Policy - CJS Medical Cannabis Amendment.

Nothing in current law prohibits a school nurse from administering medical cannabis per the medical cannabis in schools law. School Nurses have expressed licensure concerns but the school nurses are exempt from licensure issue, protected by Medical Cannabis Program law and the Nursing Practice Act states on page 58, “The Nursing Practice Act shall not apply to or affect nursing assistance in case of emergencies” [https://nmbon.sks.com/laws-rules.aspx]

According to state law for the medical cannabis program, Section 8 in subsection E: medical cannabis products are exempt from the state’s Schedule I CSA; “E. the enumeration of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols or chemical derivatives of tetrahydrocannabinol as Schedule I controlled substances does not apply to the use of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols or chemical derivatives of tetrahydrocannabinol by certified patients pursuant to the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act or by qualified patients pursuant to the provisions of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act;” [https://nmhealth.org/publication/view/policy/128/]

The school nurse would be conducting activities authorized in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and the school nurse would be doing so as a "designated school personnel". According to SB-204 that means a school employee whom a public school, charter school or school district authorizes to possess, store and administer medical cannabis to a qualified student in accordance with the provisions of SB-204 law.

From Senate Bill 406, the Medical Cannabis Changes law from Section 14 in Subsection C and D;

“C. A school shall not refuse to enroll or otherwise penalize a person solely for conduct allowed pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, unless failing to do so would cause the school to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulation.

D. For the purposes of medical care, including an organ transplant, a qualified patient's use of cannabis pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act shall be considered the equivalent of the use of any other medication under the direction of a physician and shall not be considered to constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualified patient from medical care."” [https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/19%20Regular/final/SB0406.pdf]

A school nurse or other school personnel would be conducting activities authorized in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and the school nurse would be doing so as a "designated school personnel" and what the school nurse would be doing is not considered to constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualified patient who is a student from medical care at school, all of which is conduct allowed pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, the Medical Cannabis in Schools law (SB204) and the Medical Cannabis Changes law (SB-406).

The Public Education Department, Albuquerque Public Schools, and Rio Rancho Public Schools all have failed to establish reasonable parameters regarding the administration and use of medical cannabis and the school settings in which administration and use are authorized as clearly provided for in the medical cannabis in schools law. [Section B of SB-204; Subsection 2 on pages 2 -3: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/19%20Regular/final/SB0204.pdf]

Currently there are 10 states, DC Public Schools, and one capital city with comprehensive medical cannabis programs allowing safe access to medical cannabis at school: Oklahoma City School District and these ten states; California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Maine, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois and Virginia.

No school or school district in the US has ever lost any federal funding for allowing safe access to medical cannabis at school, nor has there been any problems. No school personnel has ever gotten in any trouble...none.

Governor Lujan Grisham please issue an Executive Order as soon as possible for these medical cannabis students, directing the PED to instruct the schools that school personnel, including school nurses, are required by law to treat medical cannabis as any other medicine given to students at their school.


Jason M. Barker
Americans For Safe Access
Safe Access New Mexico