Thursday, December 26, 2019

New Mexico Expungement Law Takes Effect January 1st 2020

Photo Credit: NPR

The New Mexico Legislature passed House Bill 370, The Criminal Record Expungement Act, in 2019 which permits those convicted of certain violations, misdemeanors, or felonies -- following the completion of their sentence and payment of applicable fines -- to petition the court for an order to expunge arrest records and public records related to that conviction. Those seeking to vacate misdemeanor convictions must wait two years following the completion of their sentence, and have no subsequent convictions, prior to seeking expungement. Those with felony convictions must wait six-years prior to petitioning the court.

After a hearing on the petition, the court shall issue a ruling within 30 days.

The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

The New Mexico ACLU fought for the law, and it’s now making sure people who qualify take advantage of it. Those who cannot get their records cleared include people with convictions for DWI, embezzlement, sex crimes, crimes against children and homicides.

New Mexico is one of the last states in the country to pass this type of law. Prosecutors and police would still have access to past criminal records.

For more information about what convictions qualify for expungement, click here.

What is a criminal record?70 million adults in the U.S. – about 1 in 3 Americans – has a criminal record that will show up on a routine background check. Convictions, dismissals, even mere arrests are public record and generally remain a public record unless they are somehow removed.

What is expungement?In New Mexico, expunged records are removed from public view and are no longer reported on background checks. A person whose record is expunged may answer “no” when asked if they have ever been arrested or convicted. District Attorneys and certain employers requiring security clearance may still have access to expunged records.

How will expungement help me?The American Bar Association estimates there are 48,000 ways a person can be affected by a criminal record in the U.S. These “collateral consequences” include housing, employment, occupational licenses, immigration, and many others.

What is eligible to be expunged?
Misdemeanor and felony dismissals, acquittals, and convictions with certain exceptions.
What are the exceptions?

Convictions for the following offenses are not eligible for expungement: DWI, Embezzlement, Sex Crimes (requiring registration), Crimes Against Children, and Violent Offenses resulting in Great Bodily Harm or Death of Another.

Learn more at the ACLU's Website: HOW DO I EXPUNGE MY RECORD? |

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Response to State Sen. Gabriel Ramos and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero Column in the Albuquerque Journal: "NM should lead in regulating vaping industry"

Response To: NM should lead in regulating vaping industry
Sunday, December 22nd, 2019 at 12:02am
Read the original column here on the Albuquerque Journal website: 

Article Broken Down With Response to Each Section (black is the original ABQ Journal article text and blue text is the response for Lawmakers to please review and consider)

"Vaping in New Mexico is completely unregulated, and once again our state is the Wild West when it comes to a new industry."

The opening sentence is completely false. All the vaping products in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program are strictly regulated through a laboratory testing process.

The state is doing absolutely nothing to regulate the manufacturing process for nicotine based e-cig vapes sold in the state.

Have either one of you met with the Environmental Department to learn what they are doing to test and regulated Hemp CBD Vape products, since many come from out of state?

And a new study out last week shows that legal nicotine only e-cig vapes sold over the counter to the public are far worse on the human body, according to the new research out.
"The first study on the long-term health effects of electronic cigarettes finds that the devices are linked to an increased risk of chronic lung diseases, according to research published Monday (Dec. 16 2019) in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine."
"Most adults who use e-cigarettes continue to smoke," Glantz told NBC News. "And if they do that, they get the risks of the smoking plus the risk of the e-cigarette."
“Combining regular and e-cigarettes more than tripled the risk for developing chronic lung diseases, the study found.”

Latest Outbreak Information from the CDC as of Dec. 17 2019:
“1,782 hospitalized patients had complete information* on substances used in e-cigarette, or vaping, products in the 3 months prior to symptom onset, of whom (as of December 3, 2019)

"We are parents, and strongly believe it is imperative to protect the health of our children, protect the public health of New Mexicans, eliminate bad actors and underground products.
The only true way to eliminate the bad actors and underground products is to stop the Chinese companies that are fueling the blackmarket and bad actors, as the Chinese companies are responsible for selling and shipping to the US the fake packaging and e-cig cartridges used.
“Dank Vapes was the brand used by 56% of the hospitalized patients nationwide.
Dank is not a licensed product coming from one business, it is empty packaging that can be ordered from Chinese internet sites. Illicit vaping cartridge makers can buy the empty packages and then fill them with whatever they choose.
Other product names at the top of the list from CDC were TKO (15%), Smart Cart (13%) and Rove (12%).”


There is nothing in your proposed bill that addresses this illegal activity by the Chinese. 

"We will reintroduce the Vaping Act to promote greater public health through smart regulations and responsible public policies. To date, no other state has enacted a comprehensive e-cigarette regulatory bill, and New Mexico could lead the way."
Have either one of you taken the time to meet with any of the Manufacturers of Vape products for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program? Or toured any of these Manufacturers production facilities? Have either one of you ever had the chance to go and visit a medical cannabis dispensary with medical cannabis patient or caregiver?

"Recent knee-jerk policy responses to lung illnesses will not lead to a desired outcome. But a comprehensive regulatory framework can, and will."
While the Vape Warning Label on medical cannabis products was clearly misguided and a knee-jerk policy response, so is the proposed legislation that has been put forth.

This from the Dept. of Health, highlights the need to be honest with the general public:
“This statement on the Dept. of Health proposed Medical Cannabis Program Vape Warning label is completely false and even worse it misleads the general public and program participants about the scientific facts about THC and it’s many medical benefits. 

“WARNING: Vaping THC has been associated with cases of severe lung injury, leading to difficulty breathing, hospitalization, and even death”

I would please like to ask the Department of Health to reconsider the current language now being used as a “warning label” for medical cannabis vaping products. The warning label is very misleading and to clear that up, I would suggest adding the following factual statement to the Warning Label: “It is important to note that this illness is not caused by anything intrinsic to cannabis. ”
[‘New Mexico hits the panic button with medical cannabis vape warning label, despite facts from CDC.’ | ]

"Most people reading recent stories don’t know the full range of facts behind the illnesses reported from e-cigarette usage. That is, that the majority of the illnesses reported due to e-cigarette usage is directly linked to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), or illicit unregulated drug use, in vaping devices. On Oct. 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its findings on e-cigarette illnesses and hospitalizations. The CDC noted that, of the confirmed lung injury cases associated with e-cigarette usage, 78% of patients “reported using THC-containing products, with or without nicotine-containing products.” Thirty-seven percent of the patients also reported “exclusive use of THC-containing products.” And on Nov. 21, the CDC further announced “the latest national and state findings suggest THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers, are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.”
This entire paragraph misrepresents the facts, probably due to new research by the CDC on December 19 2019, and it is very important as you have said that most people understand the true facts.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director, says this sharp spike strongly points to a single culprit for most of these cases: vitamin E acetate, an additive found in illicit containing vapes.

Vitamin E Acetate has been found in nicotine vapes, CBD vapes and THC vapes.

Vitamin E Acetate and those Chinese companies mentioned - these are the real problems of concern.

Isolated and eliminate those variables and the problem is solved.

"Prohibition does not work."
Regulation for the wrong reasons, Over regulation, Lack of Public Input, and over Taxation are all items that will foster the black market for products like this.

Since 2017, NMDOH has been dodging to responsibilities of testing cannabis products and now amidst the Vaping Illness they now try to blame the medical cannabis products...and do so with zero proof about in state products.

And the New Mexico Department of Health does not test New Mexico cannabis for Heavy Metals, Pesticides and other toxins that they should be testing for - hence this is putting people at risk. And we are also a state that tested the Atom bomb and all kinds of military equipment/weaponry, there are all kinds of contaminants/heavy metals all over the state and its soil (ie Gold King Mine spill).

Steep Hill labs warned the NMDOH and lawmakers about this in Oct. 2017 at a Legislative Health and Human Services Committee Meeting and lawmakers ignored them.
Link to those materials presented in 2017: []

"One critically important fact is being ignored in the rush to respond to the reported illnesses. Since their introduction to the U.S. market in 2007, vaping devices have helped millions of Americans quit smoking. And a lot of those people, 10 million to 13 million, are using flavored products to help them quit, or limit, cigarette smoking. “In the largest survey of American adult vapers, flavors were vital in helping smokers quit combustible cigarettes and remain abstinent from smoking.” The removal of products that have helped the vast majority of former smokers quit smoking cigarettes will have morbid impacts and only serves to drive those smokers back to combustible products, or cigarettes. This should be the most compelling argument for regulating e-cigarettes, not eliminating them."
Personally as a medical cannabis patient, I was a cigarette smoker for 15 years and I was able to quit smoking cigarettes by using and smoking cannabis CBD products. I started smoking years ago to cover up and hide the smell of cannabis smoke from the cannabis I used. When I tried nicotine e-cig vape products, they made me feel sick to my stomach and gave me a dry cough for weeks.

Addiction to nicotine and other substance should be an accepted health condition in the New Mexico medical cannabis program. Adding that to you legislation would help people quit smoking cigarettes with the available smokable and non-smokable medical cannabis products. And the NM Dept. of Health is even considering this Petition to do just that:
Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Substance Abuse Disorder (To Include: Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), Tobacco Use Disorder, Stimulant Use Disorder, Hallucinogen Use Disorder, and Opioid Use Disorder) |

And we also now know these e-cig nicotine vapes can be just as harmful as smoking a regular cigarette:
"The first study on the long-term health effects of electronic cigarettes finds that the devices are linked to an increased risk of chronic lung diseases, according to research published Monday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine."
"Most adults who use e-cigarettes continue to smoke," Glantz told NBC News. "And if they do that, they get the risks of the smoking plus the risk of the e-cigarette."
Combining regular and e-cigarettes more than tripled the risk for developing chronic lung diseases, the study found.”

New research this year (Feb 27, 2019) at Harvard Health concluded: “Ultimately, we’ll need good studies to assess the long-term safety of vaping, to confirm that when used to aid smoking cessation we aren’t just replacing one bad habit with another.”

Dr. Barry Ramo is right, “The problem needs to be approached the same way cigarette smoking was successfully attacked, using education and legislation.” []

**Only way any legislation will work is if Vape Manufacturers from the medical cannabis program are given a seat at the policy table. And lawmakers should consult with industry experts, like Americans for Safe Access and Sean Khalepari, who is a Regulatory Affairs Coordinator (email: phone: (202) 857-4272 x. 2) . []

As poorly written legislation for the Clean Indoor Act in 2019 has now created housing issues for medical cannabis patients by enabling landlords the ability to refuse housing to medical cannabis patients.

"Digging a little deeper, the vapor products mentioned above have been FDA-registered and FDA-regulated since 2016. No new legal vapor products have entered the market since 2016. Of the vapor products on the market, some are completely nicotine-free. There are already strict FDA warning label requirements in place for all nicotine-containing e-cigarette products. So, what would the regulatory framework look like?"

"Since last December, our team has met with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office, the N.M. Department of Health and N.M. Regulation and Licensing Department to discuss the depth of the regulatory framework. Our proposed Regulatory Act would establish a 21 years of age restriction for all purchases, licensing requirements for manufacturers, distributors and retail stores, an enforcement mechanism within the state’s Alcohol and Gaming Division, and strict marketing guidelines that would prohibit youth-targeted marketing."

President Donald Trump on Friday (Dec. 20 2019) signed a sweeping spending bill into law, including a measure that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. This also included vape products. []

*Vaping Devices Themselves Are Not Regulated (the pen and battery parts)*
“Researchers at the University of California San Francisco said the patient had hard-metal pneumoconiosis, typically found in people exposed to metals such as cobalt or tungsten used in tool sharpening or diamond polishing.”
"This was similar to other studies, suggesting that the metals were coming from the heating coils found in vaping devices, rather than from any particular type of re-fill - as has been previously thought."

"Finally, during the 2018 legislative session, the Legislature enacted a point-of-sale tax on e-cigarettes. But without a comprehensive regulatory framework that includes licensing, it will be impossible to track sales and know who to tax. The creation of a regulatory framework guarantees more gross receipts dollars for the state of New Mexico."

"With the adoption of statewide regulations during the 2020 legislative session, New Mexico can lead the way in creating a comprehensive framework that would legitimize the vapor industry, serve to help combat youth usage, and create a clear avenue for revenue generation."

"We encourage the public to comment on our legislation. It will be available on the New Mexico Legislative website once prefiled legislation is published."
Article (in black) By: 
Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero - (D)
Senator Gabriel Ramos - (D)

The CDC investigation is focusing its investigation on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), which include vape/dab pens, electronic cigarettes, and the liquids they contain, which can include nicotine, cannabis oil, and other substances and additives.

Whether due to better healthcare surveillance and reporting, the addition of new cutting agents or other additives, the presence of pesticides or other contaminants, issues with certain types, brands, or manufacturers of cartridges and other delivery mechanisms, a combination of these factors, or something else, it is clear that the use of ENDS is not without risk. ASA strongly recommends patients and consumers stop using cannabis-containing cartridges entirely (or at least to the extent possible) until there is clarity as to what is causing these illnesses and deaths.

Americans for Safe Access does not support outright bans on cannabis-containing cartridges or devices intended for the consumption of cannabis concentrates, which could simply drive more people to the unregulated market and exacerbate the spread of VAPI. Rather, we recommend bans on the inclusion of any additives (e.g., diluents, thickeners, flavoring agents) not derived from cannabis. Additionally, we recommend patients and consumers only purchase cannabis products that have undergone testing at an independent, third-party laboratory that has verified composition and potency and screened for adulterants, contaminants, heavy metals, residual solvents, chemical residues, and other health concerns, such as mold and dangerous bacteria.
[‘Patient-Focused Recommendations Regarding the Vaping Crisis’ | Americans For Safe Access |]

Response in blue text by Jason Barker 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Governor’s Legalization Group Recommendations Open The Door To Federal Interference

The Senate sent President Trump Fiscal Year 2020 spending legislation that continues a budget rider protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference. Congressional negotiators cut House-passed measures protecting all state cannabis laws from federal interference and cut the measure allowing cannabis banking from 2020 spending legislation. The bill also continues a budget rider blocking Washington, D.C. from spending its own money to regulate recreational cannabis sales.

Medical cannabis patients in New Mexico and the state of New Mexico may find themselves without those federal protections as the Governor’s Legalization Work Group recommends adopting a totally new model for a joint medical-adult use program in New Mexico.

Those federal CJS Medical Cannabis budget rider protections do not apply to a joint medical-adult use program laws. This would also have a devastating impact on the new medical cannabis in schools law, if the state is not protected from Federal interference.

Protection for state medical cannabis laws, are provided in the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment (also known as the CJS Medical Cannabis amendment), in Section 538 of the “omnibus” federal appropriations bill.

Every year, the federal budget in the US Congress (“omnibus” appropriations bill) includes this rider that continues to bar the DOJ from enforcing the federal ban on cannabis due to it’s Schedule 1 status in some circumstances pertaining to states who enact their own medical cannabis laws.

Here is the full text of the budget rider: 
“SEC. 538. None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” (

This is exactly why the medical cannabis program laws need to be separate from any proposed legalization legislation in New Mexico for 2020. 

Using the state’s medical cannabis program to create a recreational cannabis program will result in great harm coming to the state’s medical cannabis program, Americans For Safe Access policy expertise advises that any system of regulation should not be built on the backs of current medical cannabis laws.

Issues such as access, police harassment, and the price and quality of medicine will still be relevant to the patient community despite the adoption of a policy of legalization for recreational use. The federal refusal to recognize the medical efficacy of cannabis causes more harm and difficulty for patients than any failure by local or state governments to adopt policies of legalization of cannabis for recreational use. 

Any system of regulation should not be built on the backs of current medical cannabis laws. The Governor’s Legalization Work Group recommendation of adopting a totally new model for a joint medical-adult use program in New Mexico will have devastating results for the medical cannabis program and it's participants.

The legalization of cannabis for recreational use is a separate issue from safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use. Americans For Safe Access cautions policy makers against letting the debate surrounding the legalization of cannabis for recreational use obscure the science and policy regarding the medical use of cannabis.

Social Equity, Expunging cannabis records and Restorative justice provisions should be handled separately from legislation allowing recreational cannabis.  New Mexico lawmakers should be planning on addressing Social Equity, Expunging cannabis records and Restorative justice in separate legislation for 2020 first before and legalization bill.

The main focus on cannabis policy in 2020 should be on the medical cannabis program and protecting the program like Governor Lujan Grisham promised.

The state has three medical cannabis laws, all three have multiple violations being allowed to occur and all three are being ignored by the State of New Mexico.

1. "Adequate Supply" and "Purpose of the act" in the original The Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act are not being followed.

The fact of the matter with the New Mexico medical cannabis program plant count being decreased from 2500 cannabis plants to 1750 cannabis plants, that was done as a means of price control, period. It has nothing to do with “Adequate Supply”, as the medical cannabis program law demands.

The purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (medical cannabis program) 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.

It says nothing in the MCP law about using price control for establishing a plant count for “adequate supply”.

A research assessment of physical and pharmacokinetic relationships in cannabis production and consumption in New Mexico hasn't ever been done in relation to Equivalency in Portion and Dosage for the medical cannabis program for establishing a plant count to provide “Adequate Supply”.
Here is one Colorado has done:

2. Medical Cannabis in School Law that was improperly enacted by the Public Education Department (SB-204) and the law is not being followed.
‘Gov. candidates disagree on medical cannabis at school’

3. The MCP Office and the MCAB did not fulfill their duties and responsibilities for the LECUA law (2007).
The advisory board shall convene at least twice per year. Nor were the Public hearing responsibilities followed or fulfilled for the MCAB hearing. The chairperson did not conduct a fair and impartial proceeding, did not assure that the facts were fully elicited and now the hearing is delayed.

Sources: Congress sends spending deal to Trump, ending shutdown threat | 12/19/2019 | Politico

House-Passed Marijuana Amendments Stripped From Congressional Spending Bills | December 16, 2019 |

Work group’s plan will devastate medical pot | October 28th, 2019 |

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Proposed Rules Hearing (Part Two): January 2020

(via NM Register: Volume XXX, Issue 23; December 17, 2019)


The New Mexico Department of Health (Department) will hold a public hearing on the proposed repeal and replacement of 7.34.4 NMAC, and the proposed amendment of Department rule sections and NMAC. The hearing will be held on January 16, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the Harold Runnels Building, located at 1190 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is the second public hearing concerning proposed rule revisions.

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 modifications 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, heavy metals, and end products, 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 modifications to definitions at sections,, and NMAC.

The legal authority for the proposed rule amendments is at Subsection E of Section 9-7-6 NMSA 1978, and Subsection A of Section 26-2B-7 NMSA 1978.

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 rules/ or from Andrea Sundberg using the contact information below.

Related Article: Safe Access New Mexico 2019 Community Advocacy Report | Cannabis News Journal | 

The public hearing will be conducted to receive public comment on the proposed repeal and replacement of 7.34.4 NMAC, and the proposed amendment of,, and 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 comment 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: 

Written comments must be received by the close of the public rule hearing on January 16, 2020. All written comments will be published on the agency website at within 3 days of receipt, and will be available at the New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program for public inspection.

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of special assistance or accommodations to attend or participate in the hearing, please contact Andrea Sundberg by telephone at (505) 827-2318. The Department requests at least ten (10) days advance notice to provide requested special accommodations. 

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Using medical cannabis to address addiction disorders

An examination of how medical cannabis could be used to combat the abuse of various substances and addiction disorders.

Using medical cannabis to address addiction disorders

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.

View the 2019 Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Substance Abuse Disorder Here:

Humans enjoy sampling a variety of extreme stimuli. These behaviours may be risky (such as persistent gambling, drinking or smoking), repetitive to the exclusion of normal interpersonal interactions (such as gaming), unhealthy (such as overeating), or resulting in a sense of euphoria or a ‘high.’ Some of these behaviours can become excessive and psychological or physical cravings lead to the behaviour overtaking the usual activities of daily living. Where physical cravings are involved, the serious nature of substance use disorder (SUD) has come into focus as more than 130 people in the United States die every day after overdosing on opioids (CDC, 2018). Clearly, effective treatment strategies are in short supply.

The endocannabinoid system may suppress addictive urges
The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of receptors which mediate a variety of functions ranging from cognition, memory, mood, appetite and sensory responses (Chye, 2019). The ECS’s role in reward signalling may influence repetitive behaviour. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis plants but not made in the human body.

Nevertheless, it can interact with ECS receptors (CB1R in particular) to provide a therapeutic strategy for addictions. CBD is ‘non-rewarding’ and acts to mediate responses in a number of receptor systems including the opioid, serotonergic, and endocannabinoid systems (Chye, 2019). With cannabinoids acting directly on ECS receptors, it is clear that medical cannabis could have potential success as a substance abuse treatment option.
Cannabis for the treatment of substance use disorder

Drug addiction, now known as substance use disorder (SUD), is characterised by repeated use of a drug or substance leading to clinically significant distress. Over time, this becomes a health threat to the affected individual, as well as to their community (Chye, 2019). The most common substances involved in SUDs include both prescription and illicit opioids, commercially available nicotine and alcohol, and illicit cocaine and methamphetamine (APA, 2013). Available treatment options include behavioural counselling, medication, medical devices and pharmaceuticals (there are three FDA-approved options) to address both the physical and psychological aspects of drug abuse, but they are clearly not effective or available enough. Cannabinoids offer a possible additional option.

Cannabis as an alternative to opioid use
Opioids are typically used for pain reduction, but have the additional effects of drowsiness, mental confusion, euphoria, nausea and constipation. This class of drugs includes prescription narcotic pain relievers, synthetic opioids, and heroin (American Psychiatric Association, 2018). In 2017, the US National Institute of Health (NIH) published a report in the New England Journal of Medicine that acknowledged the role of cannabis as a short to intermediate term alternative for the treatment of chronic pain rather than opioids.

A frequent path to SUD starts with an opioid prescription for pain relief from an injury or procedure. Unfortunately, it can take as little as 4 weeks to develop physical opioid dependence (American Psychiatric Association, 2018). The high levels of positive reinforcement in the brain that opioids can elicit increases the likelihood that an individual will continue to use the drug despite the negative consequences that might result (American Psychiatric Association, 2018).

Cannabis to reduce opioid effects in animals
Opioids influence the reward system in the brain, a logical target for treatment strategies. Animal studies indicate that CBD inhibits some of these brain reward mechanisms responsible for the opioid reinforcing properties (Katsidoni et al., 2012; Hurd et al., 2019, Markos et al., 2018; Ren et al., 2009). Research has shown that CBD actually impaired the reconsolidation of the preferences for certain conditioned environments or stimuli by reducing the reward associated with the drug (deCarvalho & Takahashi, 2017), and persisted for as long as two weeks after administration (Ren et al., 2009). The suggestion of a potential long-lasting benefit of CBD use on opioid use disorder is exciting.

SUD in the face of continued pain presents a separate problem, and the role for THC (a pain treatment alternative) in addition to CBD is obvious. Male rats who were trained to self-administer oxycodone were more likely to self-administer less frequently after they had been exposed to THC. Additional data showed that rats given a THC/oxycodone combination were slower to feel pain in a sensory test compared to rats given either drug alone (Nguyen et al., 2019). These findings suggested that THC and oxycodone may have additive effects, with THC potentially enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of opioids, and therefore perhaps reducing the use of opioids over time.

The painful and unpleasant physical symptoms of withdrawal can drive a person who is addicted to opioids to use the drug again. THC has been shown to reduce the signs of quasi-morphine withdrawal syndrome in rats, and other phytocannabinoids like cannabinol (CBN) might also be useful in this setting (Chesher & Jackson, 1985). Therefore, full spectrum cannabis could prove beneficial for lessening withdrawal symptoms that lead to relapse.
Clinical evidence for cannabis to reduce opioid use

A Columbia Care analysis of its peripheral neuropathy patients showed that 62% of those on narcotics when they began regularly using a proprietary, formulated, pharmaceutical-quality medical cannabis product (TheraCeed™, EleCeed™ and ClaraCeed™) stabilised, reduced or eliminated their narcotic usage over a nine-month observation period. This data was the basis for a US National Institute of Health (NIH)-awarded R21 grant to Columbia University/New York Psychiatric Institute to continue the same data collection over a longer period of time in an expanded data set. The study is currently ongoing.
Cannabis for the use of nicotine use disorder

Several studies with cannabis have been conducted in various smoker populations. ‘Hopeful quitters’ who were given a CBD inhaler to use whenever they felt the urge to smoke significantly reduced the number of cigarettes smoked by about 40%, compared to subjects given a placebo inhaler, who showed no difference (Morgan et al., 2013). Those effects were even maintained at follow up, showing the potential that CBD could have as a treatment for nicotine addiction.

In a second series of smokers not seeking to quit, 800mg oral CBD capsules reduced the pleasantness of cigarette cues (such as images of smoking) after overnight cigarette abstinence compared to placebo but did not influence feelings of craving or withdrawal (Hindocha et al., 2018). More research is needed in this area in order to better conclude how best to study and use CBD on those who are nicotine dependent. Additionally, the habit of inhaling itself, whether a cannabinoid or nicotine, as well as the patient intention, need to be factored into these studies.

Cannabis for the treatment of alcohol use disorders
The effects of alcohol dependence have been well known for many decades, and the financial and physical toll of patients with neurological degeneration, liver failure and cirrhosis is heavy. Alcohol use disorders encompass several clinical criteria, including alcohol tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, cravings and other consequences that medically or psychosocially interfere with daily life (De Ternay et al., 2019). Subjects frequently resolve to not drink again, but the physical symptoms of withdrawal (as with opioid dependence) may be overwhelming.

Studies in mice have shown that CBD administration reduced symptoms of alcohol withdrawal as well as total ethanol intake (Viudez-Martínez et al, 2018). Research has also demonstrated that CBD administration to rats using alcohol self-administration decreased drug seeking behaviour, with less sedation and more normal motivated behaviour (Gonzalez-Cuevas et al., 2018).

The literature also supports the hypothesis that CBD may reduce alcohol consumption and motivation better than currently available SUD pharmaceuticals approved by the FDA (Viudez-Martínez et al., 2018). For instance, the combination of low doses of CBD together with naltrexone, a medication commonly used to prevent relapses into alcohol or drug abuse, were more effective than CBD or naltrexone alone at reducing alcohol consumption and motivation to consume alcohol in mice (Viudez-Martínez et al., 2018).

Exposure to CBD together with THC in mice exposed to ethanol concurrently led to decreased hyperactivity in response to later ethanol exposure. These effects were not seen in the mice treated with CBD alone, making the combination of cannabinoids another important treatment method to consider when expanding this research in humans (Filev et al., 2017).

Cannabis for the treatment of cocaine use or addiction
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive illegal stimulant made from the leaves of the coca plant. Even short-term cocaine use may lead to several negative health outcomes, in addition to the behaviour risks exhibited by users. There are no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine addiction at this time (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019.)

To date, research looking for signs of cannabinoid utility in negating cocaine addiction are mixed. One study concluded that acute treatment with CBD had minimal effects on a rat model of cocaine intake and relapse (Mahmud et al., 2017). Another demonstrated that repeated CBD treatment reduced anxiety and cocaine intake in mice (Lujan et al., 2018).

Cannabis for the treatment of methamphetamine use
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance with high relapse rates. A strong connection between sleep impairment and methamphetamine relapse led researchers to investigate CBD as a potential treatment for sleep derangement, and reduced relapse. Findings demonstrated that CBD exposure reduced the likelihood that rats would relapse, even in conditions of stress (Karimi-Haghighi et al., 2018), as well as reduced self-administration in rats.

Together, these findings suggest that CBD is worth investigating further as an agent that could be successfully used to reduce methamphetamine dependence in humans (Hay et al., 2018).

Columbia Care is uniquely suited to build on the existing body of research
There is clear support for cannabinoids in treating SUDs by alleviating symptoms of withdrawal, providing alternative pain control and helping restore normal sleep patterns. The animal research illustrating the potential of medical cannabis products to treat addiction to opioids, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine must be expanded into clinical settings. However, the encouraging work to date is a good basis to conduct the required clinical studies to give patients a new, desperately needed treatment option.

US government regulations currently limit controlled clinical research using medical cannabis products. Columbia Care’s strong portfolio of observational research studies provides valuable insight on the benefit of medical cannabis into a wide range of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy and opioid addiction. A groundbreaking study with Stanford University will also identify genetic factors affecting an individual’s response to medical cannabis.

Columbia Care recently announced its ‘100,000,000 Ways to Break the Opioid Crisis’ initiative to test whether precisely formulated medical cannabis is a safe and effective alternative to narcotics for pain. Centred in New York City, in collaboration with Montefiore Medical Centre and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the program will expand throughout New York State and to other states where Columbia Care’s formulated medical cannabis products are legally available. These unit dosable, formulated products (TheraCeed, a high THC, low CBD product with a 20:1 ratio, EleCeed, an equal THC:CBD product, ClaraCeed, a low THC, high CBD product with a 1:20 ratio, and BeneCeed, a CBD product) are manufactured to strict standards and allow Columbia Care to partner with respected academic researchers to use these quality controlled products for research studies.

This is evidenced not only by the Columbia University NIH grant but also the publication of a research study conducted by scientists at New York University (NYU) using Columbia Care’s pharmaceutical quality products in a peer-reviewed journal in March 2019. To be able to treat all conditions for which medical cannabis is indicated, these products come in a variety of medicinal formats, including vapourisation oil, hard-pressed tablets, sublingual tinctures, topical lotion and vaginal and anal suppositories.

Preliminary evidence suggests that medical cannabis could be an effective option for treating SUDs. As the only company conducting US federally funded scientific research using standardised products, Columbia Care is the clear leader to determine a role for medical cannabis in the opioid crisis. With the Columbia University/New York Psychiatric Institute collaboration on opioid usage, and the 100,000,000 Ways to Break the Opioid Crisis initiative, Columbia Care has committed to provide its pharmaceutical-quality medical cannabis as a safe alternative to combat addiction and save lives. Beyond this opioid focused initiative, Columbia Care believes its products truly have the potential to help the millions of people struggling with many different SUDs.

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  4. Chesher GB, Jackson DM. (1985). The quasi-morphine withdrawal syndrome: effect of cannabinol, cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour, 23, 13–15.
  5. Chye Y, Christensen E, Solowij N and Yücel M (2019) The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabidiol’s Promise for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorder. Front. Psychiatry 10:63.
  6. De Carvalho, C.R. & Takahashi, R.N. (2017). Cannabidiol disrupts the reconsolidation of contextual drug-associated memories in Wistar rats. Addiction Biology, 22(3), 742-751.
  7. De Ternay J, Naassila M, Nourredine M, Louvet A, Bailly F, Sescousse G, Maurage P, Cottencin O, Carrieri P.M., Rolland B. (2019). “Therapeutic Prospects of Cannabidiol for Alcohol Use Disorder and Alcohol-Related Damages on the Liver and the Brain.” Front. Pharmacol.
  8. Filev R, Engelke DS, Da Silveira DX, Mello LE, Santos-Junior JG. (2017.) “THC inhibits the expression of ethanol-induced locomotor sensitization in mice.” Alcohol.;65:31-35.
  9. Friedman AL, Meurice C, Jutkiewicz EM. (2019). “Effects of adolescent Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol exposure on the behavioral effects of cocaine in adult Sprague-Dawley rats.” Exp Clin Psychopharmacol.; 4:326-337.
  10. Gonzalez-Cuevas G, Martin-Fardon R, Kerr TM, Stouffer DG, Parsons LH, Hammell DC, Banks SL, Stinchcomb AL, Weiss F. (2018). “Unique treatment potential of cannabidiol for the prevention of relapse to drug use: preclinical proof of principle.” Neuropsychopharmacology; 43(10):2036-2045.
  11. Hay GL, Baracz SJ, Everett NA, Roberts J, Costa PA, Arnold JC, McGregor IS, Cornish JL. (2018). “Cannabidiol treatment reduces the motivation to self-administer methamphetamine and methamphetamine-primed relapse in rats.” J Psychopharmacol.; 32(12):1369-1378.
  12. Hindocha, C., Freeman, T.P., Grabski, M., Stroud, J.B., Crudgington, H., Davies, A.C., Das, R.K., Lawn, W., Morgan, C.J.A. & Curran, H.V. (2018). Cannabidiol reverses attentional bias to cigarette cues in a human experimental model of tobacco withdrawal. Addiction, 113(9), 1696-1705.
  13. Hurd, Y.L., Spriggs, S., Alishayev, J., Winkel, G., Gurgov, K., Kudrich, C., Oprescu, A.M. & Salsitz, E. (2019). Cannabidiol for the Reduction of Cue-Induced Craving and Anxiety in Drug-Abstinent Individuals With Heroin Use Disorder: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. American Journal of Psychiatry.
  14. Karimi-Haghighi S, Haghparast A. (2018). “Cannabidiol inhibits priming-induced reinstatement of methamphetamine in REM sleep deprived rats.” Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry; 82:307-313.
  15. Katsidoni, V., Anagnostou, I. & Panagis, G. (2012). Cannabidiol inhibits the reward‐facilitating effect of morphine: involvement of 5‐HT1A receptors in the dorsal raphe nucleus, Addiction Biology, 18(2), 286-296.
  16. Lujan MA, Castro-Zavala A, Alegre-Zurano L, Valverde O. (2018). “Repeated Cannabidiol treatment reduces cocaine intake and modulates neural proliferation and CB1R expression in the mouse hippocampus.” Neuropharmacology; 143:163-175.
  17. Mahmud A, Gallant S, Sedki F, D’Cunha T, Shalev U. (2017). “Effects of an acute cannabidiol treatment on cocaine self-administration and cue-induced cocaine seeking in male rats.” J Psychopharmacol.; 1:96-104.
  18. Markos, J.R., Harris, H.M., Gul, W., ElSohly, M.A. & Sufka, K.J. (2018). Effects of Cannabidiol on Morphine Conditioned Place Preference in Mice. Planta Medica, 84(4), 221-224.
  19. Morgan, C.J., Das, R.K., Joye, A., Curran, H.V. & Kamboj, S.K. (2013). Cannabidiol reduces cigarette consumption in tobacco smokers: preliminary findings. Addictive Behavior, 38(9), 2433-6.
  20. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2019. “Commonly Abused Drugs Charts.”
  21. Nguyen, J.D., Grant, Y., Creehan, K.M., Hwang, C.S., Vandewater, S.A., Janda, K.D., Cole, M. & Taffe, M.A. (2019). Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol attenuates oxycodone self-administration under extended access conditions. Neuropharmacology, 151, 127-135.
  22. Ren, Y., Whittard, J., Higuera-Matas, A., Morris, C.V. & Hurd, Y.L. (2009). Cannabidiol, a nonpsychotropic component of cannabis, inhibits cue-induced heroin seeking and normalizes discrete mesolimbic neuronal disturbances. Journal of Neruoscience, 29(47), 14764-9.
  23. Viudez-Martínez A, García-Gutiérrez MS, Navarrón CM, Morales-Calero MI, Navarrete F, Torres-Suárez AI, Manzanares J. (2018). “Cannabidiol reduces ethanol consumption, motivation and relapse in mice.” Addict Biol.; 1:154-164.

This article will appear in Health Europa Quarterly Issue 11, which is available to read now.

Medical Cannabis and Tourette Syndrome

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.
View the 2019 Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition(s): ADD/ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, And Tourette's Syndrome Here:

Tourette Syndrome is a common genetic neurological disorder characterized by chronic motor and vocal tics. Affected individuals typically have repetitive, stereotyped movements or vocalizations, such as blinking, sniffing, facial movements, or tensing of the abdomen.

Other manifestations include attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, poor impulse control, and other behavioral problems. Symptoms vary significantly from one patient to another, and the tics are often not the most disabling features of this condition.

While the mechanism of Tourette syndrome remains unknown, research suggests that it is an inherited, developmental disorder of neurotransmission. This disorder affects approximately 1% of the population, and is 5 times more common in males. Symptoms range in severity from annoying to disabling.

Patients with loud vocalizations or large movements either endure substantial criticism or withdraw from many activities. Prejudice in work and school settings is common. Inadvertent injuries, such as broken bones and joint degeneration can also occur after years of simple yet repetitive tics. Accidents are common.

Current treatments of Tourette syndrome are purely symptomatic. No curative or preventive treatments are known. Medications have been used to treat tics, ADHD, OCD, and aggression. These include antipsychotics, dopamine-depleting agents, antihypertensive agents, skeletal muscle relaxants, benzodiazepines, SSRIs at 3-4 times the antidepressant dose, and Botox injections. Neurosurgery is performed in severe cases. All of these treatments carry significant risk and, sadly, offer limited benefit. Many medical authors encourage physicians avoid treating Tourette syndrome with pharmaceutical agents unless the symptoms are debilitating.

A significant body of scientific evidence suggests that the compounds found in cannabis can relieve symptoms of Tourette syndrome.

Animal studies demonstrate that cannabinoids specifically affect the basal ganglia and other areas of the brain known to be involved in Tourette syndrome.

Multiple case reports of patients using cannabis to reduce or eliminate tics and obsessive-compulsive behaviors have been published. One study found that cannabinoids could enhance the effectiveness of antipsychotic medications in this condition.

The randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial is considered the gold standard in clinic trials for treatment efficacy. Two have been published that evaluated the efficacy of THC in the treatment of Tourette syndrome. The first, which included 12 adult patients, found that 10 of them experienced significant improvement in their symptoms after a single dose of THC, ranging from 20-90% reduction in symptom severity. Another study of 24 patients found similar improvements with no detrimental effects on cognition; verbal memory span actually improved in the cannabis group.

The acute effects of cannabis and THC are well documented, and are considered safer than most of the medications currently used in the treatment of Tourette syndrome. The lethal dose of cannabis and THC in humans is unknown and there are no reported deaths caused directly by cannabis toxicity.

Dr. Sulak has personally seen cannabis help in debilitating cases of Tourette syndrome, after other medications had failed.

Dr. Sulak shared a personal story. Dr.Sulak's best friend during ages 10-14, gradually developed Tourette syndrome right before his eyes. At first doctors thought he had postnasal drip or acid reflux. Over time, they joked that he was a one-man orchestra. The tics and obsessive-compulsive behavior worsened; the whole family suffered, and eventually he was no longer able to effectively function in a mainstream school environment. He left high school midway through freshman year and moved to a special needs school that was mostly attended by youth criminals. Their friendship quickly dissolved as he also became involved in delinquent activity.

Three years later Dr. Sulak saw him and he was apparently tick-free. He confided in Dr. Sulak that he had been introduced to cannabis by friends at his new school, and to his surprise, his symptoms had almost completely vanished after smoking. He went on to become a college graduate and successful salesman, an unlikely profession for someone with Tourette syndrome. This was the first case of effective medical cannabis usage Dr. Sulak ever observed.

By Dustin Sulak, DO

Medscape. “Tourette Syndrome and Other Tic Disorders.” Accessed 11/13/12.

Müller-Vahl, Kirsten R. “Cannabinoids reduce symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome.” Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 4.10 (2003): 1717-1725.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Safe Access New Mexico 2019 Community Advocacy Report

Safe Access New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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

Safe Access New Mexico 2019 Community Accomplishments
Of the new health conditions added to the medical cannabis program from December 2018 - 2019, five (5) of those new ones are from the Petitions submitted to the Dept. of Health for Safe Access New Mexico.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Dec. 2018)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (June 2019
  • Three Degenerative Neurological Disorders: Friedreich’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (June 2019) 
[All Petitions Safe Access New Mexico Has Provided The NMDOH Can Be Viewed in Original Format Online At:]
  • January 2019: Doctor(s) of Veterinary Medicine were provided the ability to engage in cannabis discussions with their clients after Safe Access New New Mexico lobbied the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Safe Access New Mexico’s advocacy and petition policy work provided much of the groundwork that enabled the 2019 Medical Cannabis Changes Law (SB-406). 
  • Safe Access New Mexico has provided the New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program three (3) Petitions for 2019 to add several new Health Conditions and one new Medical Treatment into the state’s Medical Cannabis Program: 
View the 2019 Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Substance Abuse Disorder Here:

View the 2019 Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition(s): ADD/ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, And Tourette's Syndrome Here:

View the 2019 Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Treatment: Medical Cannabis Therapy For Seizures in Animals Here:

  • Safe Access New Mexico has provided Public Comment for all the 2019 Proposed Rule Changes for New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Program (MCP), Hemp Program and provided in depth federal policy comments to the Federal Government’s public comments requests for 2019 on the Federal Register.
  • Education, Training, and Product Safety: In 2019 Safe Access New Mexico has worked with Institutions of Higher Learning like UNM Health Sciences, and Doctors and Medical Providers around the state to provide accredited CME Education and Training through its Affiliate partnership with Americans For Safe Access via the Cannabis Care Certification (CCC) program to better educate medical cannabis patients, caregivers, doctors, and industry workers and the PFC program with an online training program option so that stakeholders can participate in certification courses from anywhere at anytime.
  • Safe Access New Mexico has provided the Governor’s Office multiple Policy Letters for 2019, had a meeting with policy advisors for the Governor, and had meetings with MCP Officials three times in 2019. 
  • Safe Access New Mexico has taken the time to meet with, discuss federal policy pertaining to medical cannabis, and provided ASA’s resources for Policy Makers with each member of New Mexico’s US Congressional delegation.
  • Safe Access New Mexico provided five (5) different bills as proposed state legislation for the start of the 2019 Legislative Session, resulting in sections of medical cannabis policy actively used in newly passed MCP laws for 2019. Safe Access New Mexico has provided the Governor’s Office a Policy Letter requesting several bills for the upcoming 30 day Legislative Session in 2020. Policy Letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Formally Requesting Cannabis Legislation for 2020 | Cannabis News Journal |

About Safe Access New Mexico and Americans For Safe Access (ASA)

The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic uses and research. ASA's stand on federal interference with medical cannabis state laws is one of zero-tolerance. ASA organizers engage in traditional, battle-tested tactics such as legislative organizing, community outreach, phone-in days, petition drives, etc., and supports the use of non-violent direct action as means of escalating tactics to reach campaign goals.

ASA helps organize media support for court cases, rapid response to law enforcement raids, and capacity-building for advocates. Our successful lobbying, media and legal campaigns have resulted in important court precedents, new sentencing standards, and more compassionate community guidelines.

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?"

This is where you come in ... get involved now!

First, email, please send basic contact details.

Second, join the Movement, with the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. With over 100,000 active members in all 50 states, Americans For Safe Access is the largest national member-based organization fighting for Medical Cannabis Patient Rights.

Third, join the discussion online in the Safe Access New Mexico's Facebook Group at and please Like and Follow the Safe Access New Mexico's Facebook Community page at:

What is an ASA Affiliate?ASA Affiliates are like-minded groups and organizations who choose to work on ASA campaigns in their regions. ASA Affiliates work with ASA on regional and national campaigns for safe access.

Affiliates are an incorporated entity and have at least 5 current members of ASA as associates of their organization.

Hold at least one joint fundraiser with ASA.
Participate in bi-annual reciprocal membership drive.
Promote ASA activities.
Support the Affiliate Statement of Principles

The ASA Affiliate Statement of Principles:
Support Safe Access. ASA Affiliates agree to support and participate in ASA campaigns to expand safe access to medical cannabis.

Community Respect. ASA Affiliates treat organizations and individuals in the medical cannabis movement with respect. ASA Affiliates seek to resolve any disputes with other activists or organizations in a calm and respectful manner.

Monthly Involvement. ASA Affiliates participate in ASA conference calls and organizing activities to stay networked with ASA and abreast of key developments in the fight for safe access.

About Safe Access New Mexico’s organizer: 
Jason Barker is an advocate for Safe Access New Mexico, an Affiliate of Americans For Safe Access; a freelance writer for Cannabis News Journal; and a medical cannabis patient in New Mexico. Jason funds this advocacy work through his landscape work in the foothills of the Sandia's.

Jason lives in Albuquerque with his dog, Tecumseh, who has a very severe case of canine structural epilepsy. Jason’s work has focused solely on medical cannabis issues, decriminalization of cannabis, hemp policy and does not work on legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes or other illicit drug issues. 

*Mr. Barker is not paid or employed in the medical cannabis industry nor does he have any current financial interest in the medical cannabis industry or recreational cannabis industry.

Make yourself a great Medical Cannabis Advocate with this FREE training:
The Medical Cannabis Advocate's Training Center
Americans For Safe Access (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.

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 78,362 participants enrolled as of October 31, 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.

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.