Saturday, January 26, 2019

10 Ways The Cannabis Regulation Act Will Cause Harm To The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program

The Legislators in New Mexico's Roundhouse have $1.2 billion coming in for the new budget year, so there is absolutely no need to fast track recreational cannabis legalization in New Mexico for 2019 the way they are doing so.

First and Foremost these state legislators MUST keep all Medical Cannabis Policy and Recreational Cannabis Policy separate in ALL Legislation.

The legalization of cannabis for recreational use is a separate issue from safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use. Cannabis News Journal and Safe Access New Mexico joins Americans For Safe Access in cautioning policy makers against letting the debate surrounding legalization of cannabis for recreational use obscure the science and policy regarding the medical use of cannabis. They are two separate issues.

Not one of these current legislators, Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Representative Javier Martínez, Representative Antonio Maestas, Representative Daymon Ely, Representative Deborah A. Armstrong, or Representative Angelica Rubio, that are pushing for the 2019 recreational cannabis legalization bill (HB-356) have even taken the time, in the last two years, to attend any of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Hearings conducted by Doctors and the Department of Health, which address the issues going on in the New Mexico medical cannabis program. 

Why would state legislators not want to hear what the doctors, the medical experts have to say about cannabis and the state’s medical cannabis program?

That fact is very concerning.

And also consider this, in other states with medical cannabis programs and what happened to those programs after recreational cannabis legalization. All of those state medical cannabis programs have suffered, legalization has not benefited any state’s medical cannabis program to date.

Cannabis News Journal and Safe Access New Mexico, the state's only Patient Focused Medical Cannabis Advocacy group, does not support the recreational legalization bill these state legislators and Drug Policy Alliance have planned for the 2019 legislative session as it will cause great harm to the current medical cannabis program. We focus solely on medical cannabis issues, protecting medical cannabis patient rights and do not work on legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes or other illicit drug issues.

In 2019 during the Legislative 60 day Regular Session Please : Pass a bill to Fix & Expand the states Neglected & Broken Medical Cannabis Program, Pass a bill Allowing Safe Access to Medical Cannabis at Schools, Enable Veterinary Doctors access to the Medical Cannabis Program, Pass Decriminalization of Cannabis for the State, Pass Medical Cannabis Research for UNM and get the Industrial Hemp program going with medical hemp research at NMSU for the states medical cannabis program.

These proposed measures will also generate additional revenue and jobs for the State.
Build a solid foundation first.
Then start talking about Recreational Cannabis Use Legalization.

If arrests for cannabis possession are a major racial justice concern, the solution is decriminalizing possession, turning it into a violation equivalent to littering.
But some policy groups pushing for recreational legalization don’t view decriminalization as an acceptable compromise. They want full legalization, making cannabis a state-regulated and -taxed drug like alcohol so that businesses can sell and profit from.

Everything proposed in the Cannabis Regulation Act can be achieved by passing Senator Cervantes’s Cannabis Decriminalization bill SB-323 in conjunction with Legislation for expanding the current medical cannabis program.

The State can and should allow the Department of Health and Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to open up and start accepting new producer applications in addition to reducing the current and new licensing fees. There is already going to be a increase in plants grown, as now Supreme Court Judge Thomson, when serving on the bench as a District Court Judge has already order the Department of Health to raise the Licensed Producers Plant Count by March 1st 2019.

In conjunction with the opening the program up to allow for more participants statewide by allowing their Doctor or medical provider to decide if the qualify and not lawmakers in Santa Fe; current LECUA law states the following:

“Section 3. DEFINITIONS.–As used in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act:
B. “debilitating medical condition” means: (1) cancer; (2) glaucoma; (3) multiple sclerosis; (4) damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity; (5) epilepsy; (6) positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome; (7) admitted into hospice care in accordance with rules promulgated by the department; or (8) any other medical condition, medical treatment or disease as approved by the department; ”
WhereAs (Section 8) [the Law could state the following] “ or (8) any other medical condition, medical treatment or any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person’s safety, physical, or mental health.”

That would provide the greatest harm reduction across the state along with improving the overall health of the State.

And finally, Reciprocity -Recognition of nonresident medical cannabis cards, this would allow for increased tourism in the state as people could come and enjoy events like Gathering of Nations or Balloon Fiesta.

Senator Ortiz y Pino and Rep. Deb Armstrong were asked to Sponsor legislation that could do this for the last two years, those patient pleas were ignored.
Proposed 2019 NM Legislation: An Act Relating to Amending LECUA, 2007

10 Ways The Cannabis Regulation Act Will Cause Harm To The Medical Cannabis Program:
  1. We have kids facing discrimination at the hands of public school administrators in New Mexico because they are medical cannabis patients using a life saving medicine and Rep. Javier Martinez and Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino are prioritizing Recreational Cannabis policy and mixing it with the State’s Medical Cannabis Program...kinda highlights why we as a state need to reform the dysfunctional legislature. Kids that are being discriminated against take a back seat to recreational cannabis legalization. How sad…
  2. The absence of proper medical cannabis patient advocacy representation in the writing and policy advisement for the Cannabis Regulation Act. Medical Cannabis Patients, Caregivers, Advocates and Experts in medical cannabis policy were not consulted or given any voice but we were all ignored. All the while lawmakers and Drug Policy Alliance met in back rooms at the roundhouse behind closed doors in secrecy to write this legislation. 
  3. These state legislators MUST keep all Medical Cannabis Policy and Recreational Cannabis Policy separate in ALL Legislation- The legalization of cannabis for recreational use is a separate issue from safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use. Safe Access New Mexico cautions policy makers against letting the debate surrounding legalization of cannabis for recreational use obscure the science and policy regarding the medical use of cannabis. Drug Policy Alliance and these Legislators are using the state’s Medical Cannabis Program as a gateway to Recreational Cannabis Legalization for favoring the business profits and potential taxes over taking the path that will result in the greatest harm reduction that will better fulfill those social justice promises. 
  4. The Cannabis Regulation Act does nothing to Expand, Fix, or Protect the current Medical Cannabis Program. The proposed legislation legalizing recreational use of cannabis would prohibit anyone from making medicine, like medical cannabis oils without a license. New Mexico’s medical cannabis program also allows people to grow their own; more than 7,000 people have licenses to grow 4 mature cannabis plants and 12 seedlings. The proposed bill only allows a total of 12 cannabis plants and you are required to pay for a license and those fees are not yet determined.
  5. “Currently, licensed medical cannabis producers who also want to apply for a separate license under the adult recreational use program would have to maintain one-third of their inventory for medical cannabis.” So ⅔ of all cannabis products for a dual licensed producers goes to recreational use and they are required to maintain ⅓ for medical cannabis patients and all licensed place must sell to the recreational person and the medical cannabis program patient or caregiver. That is Less cannabis for the Medical Cannabis Patient and gives priority to the Recreational Consumer.  [Day 4: “Legal pot or not? Protecting NM’s Medical Marijuana Industry”](
  6. The Proposed Recreational Cannabis bill ignores the purpose of the Doctors on the states medical cannabis advisory board for the "cannabis control division" is created in the regulation and licensing department - essential killing the the states medical cannabis advisory board. This "cannabis control division" may be a need for Recreational Cannabis but the Medical Cannabis Program does not need to be any part of it. 
  7. If arrests for cannabis possession are a major social justice concern, the solution is decriminalizing possession, turning it into a violation equivalent to littering. But some policy groups pushing for recreational legalization don’t view decriminalization as an acceptable compromise. They want full legalization, making cannabis a state-regulated and -taxed drug like alcohol so that businesses can sell and profit and will do so even if it hurt the medical cannabis patient..The absence of proper patient representation and patient voices continues to be silenced in the debate for recreational cannabis. Legalization should be about Freedom and Good Health, not about how much we can tax a plant that has great Medical Value that equates to harm reduction.
  8. Opting in or out: Drug Policy Alliance used this same policy in California for recreational cannabis legalization and now almost 75% of cities and counties ban its sale; there 25% less products available than before under medical only, access is now more difficult in rural areas of the state.  While the majority of California voters supported Prop 64, the majority of cities and counties have yet to issue, or refuse to issue, licenses to cannabis businesses operating within their jurisdiction. The city of Denver (CO) has more cannabis licenses than the state of California. Take for example Washington state, before legalization was passed, there was close to 1500 Collectives which served as access points for medical cannabis. Once the Washington state legalization law was passed and the medical cannabis program merged with it, those access points for medical cannabis where cut down to less than 300. The Legislature’s own Legislative Council Service even points out that : “Drug Policy Alliance as a organization has taken a strong stand in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana for adults in New Mexico, so cannot be considered an unbiased source of information.” Stated in the Fiscal Impact Report for SM-105 by LCS (
  9. “Marijuana has to be tested at state-approved laboratories for potency and chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.” *The state of New Mexico does not have enough labs to test all the cannabis in a dual recreational and medical cannabis market, there are three testing labs approved by the Department of Health and one of the three labs is closing - leaving the state with only two test labs. Further the state is not even testing medical cannabis products as they should be as the State of New Mexico purchased equipment to enforce laboratory required testing in 2015. “To our knowledge, the State has not used this equipment to confirm the accuracy of tests of any products on the dispensary shelves.” And this was provided to the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee in October 2017 by Steep Hill Labs and the same legislators sponsoring this bill ignored these facts (
  10. "Emily Kaltenbach, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said legalization supporters in New Mexico have agreed to a blood THC level of impairment of 5 nanograms per milliliter – the standard adopted by several states as presumptive evidence of drugged driving”, as reported in the Albuquerque Journal about the legalization bill and then the same article now says, “An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that marijuana legalization supporters in New Mexico had agreed to a blood THC level of impairment. It has been corrected below.” (                                                              Either the way the damage of that quote has been done and now we have a DUI bill to deal with and it has what DPA said as reported by the ABQ Journal to: "for the active compound in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, five nanograms per milliliter of blood;” (

Throughout the course of the Martinez administration, the former Governor had a ‘do nothing’ approach to the state’s medical cannabis program which in itself has been very destructive to it over the years. As the program grew in size with more and more people using medical cannabis nothing has been done to all for the a fundamental aspect of the law to maintain itself - “adequate supply”. The Lynn & Erin Compassionate Use Act and all the New Mexicans who depend on the medicine it provides, have been severely neglected by the state over the last several years. The medical cannabis program has over 70,000 New Mexicans in it and the program producers grow 14,500 cannabis plants thus there is less than one third of a plant per person in the program which is not “Adequate Supply”.

Today the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has over 70,000 registered participants with over 75 dispensaries operated by 35 licensed non-profit producers (LNPP’s) now growing 14,550 cannabis plants. The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created in 2007, as the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, under chapter 210 Senate Bill 523. New Mexico’s medical cannabis history started in 1978, after public hearings the legislature enacted H.B. 329, the nation’s first law recognizing the medical value of cannabis…the first law.

“Section 2. PURPOSE OF ACT.—The purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.”

In 2019 during the Legislative 60 day Regular Session Please : Pass a bill to Fix & Expand the states Neglected Medical Cannabis Program, Pass a bill Allowing Safe Access to Medical Cannabis at Schools, Enable Veterinary Doctors access to the Medical Cannabis Program, Pass Decriminalization of Cannabis for the State, Pass Medical Cannabis Research for UNM and get the Industrial Hemp program going with medical hemp research at NMSU for the states medical cannabis program.

The voice of the People should Always come first over party politics and political party platforms.

Form follows Function and Policy makers in New Mexico need to stop using the debate surrounding legalization of cannabis for recreational use to obscure the science and policy regarding the harm reduction achievements of decriminalizing cannabis and the medical use of cannabis. In today’s era of how legalization, cannabis taxation and financial profits of cannabis has spread, the distinction matters and this behoves policy makers to follow a process that achieves the greatest harm reduction.

Please Find your New Mexico State Legislator and Please tell them to Protect Medical Cannabis Patient Rights by Voting NO for on the Cannabis Regulation Act of 2019.

Resources for Policy Makers, Medical Professionals & Researchers:
Utilizing Americans For Safe Access (ASA) eleven years of experience in implementing medical cannabis laws and our “Legislating Compassion” and “Regulating Compassion” policy tools, ASA staff offer patient advocates and policy makers legislative and regulatory analysis, amendments for legislation and regulations, strategy advice, campaign development and support, and targeted lobbying materials.


Resources and Sources:
‘Legal marijuana made big promises on racial equity — and fell short’
“Time is really up on selling your business dream as a social justice movement,” said the president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association. | NBC News | Dec. 31, 2018

‘Will Recreational Use of Cannabis Impact Medical Use?’ | National Pain Report | 01.07.2019 | Link:

‘1st year of recreational marijuana sales in California impacted by growing black market’

‘Black Market Marijuana Is a Big Problem, and This New Survey Proves It’
California's cannabis market is leading by example. However, it's not a good example.

‘Oregon’s Ganja Glut Sends Pot Growers To Black Market’
“We oversaturated the market on every level." | Daily Beast | 01.05.19

Friday, January 25, 2019

‘Medicine in Marijuana’, A New Documentary By Tijeras Films Airs On KNME-TV

A new documentary on medical cannabis by a Corrales (NM) filmmaker and physician Ben Daitz will air on KNME-TV, Channel 5 (check your local listing), on Friday, February 1 at 8:30 p.m. The 30-minute film “The Medicine in Marijuana” was produced last year in partnership with Ned Judge by Tijeras Films.

Amid the ongoing, spirited community debate about production of medical cannabis here in New Mexico, Daitz gave an interview to Corrales Comment on August 10, 2017 in which he argued for research on cannabis treatments, dosages and outcomes - here's what he had to say.

He is a professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, specializing in treatment for chronic pain.

“I learned about this issue because of my practice and my interactions with patients. That made me want to learn a little bit more about what I should be doing.

“I think I can safely said that physicians don’t know a whole lot about it,” Daitz reported. “There has been very, very little written in the medical literature about how to talk to patients and what to recommend. There are major knowledge gaps.

“There is also limited communication between patients and their physicians. As an example, I saw two patients today who just got their cannabis cards. But just because of scheduling, I’m not going to see them again for another four or five months.

“I know enough to say, ‘Mrs. Jones, for this particular condition and you’ve got chronic pain, a preparation that’s higher in CBD is probably a reasonable thing to look for’” at a cannabis dispensary.

CBD (cannabiniol) is one of three primary active ingredients in cannabis, particularly effective for epilepsy and seizures. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound that produces the “high” sensation. CBN (cannabinol) is considered oxidized THC.

“What Israeli researchers have found is that a balanced mix between CBD and THC seems to work best for lots of conditions,” Daitz pointed out. “So, not eliminating the THC, but constructing a balance is best. But that’s about the only advice I, or most physicians, can give.

The Medicine in Marijuana Trailer

“So if Mrs. Jones comes back in to see me in four or five months, I might say ‘Well, how is it working?’ They don’t remember the name of the cannabis product they were taking, or they might say, ‘Well, I was taking Purple Haze or Acapulco Gold but I tried brownies and something else.’ So, there’s not a consistent dosage format.

“Physicians need to know that their patients are using cannabis, and want to see if there are potential interactions between cannabis and other medications. But there’s not a clear system for doing that.

“And there’s no communication between physicians and dispensers, as there would be between a physician and a pharmacist.”

Daitz said while that lack of communication is problematic, it probably is not dangerous. “The other nice thing about cannabis is that there has never been an overdose.”

On the other hand, he said, “If you’re smoking cannabis, you’re taking alcohol, you’re taking a sedative or an anti-anxiety drug —a whole bunch of other stuff— cannabis can certainly contribute to the over all mix and can be potentially dangerous.

“And then there are the other public health issues. What do we know about cannabis and driving? Well, in the states that have studied it, there has been no noticeable increase in traffic accidents, and certainly not to the degree that we see with alcohol.”

While N.M. physicians continue to certify that thousands of New Mexicans might benefit from taking medical cannabis, they have little or no idea what strains of the drug their patients are using, dosages taken, and what benefits or adverse reactions are occurring.

Daitz estimates that around 70,000 New Mexico patients are using medical cannabis cards.

Nationwide more than two million people in 33 states and the District of Columbia are using medical cannabis, Daitz said, “but those people are getting their information primarily from the people who work at the dispensaries, not physicians.”

But at least one outcome seems conclusive, he said: cannabis use tends to reduce use of opiates.

“One of the docs that I talked to has done a study of his patient population and has found there is a significant decrease in opioid use among people who use cannabis, so it’s a reasonable thing to start looking critically at whether that is substantiated.

“Already there are six states that have looked at medical cannabis studies and found that opiate use has gone down, at least partly attributable to the fact that people are able to use cannabis.

“That’s a public health issue that we really need to study more.”

Daitz said the N.M. Department of Health has medical data from about 60,000 records of patients and “no one’s looking at the research.

“We’ve got the capacity to scrub all of those records of all identifying information other than the fact that you’re male or female, you have this condition and you’re using cannabis.

“With very little effort, we would be able to do significant research, but we’re being prohibited to do that.”

He said a long tradition exists for the university, the State of New Mexico and the Department of Health cooperating on health issues, such as AIDS and hantavirus. “The fact that the medical school would like to study cannabis and we’re being prohibited from cooperating with the Department of Health to do that seems to be to be a real mistake.”

This year, 55 million Americans will spend about 55 billion dollars on the medicine in marijuana. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, they will use it for a myriad of medical conditions. They will depend on so-called bud-tenders to give them anecdotal advice about the frequency and dosage of cannabis, a plant with over 400 different chemical molecules, and still classified as a schedule 1 drug, having no medical use and a high potential for abuse.

It’s a cannabis conundrum---a messy mix of medicine, policy and politics, and, in the interest of the public’s health, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was tasked with looking at the science--- the evidence for the use of marijuana as medicine. The NAS’s 2017 report is the best information we have about what we know, and what we don’t.

“The Medicine in Marijuana” takes it from there. Chronic pain, cancer, PTSD, and epilepsy are the most common conditions for which people use medical marijuana, and we tell their stories, and those of the practitioners and researchers involved in their care: an infant with unremitting seizures; a man with an inoperable cancer; a woman with chronic pain; a veteran of 5 tours of duty with PTSD.

Across centuries and cultures, people have told stories about the healing powers of cannabis, but the plural of anecdote is not evidence. Now, the science is catching up with the stories, and The Medicine in Marijuana tells it like it is.

Ben Daitz is a physician, filmmaker, and writer. Ben’s films have been screened and honored by PBS, American Public Television, and numerous festivals. A Recent documentary, “The Sun Never Sets”, about the Rio Grande Sun, one of the best small-town newspapers in the country, was screened at The Newseum. Ben’s novel, “Delivery”, was named to the Best of the Southwest. He has been a contributing writer for the New York Times, The Atlantic, Undark, and Eclectica.

Ned Judge is a veteran writer; producer and director. Ned's work for NBC, PBS. Discovery, National Geographic and Turner Broadcasting, among others, has won numerous accolades, including two Emmys and a prestigious Columbia duPont Award. He has made many documentaries including for "Understanding," a Learning Channel science series. Topics included evolution, skyscrapers, time and future-warfare. Ned most recently produced and directed for PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.

The Tijeras Institute is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt educational film company. We’ve made many award winning films for public television, educational institutions and organizations.

Ned Judge and Ben Daitz at work on The Medicine in Marijuana

Premieres 2/1/2019, Friday 8pm on New Mexico PBS

Thursday, January 24, 2019

South Carolina Attorney General Violates State Rules of Professional Conduct With False Cannabis Statement

Columbia, SC - On January 23rd 2019 at the state capital building, the SC Attorney General Alan Wilson publicly stated that, “marijuana is the most dangerous drug in America.” As reported by the Charleston City Paper, the AG was joined by a group of people in lab coats and the state's top cops stood at a the press conference in the Statehouse and rattled off a bunch of words nobody's ever used to talk about when using medical cannabis in an attempt to scare the other politicians in the building into voting against bipartisan legislation that would legalize medical cannabis.

What is truly most dangerous for the people of South Carolina are those people in State Government, like AG Wilson, who lie about the scientific and medical facts about cannabis for therapeutic uses.

Here are those 16 terms, many of them literally laughable, so just take a seat.
They use words like “stoned, high, wasted, baked, fried, cooked, chonged, cheeched, dope-faced, blazed, blitzed, blunted, blasted, danked, stupid, wrecked,” and that’s only half the words they used.

That statement made by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is in direct violation of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers. Those rules of professional conduct clearly state a lawyer in SC cannot knowling present false evidence, just as AG Wilson has done in that false statement.

Then there is the SC Medical Association, who in 2019, is not even on the same page as the American Medical Association was in 1937; "The American Medical Association has no objection to any reasonable regulation of the medicinal use of cannabis and its preparations and derivatives. It does pretest, however, against being called upon to pay a special tax, to use special order forms in order to procure the drug, to keep special records concerning its professional use and to make special returns to the Treasury Department officials, as a condition precedent to the use of cannabis in the practice of medicine." - Wm. C. Woodward, Legislative Counsel - 11:37 AM Monday, July 12, 1937

The false statement made by South Carolina AG Alan Wilson is further in direct conflict with a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released Dec. 2018 which list the most Dangerous Drugs in America and they are all legal and come in prescription form. According to the CDC, the top 10 most dangerous drugs in american are drugs that belonged to three drug classes:
• Opioids: fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, methadone,
morphine, and oxycodone
• Benzodiazepines: alprazolam and diazepam
• Stimulants: cocaine and methamphetamine

The drugs that ranked 11–15 varied from year to year and included such drugs as diphenhydramine, citalopram, acetaminophen, carisoprodol, tramadol, oxymorphone, amitriptyline, clonazepam, gabapentin, and amphetamine.

It is also a fact and well known in the medical professional community that, states with comprehensive medical cannabis programs reduce the use of the drugs that are truly the most dangerous in America listed in the December 2018 CDC Report.

Medical Cannabis has enabled many Advancements in Science, that clearly shows the statement made by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson is a lie and a pathetic one at that.

That false statement made by SC Attorney General Wilson even contradicts the Nov. 2018 report the DEA released called, "2018 National Drug Threat Assessment". And well surprise surprise cannabis is not mentioned at all saying: 
"Controlled prescription drugs remain responsible for the largest number of overdose deaths of any illicit drug class since 2001. These drugs are the second most commonly abused substance. Traffickers are now disguising other opioids as controlled prescription drugs to gain access to this market."

South Carolina Attorney General Wilson should take field trip with his friends in white lab coats and schedule a visit with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, it’s just a short flight from South Carolina to Washington D.C. There at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, AG Wilson will find US Patent 6630507: Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants.

The U.S. Patent Office issued Patent 6630507 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services filed on 2/2/2001. U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507 covers the potential use of non-psychoactive cannabinoids — chemical compounds found within the plant species cannabis sativa — to protect the brain from damage or degeneration caused by certain diseases, such as cirrhosis. U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507 was granted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2003.

Since one part of the government applied for the patent of medical cannabis, and another part of the government approved that patent, it's only logical to conclude that the federal government knows that cannabis does indeed have valid medical properties.

What have other Attorney General’s said about cannabis; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in the interview released as part of Frontline’s “Chasing Heroin” documentary said,
“I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled. You know, we treat marijuana in the same way that we treat heroin now, and that clearly is not appropriate. So at a minimum, I think Congress needs to do that. Then I think we need to look at what happens in Colorado and what happens in Washington”.

What are the duties and responsibilities of the state attorney general?
Attorney general duties include providing consumer protections from fraud, scams and dangerous products, people and situations, and protection of the state's resources.

And it is very hard to do all those things, especially protections from fraud, when a State Attorney General establishes himself as dishonest and lacking in any integrity, as the SC Attorney General has done in making that false statement and violating the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers.

Online Contact Form for submitting complaints to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office about the SC AG.
Office Phone: 1-803-734-3970
Mailing Address:
The Honorable Alan Wilson
P.O. Box 11549
Columbia, S.C. 29211

Office Location:
Rembert Dennis Building
1000 Assembly Street, Room 519
Columbia, S.C. 29201

SOUTH CAROLINA State Ethics Commission

South Carolinians deserve safe and legal access to medical cannabis!

In the face of the opioid epidemic, we have one simple option that is making sense for over half of the states in our union.

Let’s add South Carolina to the ever growing list of states that successfully address the opioid epidemic in a safe and responsible manner. Let’s also allow medical access for the spectrum of disorders that medical cannabis is demonstrated to treat.

Ask your lawmakers to support the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (S 212/ H 3521)!

Click Here to Advocate or Use the link below:

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Americans For Safe Access Activist Newsletter - January 2019

ASA Activist Newsletter

In the January 2019 Issue - The Year in Review

  • Federal Patient Protections included in 2018, Lapse in Shutdown
  • VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act first out of committee since 1970
  • WHO Takes Rescheduling Steps with Input from ASA and FDA 
  • FDA Approves First Medicine Derived from Cannabis
  • After ASA Pressure, DEA Removes Online Lies
  • ASA Report on States Finds Improvement, EPNL Campaign Yields Changes 
  • Missouri Passes Medical Cannabis Amendment
  • Oklahoma Voters Approve Robust Medical Cannabis Program
  • Utah Adds Medical Cannabis by Initiative and Legislation
  • Pennsylvania and Virginia Expand Safe Access
  • ACTION ALERT: Contact Your Congressional Reps Today!

ASA in 2018: Protecting Patients, Expanding Access, Creating AlliancesASA Year in Review

For Americans for Safe Access, 2018 was a year of solidifying gains, pushing boundaries and finding allies for medical cannabis patients.
In the beginning of 2018, patients faced considerable uncertainty. The attorney general removed boundaries on medical cannabis prosecution put in place by the Obama administration, and the House of Representatives was blocked from voting on the funding amendment that had prevented federal interference in state programs since 2014.
Steph Sherer at the U.S. CapitolDespite that, lobbying by patient advocates helped get the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment included in the 2018 omnibus spending bill, and the representative responsible for blocking it in the House has now been voted out of office. Even better, the Appropriations Committee included the protective language in the actual appropriations bill for 2019, so it would not have to be added by amendment.
ASA efforts to reform Veterans Administration policy resulted in the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018, which ASA successfully lobbied to expand research opportunities and prevent the exclusion of victims of the War on Drugs. This piece of legislation became the first cannabis bill to pass out of committee since 1970.
Confronting the opioid crisis head on, ASA redoubled efforts to make sure that people living with pain have access to medical cannabis. ASA’s report, Medical Cannabis as a Tool to Combat Pain and the Opioid Crisis: A Blueprint for State Policy, was distributed at the 2018 National Conference of State Legislatures, and ASA recommendations were adopted by New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. ASA expertise has influenced program expansions in states such as Virginia. ASA staff have been deeply involved in pushing implementation of Guam’s medical cannabis program, at the request of local advocates.
ASA forged new alliances and strategic partnerships. Work with international standards and scientific research organizations has helped advance common benchmarks for testing and safety. New connections with other patient groups such as Disabled American Veterans, The American Legion, The Abilities Expo, The National Pain Foundation, and The Michael J Fox Foundation has helped reach patients who might not be aware that medical cannabis could help.

Federal Protections for Medical Cannabis Included in 2018, Lapse in Shutdown

In 2018, federal protections for state medical cannabis programs and the individuals who participate in them were again extended through an annual appropriations amendment. After years of citizen lobbying by ASA and other patient advocates, the amendment was first included in the 2014 appropriations bill that funds the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The current government shutdown over the federal budget means a lapse in the restriction that prevents the DOJ from spending any funds interfering with state programs. Federal prosecutions of state-compliant individuals is at the discretion of each of the U.S. Attorney's offices. The amendment language has been included in the continuing resolutions offered that would reopen the government extending the 2018 funding bill to a future date.

VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act first out of committee since 1970

In 2018, ASA also helped break a 48-year Congressional impasse, as the first piece of actual legislation on cannabis passed out of a committee. The VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018, which would have tasked the Veterans Health Administration with investigating medical use, was passed out of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs on a unanimous vote. It was not enacted, but the new congress has already seen the introduction of bipartisan bills to de-schedule cannabis and otherwise address the conflict between federal prohibition and state cannabis laws.

U.S. Certification Program Joins Forces with International Standards Group

The cannabis industry will benefit from a new partnership between researchers and a that will produce guidance for everything from cannabis cultivation to cosmetics.

The global standards organization American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) is partnering with researchers at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI). ICCI, located in the Czech Republic and cofounded by ASA, is the first European partner for ASTM International’s cannabis committee, which includes businesses, laboratories, associations, and governments.

World Health Organization Takes First Steps to Reschedule Cannabis

After testimony and evidence presented by ASA and other members of the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC), the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) notified the United Nations that cannabidiol (CBD) is so safe it does not need legal controls.
The WHO also notified the UN that the experts found evidence that cannabis, THC, and extracts do not fit the current, highly restrictive classification, so they conducted a “critical review” of those in November, the first every done by the WHO or the UN. The results of that review have been withheld.
ASA and IMCPC submitted four reports on cannabis and its components to the WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD). In response to a request from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last April, ASA also submitted comments on the medical efficacy and safety of cannabis in support of the WHO review of cannabis. Patient advocacy groups from Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, France, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United States all recommended changes in the international scheduling of cannabis and medical products made from it.
More Information
Response to Pre-review: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol
Response to Pre-review: Extracts and tinctures of cannabis
Response to Critical Review: Cannabidiol
Response to Pre-review: Cannabis plant and resin

FDA Approves First Medicine Derived from Cannabis

In a milestone decision, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September, 2018 approved for the first time a medication derived from the cannabis plant. Epidiolex, an oral solution of cannabidiol (CBD) developed by GW Pharmaceuticals, has been approved for the treatment of two rare seizure disorders, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. It is the first FDA-approved treatment for Dravet syndrome.
FDA logo
In late September, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) placed Epidiolex in Schedule V, the least restrictive category. The FDA noted in its recommendation to the DEA that CBD products “do not have a significant potential for abuse and could be removed from the CSA.” Cannabis and its constituents, including CBD, remain illegal under federal law as Schedule I substances.
FDA-approved medications can be prescribed by doctors, purchased in pharmacies, and typically covered by insurance. Epidiolex costs approximately $2,750 per month.

After ASA Pressure, DEA Removes Online Lies

Following a formal request from ASA and an online petition that surpassed 100,000 signatures, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) early last year removed misinformation about the health effects of medical cannabis from its website. The petition, filed with pro bono legal assistance from the law firm Orrick, was ostensibly denied in a letter dated January 26th, but the DEA removed 23 of the 25 factual inaccuracies ASA challenged and corrected the other two. For years, the DEA has published incomplete and inaccurate information about the health effects of medical cannabis. ASA’s petition noted that the DEA has directly contradicted much of this misinformation in recent public statements. ASA argued that the information required correction because Congress relies on the DEA for tools to make informed decisions about public health.

New State Programs and Expanded Access for Medical Cannabis 

Improvements in state medical cannabis programs were identified in ASA’s fourth annual report, released at the start of 2018. The comprehensive report, Medical Marijuana Access in the United States: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws, graded existing state laws and regulations and laws based on such factors as how easily patients can navigate the program, what type of access to medicine is available and what civil protections for patients are provided, as well as consumer safety and the overall functionality of the system. Many states showed improvements from previous years, with seven states scoring a “B+” -- more than double the number from the year. State developments in 2018 will be included in the next annual report, due out next month, but there were several significant developments, including the new and improved programs in Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah, Pennsylvania and Virginia described below:

Missouri Voters Add Medical Cannabis to Constitution

In Missouri three medical cannabis initiatives were on the ballot, with Amendment 2 winning out with 65.5%. The constitutional amendment allows patients to register as of July 4. Patients will be allowed up to four ounces. Qualifying conditions are broadly defined and up to 192 dispensaries are to be licensed throughout Missouri. State officials say the soonest medical cannabis dispensaries will be serving patients is January 2020. Because the new law is a constitutional amendment, any changes to it would need to pass in the Missouri legislature then be put to a public vote.

Oklahoma Voters Enact Robust Medical Cannabis Program

Oklahoma flagIn a June primary election, 57% of Oklahoma voters approved a medical cannabis initiative establishing one of the most robust safe access programs in the U.S. The initiative attracted nearly 41,000 more votes than all primary candidates for governor combined. Implementation has been rapid. Six months since passage, there are more than 22,000 registered patients and 785 licensed dispensaries. The initiative reflects a number of patient-focused principals from ASA’s model legislation, including strong civil protections, reasonable possession amounts, and a right to personal cultivation.  

Utah Medical Cannabis Initiative Passes, Gets Replaced by Bill

Utah voters passed a medical cannabis initiative Proposition 2 with nearly 53% of the vote. But Utah state law allows citizen initiatives to be overridden by the legislature, and before Proposition 2 could go into effect, state lawmakers replaced it with a more restrictive alternative bill. The Utah Medical Cannabis Act was touted as a “compromise bill” but included limited input from patient advocates. The action was part of a special session called by the governor. The new law creates a complex distribution system with a state-run “central fill pharmacy” and 10-15 cultivators. The legislation removed most autoimmune diseases from the list of qualifying conditions, except for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Patient registrations will be valid for just 30 days, then subject to renewal every six months.

Pennsylvania Expands Qualifying Products and Conditions

PA flagIn line with ASA recommendations, Pennsylvania lawmakers last year added four new medical conditions and approved the use of whole-plant cannabis products that can be vaporized. Access to whole-plant cannabis should lower costs for patients, who were limited to more expensive highly processed forms. Added to qualifying conditions are spasticity, cancer remission therapy, neurodegenerative disorders, and opioid addiction therapy. ASA’s End Pain, Not Lives campaign has been working to persuade policy makers to make cannabis available as an alternative to opioid medications.

Virginia Advocates Help Pave Way to Program Expansion

VA flagThe Virginia House of Delegates and Senate unanimously passed bills last February to expand the commonwealth’s restrictive medical cannabis law. The bills expand what was a very restrictive law to any condition a patient’s physician approves.  The change was the result of tireless lobbying by Virginia patient advocates, including ASA staff who live in the state. Those efforts resulted in not a single lawmaker opposing the bills either in committee or floor votes.

Upcoming ASA Events

End Pain, Not Lives Fundraiser/Networking Event – January 25, 2019

On January 25, please join ASA for a fundraiser and networking event for the “End Pain, Not Lives” national campaign to raise awareness about alternatives to opioids. Everyone is welcome. Spread the word by sharing the link on social media and inviting friends to attend the event. Space is limited, so buy your tickets soon to secure a spot. If you cannot attend in person, but still want to give, please choose the donate-only ticket option. A list of donor names will be shown at the event. For sponsorship information, please contact

Unity 2019 Conference  – March 18-20, 2019

Early Bird Registration is still open for ASA’s 2019 National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference. The 7th annual conference will be held next year in Washington, D.C. from March 18-20. The theme for 2019 is “The Price of Being a Medical Cannabis Patient," with panels on the financial and social barriers patients face. If you are interested in helping sponsor the conference, please visit our sponsorship page or contact ASA via email at to help support Unity 2019. To register and find out more, go to

ACTION ALERT: Contact Your Congressional Reps Today

A new Congress means you may have new congressional representatives working in Washington, DC. Do you know where your Senators and Representative stand on medical cannabis? What are they going to do to protect medical cannabis? Bipartisan bills to support research and safe access are already being introduced. Use ASA's easy online tool to ask them to support safe access today!

Friday, January 18, 2019

Call To Action: End the Discrimination. Allow Medical Cannabis in Schools.

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Today, Friday January 18th 2019, the New Mexico State Legislature has taken the day off in it’s limited 60-Day Session. Today there are also kids who can not go to school, despite how much they want to go to school.

We have kids facing discrimination at the hands of public school administrators in New Mexico because they are medical cannabis patients using a life saving medicine. A bill filed for the 2019 legislative session would allow students, who are participants in the state’s medical cannabis program, to access the medicine while at school.

Republican Senator Candace Gould authored Senate Bill 204, Titled ‘Medical Marijuana in Schools’. Senator Gould told KOB 4 that, the bill attempts to balance protecting schools and protecting rights of New Mexican families.

This legislation should be a priority and our lawmakers should give it the priority designation this legislation deserves. The Governor and the leadership in the Legislature have known for over 6 months and have continued to allow this discrimination to happen to these students.

The Governor’s Office can end this discrimination today, that these kids are facing at the hands of New Mexico Public School Administrators with a Executive Order. Following the filing of the legislation, Safe Access New Mexico and parents of the student who are pediatric patients did put several requests into the Governor's Office to do a Executive Order or to fast track this in the legislature and they reached out to Lt. Governor Howie Morales, as well.

Anthony, Paloma and all the kids/students this affects deserve to be able to get back to school as soon as possible. It’s just like Governor Lujan Grisham said about New Mexico state government in her first inaugural address on January 1st 2019; “There is no more time to lose.” and that “We will do things the right way again”.

Lindsay and Paloma Credit: ABQ Journal         Tisha and Anthony Credit: KOB 4 

The Governor’s Office and the Lt. Governor’s Office have yet to respond to Ms. Brick and her meeting request nor have they responded to Safe Access New Mexico.

These kids are losing time, time they will not get back, while waiting for the State to end this discrimination.

California, New York, Virginia and Washington all have joined New Mexico in having active 2019 Legislation for Allowing Safe Access to Medical Cannabis in School.

Currently there are seven other states and one capital city with comprehensive medical cannabis programs that allow medical cannabis in schools: Oklahoma City and these states; New Jersey, Maine, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois.

All have successfully set forth rules and regulations for allowing safe access to medical cannabis while attending public schools.

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.

Here is what You can do to help advocate for the passage of this Legislation:
Please do a nice Email and/or Write a letter, and Call your New Mexico Legislators for Senate Bill 204, Titled ‘Medical Marijuana in Schools’, asking for support and quick legislative action on it. 

Link Here:

Please do a nice Email and/or Write a letter, and Call the Leadership in the Legislature and ask the Speaker of the House (Mr. Brian Egolf) and President Pro Tempore of the Senate (Ms. Mary Kay Papen) for quick legislative action on Senate Bill 204, Titled ‘Medical Marijuana in Schools’.
Link Leadership Here:

Send the Governor an Email on the Governor’s Website Contact Form and place a Phone Call asking for Governor Lujan Grisham to do a Executive Order and for quick legislative action on Senate Bill 204, Titled ‘Medical Marijuana in Schools’.
Governor’s Office Phone: (505) 476-2200
Link Here:

Call Lt. Governor Howie Morales’ Office and ask him to support doing a Executive Order and/or quick legislative action on Senate Bill 204, Titled ‘Medical Marijuana in Schools’: (505) 476-2250

“Section 2. PURPOSE OF ACT.—The purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.”

These courageous mothers united at the Roundhouse, fearlessly advocating for patients’ rights and safe access for the beneficial use of medical cannabis in schools on October 25th 2018. Now we, the medical cannabis community and advocates need to Unite for them in advocating for the support and passage of this new law!

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