Thursday, February 21, 2019

Multi Year Medical Cannabis Card Certification Proposed in New Mexico



Senate Bill 404, Three (3) Year Medical Cannabis Certification and Senate Bill 406, Medical Cannabis Changes, both propose a multi year medical cannabis card certifications.

Two medical cannabis card providers spoke out against this citing nothing less than misinformation and since have been spreading additional misinformation in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patient Community, making one claim that this will increase the cost of medical cannabis cards. Not true.

Remember both who spoke in opposition have a business that charges you for something that is for FREE, New Mexico has no fee to be in the medical cannabis program, nor do these business accept health insurance for the cost of the medical visit and medical services. Providers who have come to the Verde's Foundations New Mexico Medical Cannabis Conference in recent years and spoke about medical cannabis have said how, as Doctor's, they accept health insurance. 

Also remember the state of New Mexico has no requirement for continuing medical education (CME) accredited courses about medical cannabis for any person operating a business doing medical cannabis card services.

Talking to your doctor about medical cannabis is a lot easier than most people realize.

Be forthright. There is nothing wrong or illegal about discussing medical cannabis with your doctor. Federal courts have ruled that the First Amendment protects doctors in discussing medical cannabis and recommending it to their patients. Doctors are accustomed to patients bringing ideas to them about treatment options and preferences, and cannabis therapeutics should be no different.

As more states have started to go to a multi year medical cannabis card, more and more primary care providers have been signing and recommending medical cannabis in those programs. (Pick up the phone and call providers in others states and they will tell you this and how many of them accept health insurance too!) 
People are spreading misinformation about this to protect a financial interest.

The New Mexico Medical Board also spoke in opposition of allowing multi year medical cannabis cards. I have reached out to the state’s medical board and not one board member on the state’s medical board has taken any continuing medical education (CME) accredited courses about medical cannabis. The state’s own Medical Board members are not properly educated about the medical use of cannabis. They oppose this because they do not understand medical cannabis. And the same is true with the State Nursing Board.

Board Members on both the New Mexico Medical Board and the New Mexico Board of Nursing have failed to attend any Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to hear from the Doctors who advise the Department of Health about the Medical Cannabis Program.

Medical Cannabis Program Director, Kenny Vigil has said that, “In five years, no patient has been denied a card.” (ABQ Journal- “Legal Pot or Not” Series)

At the April 2017 Medical Cannabis Advisory Hearing Mr. Vigil said, in his Program Report, that over 2200 different providers have signed off on patient applications in recommending medical cannabis. Plenty of doctors will recommend and take your health insurance.


Medical Cannabis Programs Allowing Multi Year Medical Cannabis Cards
Illinois allows multi year medical cannabis cards in 1, 2 or 3 year time frames. Has led to more Primary Care Doctors recommending cannabis.
http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/medical-cannabis/extending-your-registry-card


Maryland allows multi year medical cannabis cards, 3 yr. Providers Charges $45-65 and has led to more Primary Care doctors recommending medical cannabis.
https://mmcc.maryland.gov/Pages/home.aspx


Michigan Medical Cannabis Program has 2 yr cards. Providers Charge $50
https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_79571_79575---,00.html


US Virgin Island Medical Cannabis Program has multi year card, at practitioners discretion.
https://mjbizdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Medical-Cannabis-Patient-Care-Act-US-Virgin-Islands.pdf


Americans For Safe Access Model Legislation Provides For Multi Year Cards
ASA is 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. ASA works to overcome political, social and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, research, grassroots empowerment, advocacy and services for patients, governments, medical professionals, and medical cannabis providers.
https://american-safe-access.s3.amazonaws.com/sos2018/2018_model_legislation.pdf


Article: Talking To Your Doctor About Medical Cannabis

Facts About Medical Conditions Qualifying For The Medical Cannabis Program.
First and foremost, participation in the state’s medical cannabis program is FREE. The state does not charge a fee to apply to be in the medical cannabis program. Only certain business have decide to step in as a middle-man to charge people a fee for something that is FREE. And most of those same places are also cash only businesses. The medical professionals as these card certifying business that charge a fee should be help these patient talk to their primary physician about medical cannabis, not charging them every year.

Medical Cannabis Program Director, Kenny Vigil has said that, “In five years, no patient has been denied a card.” (ABQ Journal- “Legal Pot or Not” Series)

At the April 2017 Medical Cannabis Advisory Hearing Mr. Vigil said, in his Program Report, that over 2200 different providers have signed off on patient applications in recommending medical cannabis.

Patients in New Mexico diagnosed with one or more of the following medical conditions qualify into the program and are allowed legal protection under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act:

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Cancer : Chronic disease, can be treated, & average treatment plan length 5 years or more.

Crohn’s Disease : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: Lasting several years or lifelong.

Epilepsy : Is a chronic neurological disorder. Can't be cured, but treatment does help.

Glaucoma : Chronic, can't be cured, but treatment does help.

Hepatitis C : Chronic, but treatment does help.

HIV/AIDS : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Huntington’s Disease : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Hospice Care :Palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms.

Inclusion Body Myositis : Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis Can't be cured, treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Multiple Sclerosis Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord :No cure, treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Painful peripheral neuropathy :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Parkinson’s disease :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Severe Chronic Pain :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Severe Anorexia/Cachexia :Often a sign of disease, such as cancer, AIDS, heart failure, or advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic but treatment does help.

Spasmodic Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia) :Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

Ulcerative Colitis: Can't be cured, but treatment does help. Chronic: lifelong.

All of these types of debilitating medical conditions have some common medical facts; treatment plan for 5 years if not lifelong, most all have no cure, all of them are chronic health conditions, and sadly some take a person’s life. They all also require a medical treatment plan with several visits to more than one medical practitioner throughout the course of a year. Virtually all slowly progressive diseases are also chronic diseases in terms of time course; many of these are also referred to as degenerative diseases but Not all chronic diseases are progressive…

Progressive disease or progressive illness is a disease or physical ailment whose course in most cases is the worsening, growth, or spread of the disease. This may happen until death, serious debility, or organ failure occurs. Some progressive diseases can be halted and reversed by treatment.


Image Credit: ABQ Journal

The physician or practitioner that you receive your recommendation from should be a practiced, and licensed with medical and research experience (preferably cannabis related). While these doctors cannot “prescribe” cannabis, they can “certify” or “recommend” patients use medical cannabis that meets the criteria to be a qualifying patient.

Although it is easy to walk into a green, 4:20 themed “clinic” and pay a cheap price for a evaluation, there are some factors you should consider before doing so. 

If you are a patient looking to get the maximum benefit from cannabis as a medicine, the relationship between yourself and your medical cannabis doctor should be respected as much as in any other medical circumstance. For this reason, Americans For Safe Access advise staying away from these types of places many call, “bargain clinics.” Make sure there are no extra fees associated with obtaining ID cards, or extra copies of the letter of recommendation. Patients should protect themselves from clinics that treat them “strictly as a business.”



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