Friday, February 22, 2019

New Mexico Bills to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Take Center Stage at the Roundhouse on Saturday, February 23 2019


There are now two (2) different versions of the Cannabis Regulation Act and both are bad policy for the medical cannabis program and both are a bad policy approach for Recreational Cannabis in New Mexico. Both versions of the Cannabis Regulation Act are scheduled for Committee hearings in the Roundhouse on Saturday at 9 AM and 2 PM.

Both versions of the Cannabis Regulation Act, to Legalize Recreational Cannabis, if passed into law would devastate New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program and would enable a vast illicit black market for cannabis across the state.

The Cannabis Regulation Acts are bad policy for medical cannabis and it is bad policy for New Mexico. New Mexico lawmakers and Drug Policy Alliance are using the medical cannabis program as a gateway to recreational cannabis taxation and isolation.

The Cannabis Regulation Acts would hijack and take away the current infrastructure from the medical cannabis program, making medical cannabis producers dual licensed to be a recreational producer. That same section of the bill also requires that 1/3 of cannabis stock is for medical patients and 2/3 of cannabis stock is for recreational. The recreational consumers would be given more stock of cannabis available to buy than the medical cannabis patient treating a debilitating health condition.


Scheduled for House Judiciary Committee on 2/23/2019
House Bill 356, Cannabis Regulation Act, Introduced on January 24, 2019 and Sponsored by Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Representatives: Javier Martínez, Antonio "Moe" Maestas, Daymon Ely, Deborah A. Armstrong, and Angelica Rubio. HB-356 is scheduled for the House Judiciary Committee Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 9:00 A.M. – House Chambers

Scheduled for Senate Public Affairs Committee on 2/23/2019
Senate Bill 577, Cannabis Regulation Act, Introduced on February 14th 2019 and Sponsored by 3 Republican Senators Cliff R. Pirtle, Mark Moores, Craig Brandt and by 3 Democratic Senators Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Jacob Candelaria, and John M. Sapien. SB-577 is scheduled for the Senate Public Affairs Committee Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 2:00 p.m. - Room 321


Medical cannabis patients in New Mexico deserve safe access to their medicine at schools before the state legalizes recreational cannabis for other people to have party with.

Medical cannabis patients in New Mexico deserve safe access to medical cannabis in hospitals and medical facilities, like little kids going through the horrors of cancer treatment at UNM, before the state legalizes recreational cannabis use.

Medical cannabis patients in New Mexico deserve safe access to medical cannabis in hospice care facilities and senior retirement communities before the state legalizes cannabis for other people to have fun with.

Our Military Veterans and First Responders deserve safe and equal access to medical cannabis before the state legalizes recreational cannabis for other people to have party with.

Any state educational institution of higher learning should have safe access to research medical cannabis and the state’s medical cannabis program before legalization ruins that potential research.

All doctors and prescribing medical professionals in the State of New Mexico should have safe access to recommend the use of medical cannabis to their patients or patient's caregiver before recreational cannabis legalization.

Also consider that in other states with medical cannabis 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.

Lawmakers proposing recreational cannabis admitted they did not know this was happening to other medical cannabis programs on a Zoom Video Meeting with the Medical Cannabis Patient Community and Drug Policy Alliance has refused to release the video to the public that addresses public policy...so lawmakers don’t know the impact of legalization in other states but are trying to pass a law to do it in New Mexico? 



Cannabis Regulation Acts Summary of Policy Proposed
House Bill 356, Cannabis Regulation Act, Introduced on January 24, 2019 and Sponsored by Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino and Representatives: Javier Martínez, Antonio "Moe" Maestas, Daymon Ely, Deborah A. Armstrong, and Angelica Rubio.

It would take away the current infrastructure from the medical cannabis program, making all medical cannabis producers dual licensed to be a recreational producer. That same section of the bill also requires that 1/3 of cannabis stock is for medical patients and 2/3 of cannabis stock is for recreational. The recreational consumers would be given more stock of cannabis available to buy than the medical cannabis patient treating a debilitating health condition. Allows people to wipe out “marijuana-related convictions” from court and police records, but if you posses to much concentrates the bill charges you with a Felony. Require some workplace protections for medical and recreational cannabis users. Place no limit on how much a producer could grow, but each plant would be subject to a tax. Require local governments to opt in or opt out of allowing licensed adult-use recreational cannabis dispensaries through elections. Prohibit schools from refusing enrollment to someone using medical or commercial cannabis – although recreational use would not be allowed on school grounds. Prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to someone using medical or commercial cannabis. Prohibit the separation of children from parents who lawfully use medical or commercial cannabis. Allow individuals to grow up to six mature cannabis plants for personal use. (Legislative Analysis)


Senate Bill 577, Cannabis Regulation Act, Introduced on February 14th 2019 and Sponsored by 3 Republican Senators Cliff R. Pirtle, Mark Moores, Craig Brandt and by 3 Democratic Senators Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Jacob Candelaria, and John M. Sapien.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the terms of Senate Bill 577, a state agency – called the Cannabis Control Commission – would be created to oversee cannabis production, sales and product standards.
Businesses would be allowed to maintain a drug-free workplace, and a 17 percent tax rate would be levied on retail cannabis sales.
The state, cities, and counties would all get a cut of that revenue, with some of it earmarked for training law enforcement officers on how to detect drugged driving. Other revenue would go toward substance abuse and mental health programs.


And still the fact remains that everything proposed in the Cannabis Regulation Acts by Drug Policy Alliance can be achieved by taking a true path to harm reduction by passing cannabis decriminalization and by expanding our current Medical Cannabis Program. Passing into law Senate Bill 323, Decrease Marijuana Penalties, introduced this year by Senator Cervantes, Senate Bill 204, Medical Cannabis in Schools, and passing into law Senate Bill 406, Medical Cannabis Changes, that supports the recommendations made by the Doctors on the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board in 2017/18.

Senate Bill 406, Medical Cannabis Changes, the only bill to expand the neglected medical cannabis program and protect medical cannabis patients has been delayed and pulled from it’s first committee (Senate Public Affairs) 5 times now over the last two weeks. Several times now medical cannabis patients have gone to the Roundhouse to support this bill, only have driven up and waited hours to find out the bill is not being heard. Twice now, lawmakers have had a dinner engagement to attend and said they could not hear SB-406 in its first committee.

SB-406 may get hijacked and added into one or both versions of the Cannabis Regulation Act. At the end of the first Committee hearing for the Cannabis Regulation Act on Representative Deb Armstrong suggested to the bills Sponsors to combine HB-356 with Senate Bill 406, Medical Marijuana Changes legislation.

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

New Mexico lawmakers and Drug Policy Alliance are letting the debate surrounding legalization of cannabis for recreational use obscure the science and policy regarding the medical use of cannabis.

None of the legislators promoting and sponsoring the Cannabis Regulation Act have attended any Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Hearings in the last 2 years to hear what the Doctors think about medical cannabis or to hear the concerns of the medical cannabis patient community. Nor did Drug Policy Alliance or any lawmakers even bother to ask any constituents or any medical cannabis patients for suggestions when writing the Cannabis Regulation Act.

None of the lawmakers have ever done anything in the legislature for the decriminalization of cannabis, but now when they have a chance to tax a plant like alcohol they have no problem using people who have been caught up in the Drug War for political gain.

Even Drug Policy Alliances own supporter, Dustin Sulak, D.O. a renowned integrative medicine physician and medical cannabis expert based in Maine has said, “I think the best thing for public health and the best thing for patients is decriminalization of cannabis. Not legalization and isolation.”

Legalization before decriminalization also has shown favoritism to larger or more well funded organizations, at the expense of local developments and it most certainly jeopardizes the continuity of patient care in existing medical cannabis programs.

How is Governor Lujan Grisham ok with this?

Credit: SFR

Lawmakers with misguided priorities pushing for recreational cannabis use on false pretenses. This is why Education, Crime, the State’s Economy, and Poverty/Healthcare; this is why OUR state is always ranked at the bottom of the barrell for these issues. These are also the top biggest concerns for New Mexico voters.

New Mexico in Focus reported that this will be the 8th year now that Drug Policy Alliance and Senator Ortiz y Pino have tried to legalize recreational cannabis in New Mexico. In the last 8 years, there has only been one attempt by legislators to expand the state’s medical cannabis program. After 8 years of trying, it’s time to include medical cannabis patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens at the policy table for writing all cannabis legislation; instead of meeting in secret behind closed doors at the Roundhouse.

The Voice of the Medical Cannabis Community was not represented at that Legislative Policy Table in 2019 when writing the Cannabis Regulation Act. Only those with a financial interest got a seat at that policy table and that’s what the Cannabis Regulation Act represents, Greed and Gluttony. Good legislative and program policy is only created when those who are most affected are at that table.

Any focus on cannabis policy in the Roundhouse in 2019 should be on medical cannabis program expansion, education about medical cannabis and the program, and protecting the program like Governor Lujan Grisham said. Nothing has been done in eight years for any of those items.

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


As a voter, you possess the most effective tool to influence change: your vote and your voice. As a constituent, you have the power to hold each representative accountable on the issues that affect you. But our democracy is not a spectator sport! If you want change, then you have to talk to the people elected to make our laws. As a medical cannabis advocate, it is important that you understand your power and know how to use it!


Committee Members, Emails and Phone Numbers
House Bill 356, Cannabis Regulation Act is Scheduled for House Judiciary Committee on 2/23/2019 at 9 AM - House Chambers

House Judiciary Committee Members
Title                    Name/Contact                         District     Party     Role
Representative Gail Chasey                               18              D            Chair
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4411 Office PH: (505) 246-2221 Email: gail@gailchasey.com

Representative Daymon Ely                              23              D            Vice Chair
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4432 Office PH: (505) 248-0370
Email: daymon.ely@nmlegis.gov
Representative Eliseo Lee Alcon                       6               D             Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4415 Email: eliseo.alcon@nmlegis.gov

Representative Deborah A. Armstrong           17              D             Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4840 Email: deborah.armstrong@nmlegis.gov

Representative Micaela Lara Cadena              33              D             Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4210 Email: micaela.cadena@nmlegis.gov

Representative Christine Chandler                  43              D             Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4226 Email: christine.chandler@nmlegis.gov

Representative Zachary J. Cook                       56               R             Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4243 Office PH: (575) 937-7644
Email: zachary.cook@nmlegis.gov

Representative Brian Egolf                               47               D              Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4782 Office PH: (505) 986-4782
Email: brian.egolf@nmlegis.gov

Representative Dayan Hochman-Vigil           15               D               Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4336 Office PH: (505) 288-3500
Email: dayan.hochman-vigil@nmlegis.gov

Representative Georgene Louis                       26               D               Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4329 Email: georgene.louis@nmlegis.gov

Representative Matthew McQueen                 50               D               Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4423 Email: matthew.mcqueen@nmlegis.gov

Representative Greg Nibert                               59               R               Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4211 Office PH: (572) 622-6510 Email: greg.nibert@nmlegis.gov

Representative William "Bill" R. Rehm          31                R               Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4214 Email: bill.rehm@nmlegis.gov

Representative James G. Townsend               54                R               Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4758 Email: townsend@pvtn.net



Senate Bill 577, Cannabis Regulation Act, is scheduled for the Senate Public Affairs Committee Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 2:00 p.m. - Room 321

Senate Public Affairs Committee Members
Title       Name/Contact                                                District Party Role
Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino                                        12           D        Chair
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4482 Email: jortizyp@msn.com

Senator Elizabeth "Liz" Stefanics                               39          D         Vice Chair
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4377 Office PH: (505) 699-4808
Email: liz.stefanics@nmlegis.gov

Senator Craig W. Brandt                                              40          R         Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4385 Email: craig.brandt@nmlegis.gov

Senator Stuart Ingle                                                      27           R         Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4702 Email: stuart.ingle@nmlegis.gov

Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez                               16           D         Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4389 Email: a.sedillolopez@nmlegis.gov

Senator Jeff Steinborn                                                  36          D          Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4862 Email: jeff.steinborn@nmlegis.gov

Senator Candace Gould                                                10           R          Ranking Member
Capitol PH: (505) 986-4266 Email: candace.gould@nmlegis.gov




None of the sponsors for the Cannabis Regulation Acts have ever provided any legislative action, in the past years, to do anything for the rights of any cannabis user, medical or not.

No articles in the Albuquerque Journal or Santa Fe New Mexican, no appearances on any TV News or news radio speaking out for medical cannabis patient rights or the unjust criminalization of cannabis and how that affects people of color. Nothing ever done but now in 2019, it’s so important to all of them.

They are using all the people caught up in the Drug War for their own political gain.

All of the sudden for 2019 in New Mexico the failed War on Drugs and Social Injustices are major concerns for New Mexico Legislators, a concern for all who are Sponsoring Recreational Cannabis Legalization.

Why is it these same lawmakers wait until 2019 to now speak out about these major concerns they all have with the Drug War?

None of them spoke out last year for the rights of medical cannabis patients or social justice issues with the criminalization of cannabis. Nor did any of these lawmakers speak out about that in 2017 or 2016. Why is that?

Why have these same lawmakers not spoken up and defended the rights of medical cannabis patients in their home districts and all the injustices we as patients have dealt with over the years in New Mexico?

What these lawmakers are doing are using the people caught up in the failed War on Drugs and using people who rely on medical cannabis - using those Social Justice Issues to advance their own personal political party agenda for taxation of Recreational Cannabis Use.

If arrests for cannabis possession are a true social justice concern for any of the lawmakers, then the solution is very clear in decriminalizing cannabis possession, turning it into a violation equivalent to littering by passing Senate Bill 323, Decrease Marijuana Penalties, into law.


News Articles To Reference:
‘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
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/legal-marijuana-made-big-promises-racial-equity-fell-short-n952376?fbclid=IwAR07CnKugw7D0w9nsVD9FGNIOoIffg4RDSMSkCPGrkI-Ew9KSSz3TK3JqB0


‘Will Recreational Use of Cannabis Impact Medical Use?’ | National Pain Report | 01.07.2019 | Link: http://nationalpainreport.com/will-recreational-use-affect-medical-use-8838278.html


‘1st year of recreational marijuana sales in California impacted by growing black market’
https://abc7.com/business/1st-year-of-pot-sales-in-ca-impacted-by-growing-black-market/4977598/


‘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.
https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/09/16/black-market-marijuana-is-a-big-problem-and-this-n.aspx


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

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