Sunday, March 31, 2019

Friday's Advisory Board Hearing Was At Odds With New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program Law and Program Rules and Regulations

Not even 24 hrs after the Friday, March 29th, advisory board public hearing the Secretary of Health has said she will approve the OUD Petition, as reported by KOAT 7.

Right now there are still pediatric patients being withheld from public schools and being discriminated against by New Mexico public schools and the Governor has yet to sign Senate Bill 204, Medical Cannabis in Schools bill by Senator Gould. The Governor has less than 7 days to sign bills now or they become a pocket veto on April 5th. The Governor has yet to sign the Cannabis Decriminalization bill for New Mexico that Senator Cervantes sponsored.

But the Governor has already said she will place recreational cannabis legalization on next years legislative agenda for the 30 day session. The Governor has done absolutely nothing as of yet for the state medical cannabis program and the patients and caregivers it serves but has already given recreational cannabis priority in 2020.

Prior to the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board hearing, the Secretary of Health did not take the time to review these Petitions from 2018 Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Petition: Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Condition: Degenerative Neurological Disorders And Neuroprotective Applications (both Submitted by Safe Access New Mexico). But we did see how the Secretary of Health did have time to see that these same health conditions were amended out of Senate Bill 406 before it passed in the Roundhouse.

The Secretary of Health should have read those petitions before working on SB-406 and allowing that bill to be gutted before it passed.

The is nothing in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007, that allows for the Governor of New Mexico to direct the Department of Health to add any health condition into the state’s medical cannabis program. The same is true for the MCP Rules and Regulations.

The medical cannabis advisory board (MCAB) responsibilities and duties requires the Chairperson to conduct a fair and impartial proceeding, to assure that the facts are fully elicited and avoid delay. When the meeting started the first thing stated by the Chairperson was how the Governor directed the Dept. of Health to add Opioid Use Disorder and that’s why the meeting was called and that they had originally been thinking of doing a April or May meeting.

Right from the start, the petition directed to be heard by the Governor’s Office was given an unfair advantage with a hearing called for it specifically. Following the original hearing notice by the Department of Health, they even wrote and published a press release article on the state agency’s very own website promoting the OUD petition that Drug Policy Alliance is part of with the Governor’s Office but did not mention or write other press release articles about any of the other petitions being reviewed by the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

Doing that press release for one petition and one petitioner goes against the Advisory Board Hearing Responsibilities and Procedures as outlined in the MCP Rules and Regulations. This has already been recognized by the NM DoH communications director and MCP Manager.

The other petitioners were not and are not being treated equally or fairly at this public meeting by the Department of Health. The meetings agenda and article by the NMDoH show’s how one petitioner has been clearly favored by the state over the other petitioners. [NMDoH Article: Petition to Add Opiate Disorder as Qualifying Condition | February 18, 2019 |]

The Secretary of Health had time to ensure all that was done for one petition and one petitioner but did not have time yet review the Petitions from 2018 Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Conditions: Autism Spectrum Disorders and Degenerative Neurological Disorders And Neuroprotective Applications.

Not even 24 hrs after the public hearing the Secretary of Health has said she will approve the OUD Petition. The Petition, that was denied, to make Age 65 a qualifying condition to the medical cannabis program would help more New Mexicans than adding OUD right now.

Once the hearing got under way, the Advisory Boards Chairperson, Dr. Brown started with a discussion talking about Senate Bill 406, Medical Cannabis Changes bill that passed the Roundhouse and the bill update that was read to the public was not correct.

Dr. Brown had not realized that Senate Bill 406 was gutted in committee during the session and almost all she mentioned had been removed from the bill.

How is it the Doctors on the medical cannabis advisory board did not know what happened to medical cannabis program legislation that passed they planned to discuss for the hearing? Better yet, why were these doctors not asked to be expert witnesses in committee during the legislative session for SB-406 instead of Drug Policy Alliance?

During the discussion on how SB-406 would, if signed, allow out of state patients, I had to inform the MCAB members of how our NM Medical Cannabis Card does not work in most all other state with medical reciprocity, because our program law states that our card is only valid in New Mexico. Doctor’s on MCAB did not know this apparently.

I also had to remind the MCAB Doctors that when the heard this Petition Nov. 2017, Pediatric Oncology And Cannabis Use for Antiemetic In State Hospitals, that the Advisory Board said they would write a letter to legislature asking that this happen. Two legislative sessions have since past and no letter was ever sent, as the Doctors said they would.

If this had been done we would also be that much further ahead with patient rights for medical cannabis in schools too.

The Medical Cannabis Program Update was the program manager reading from the February patient statistics report. Only new information was the DoH saying they “think” we have about 250 minors in the program. And now there are 91 dispensaries between the 35 producers in 20 counties.

Of course the OUD Petition was approved, and the petitioner said he was contacted and asked to do this petition and that all he did was put a new cover page on Anita Briscoe’s original petition. And Drug Policy Alliance presented the technical evidence for the petitioner.

The Petitions from 2018 Requesting The Inclusion Of A New Medical Conditions: Autism Spectrum Disorders and Degenerative Neurological Disorders And Neuroprotective Applications, Pediatric Cannabis Use In State Hospitals, signing the Medical Cannabis in Schools bill into law, and signing the cannabis decriminalization bill into law - these are all much more important for the Medical Cannabis Program than the Governor’s Opioid Petition.

What the OUD Petition is really treating is addiction. As our medical cannabis program already covers any health condition opioids are prescribed for.
Related Article: ‘Any Health Condition Opioids Are Prescribed For Are Already Part Of New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program’ | Wednesday, January 16, 2019 | Cannabis News Journal |

“We will be tough, smart, and we will proceed with empathy for the families caught in [the opioid] crisis,” said Lujan Grisham. “We will not stand in the way of our neighbors who are struggling with addiction and want to recover. Instead we will help them all along the way.”

The key word in the Governor’s statement is "Addiction", and that is what is really being treated with this petition, if this is added, not opioid misuse or abuse. Our state's medical cannabis program already covers all health conditions that opioids are prescribed for.

The Petition to add Opiate Use Disorder (OUD) as a qualifying condition was first submitted by Anita Briscoe, retired APRN-BC, while advocating with Drug Policy Alliance in 2017. In 2018, Anita Briscoe was busted by Federal Agents for sending death threats and a weapon in the US mail to me, medical cannabis patient she certified in the program, and placed on Federal Pre-trial Intervention by the Albuquerque US Attorney's Office, with Kimberly Brawley handling the case. Anita wanted me to kill myself, she’s a sick and twisted person. When Anita shutdown her medical cannabis card certifications, she referred me and all her patients to Bryan Krumm at Harmony Psychiatric. When Anita shut down her business she left all my medical records at CG Corrigan dispensary, with bud tenders, for me to pick up - can we say major HIPPA violation.

I left the MCAB Hearing Friday, once they started hearing petitions as to protect myself from being victimized again. I’ve already been revictimized by this situation before. None of the Doctors on the MCAB were ever aware, until yesterday, that Anita as a RN in the MCP had done this. Nor did they know how Anita was allowed to attend MCAB hearings after she had sent me those death threats when I was there presenting other petitions. Anita was trying to shutdown the Substance Abuse Disorder Petition and silence my advocacy stance putting medical cannabis first before recreational cannabis. The Governor as a Congresswoman was contacted about this in 2018 and did all she could to try to ignore it. Most recently, last week, Jane Wishner in the Governor’s Office offered up an apology for all of this happening.

Corruption Continues to Grow in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program...