Friday, June 28, 2019

Gov. Lujan Grisham creates Cannabis Legalization Working Group

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday announced the establishment of the Cannabis Legalization Working Group, a convening of stakeholders and policy experts who will, through the summer and fall, study proposals to legalize the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis in the state of New Mexico, identify best practices from other states and jurisdictions that have legalized the substance and ensure any legalization proposal incorporates mechanisms to ensure public safety.

The group, to be led by Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, will make recommendations to the governor that will be incorporated into legislation to be introduced next year. 

After legislative proposals to legalize the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis for New Mexico adults failed to advance through the state Legislature earlier this year, Gov. Lujan Grisham said she will place the matter of legalization on her call for the Second Session of the 54th Legislature, a 30-day session which will begin January 2020. 

“This group will ensure we begin the next session with a credible, equitable and cohesive legalization proposal that will incorporate all public safety concerns, workplace regulations, labeling requirements that protect underage children and all manner of other issues,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “There are open questions about how legalization can work best for New Mexico. This group will answer those questions, and we will arrive at the next session prepared.

“I want New Mexico’s introduction and management of recreational cannabis to be the envy of the country,” the governor added. “We can and will incorporate lessons learned from other states so that New Mexico provides for a well-regulated industry that, crucially, does not infringe on or harm our expanding medical cannabis program, upon which so many New Mexicans rely.”

“New Mexico has been on the forefront of marijuana policy for more than a decade, and I am confident that this working group can help chart a path to recreational cannabis in New Mexico  in a way that accomplishes the governor’s goals,” Councilor Davis said. “The people on this team will put their knowledge and experience to work to propose a program that will grow local jobs, ensure public safety and protect our robust medical program.”

The working group comprises a broad cross-section of representatives, advocates and stakeholders, among them state agency leaders who will oversee the implementation and regulation of legalized cannabis; elected officials from both major parties; and representatives of the medical cannabis industry as well as tribal, labor, banking and law enforcement representatives.

The working group membership includes:

State Rep. Javier Martinez, D-Albuquerque; State Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell; Environment Secretary James Kenney; Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel; Regulation and Licensing Superintendent Marguerite Salazar; Senior Economist James Girard of the Taxation and Revenue Department; Chief Counsel Matthew L. Garcia of the Office of the Governor; Senior Counsel Matt Baca of the Office of the Attorney General; Sheriff Kim Stewart of Doña Ana County; Finance Director Les Rubin of Picuris Pueblo; Rachael Speegle of the Verdes Foundation; Ryan Gomez of PurLife Management Group; Jim Griffin of Everest Apothecary; Emily Kaltenbach of the Drug Policy Alliance; Shanon Jaramillo of Cannabis New Mexico Staffing; General Counsel Grace Phillips of the New Mexico Association of Counties; Lorin Saavedra of Southwest Capital Bank; construction industry representative Sam Baca and representatives of Presbyterian Healthcare Services and United Food and Commercial Workers.

Nation's First Master's Program in Medical Cannabis

Image result for university of maryland graduate program medical cannabis

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) has launched a new Master of Science (MS) in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to support patients and the medical cannabis industry, add to existing research in the field, and develop well-informed medical cannabis policy. Based at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville, Md., the two-year program blends online learning with face-to-face experiences, and is designed for any individual who has completed his or her undergraduate degree and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical cannabis industry.
School of Pharmacy offers a master's degree in medical cannabis science and therapeutics.
School of Pharmacy offers a master's degree in medical cannabis science and therapeutics.
The MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics is the first graduate program in the country dedicated to the study of medical cannabis. It aims to meet the needs of all individuals interested in advancing their knowledge about medical cannabis, including health care professionals such as physicians, nurses, and pharmacists; scientists and regulators; growers and dispensary owners; and policy and industry professionals.
“Medical cannabis has been legalized in 33 states, including Maryland, as well as in Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor at UMSOP.  “This number is only expected to increase in the future, fueling a demand for an educated workforce that is well-trained in both the science and therapeutic effects associated with this medicinal plant. Our MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics has been critically designed to prepare students to meet this demand. Innovations in instructional design throughout the curriculum will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to make a positive impact on communities across the United States."
The School of Pharmacy’s MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics addresses the areas of basic science, clinical use, adverse effects and public health, and federal and state laws and policies surrounding medical cannabis. Online coursework is designed to accommodate students with or without a background in science or medicine, as well as offer flexibility when completing assignments. In-person symposia held once each semester at USG provide students with opportunities to network with peers, as well as meet and interact with experts in the science, therapeutics, and policy of medical cannabis.
The application deadline for this program is August 15, for classes beginning on August 26, 2019.
“The MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics is an incredibly unique program,” says Leah Sera, PharmD, MA, BCPS, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science at UMSOP,
director of the MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics program, and a clinical pharmacist who practices in the field of palliative care. “Faculty from the School of Pharmacy who lead courses for the program are experts in both basic and clinical sciences related to the study of medications, and are dedicated to making coursework both interesting and accessible to all students.”
She adds, “There is truly no other educational program that offers the in-depth instruction on the science, policy, and therapeutics of medical cannabis that students who are accepted into our program will receive.”
To better meet the needs of working professionals, the MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics does not require the completion of a thesis. Instead, students complete a capstone course that features a selection of expert seminars, case studies, and discussions. Graduates of the program will be able to help identify patients appropriate for medical cannabis therapy and determine appropriate dosing and administration for those patients; ensure the safe and effective design, development, and manufacture of medical cannabis products; identify potential research opportunities related to the science and health effects of the cannabinoids found in medical cannabis; and participate in health policy decision-making processes related to medical cannabis.
“Students who complete our program will have an unparalleled competitive advantage when it comes to pursuing or advancing a career in the medical cannabis industry,” says Sera. “These individuals will be well-prepared to support patients and the medical cannabis industry with the knowledge and skills gained from their coursework. They will also be able to add to existing clinical and scientific research on medical cannabis, and will be able to contribute to well-informed policies related to medical cannabis.”
The MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics welcomes students who possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, currently work or are interested in working in the medical cannabis industry, and have the ability to travel once per semester to attend required symposia at USG, which is located in a suburb of the nation’s capital.
About the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
Established in 1841, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is ranked as one of the top ten schools of pharmacy in the United States. The School is a thriving center for professional and graduate education, pharmaceutical care, research, and community service. Its faculty create the future of pharmacy by pioneering new roles for pharmacists in advanced clinical practice and conducting cutting-edge research in drug discovery and development, comparative effectiveness and patient-centered outcomes, and disease management. A contemporary curriculum, innovative educational experiences, and strategic professional relationships help to inspire excellence in the School’s more than 800 students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows. Together, we are critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and leaders who are sought for our expertise. 
About the University of Maryland, Baltimore
Founded in 1807, the University of Maryland, Baltimore is Maryland’s only public health, law, and human services university, dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care, and public service. UMB enrolls more than 6,700 students in six nationally ranked professional schools — medicine, law, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and social work — and an interdisciplinary Graduate School. The university provides more than $40 million each year in uncompensated care to Maryland citizens, and receives more than $667 million in extramural research funding annually. For more information about the University of Maryland, Baltimore visit
MS in Medical Cannabis Overview

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

CBD is still illegal in the US. So why is it everywhere?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, but the legal status of hemp-derived cannabidiol remains in limbo.

Image result for CBD infused Food are still illegal and everywhere

In 2017, no one knew what CBD oil was. In 2018, folks stumbled saying “cannabidiol” (that’s CBD oil) out loud. In 2019, it’s everywhere, and everyone wants in on it.

In flavors like “cucumber mint refresh” and “watermelon renew,” a new line of CBD-infused waters and teas is hitting major grocery stores in California and Colorado on Monday, each 16-ounce bottle containing 20 milligrams, or trace amounts, of “active hemp extract.”

These beverages by the Oki company are among the first wave of large-production, mainstream products that are taking CBD out of the neighborhood head shop, dispensary or hippie health food store and into mainstream commerce.

It fits into a new conception of health, wellness and functional foods that includes the nonintoxicating benefits of this chemical compound without the psychoactive THC found in cannabis.

But at the federal level, CBD in food and drink is still illegal. The Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act prohibits adding even approved drugs to human or animal food in interstate commerce.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, but the legal status of hemp-derived cannabidiol remains in limbo. This is largely because CBD can be derived from hemp or cannabis, but if a hemp plant contains more than 0.3 percent THC (the active “high” ingredient in cannabis) it is then technically a “marijuana” plant. It’s confusing. Experts say drafting and implementing regulations could take years.

Amy Abernethy, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner, has taken the lead on clarifying the agency’s position on regulation of CBD-infused products, using Twitter as a primary mechanism for conveying the agency’s thought process.

On June 16, the FDA released a document called “What you need to know (and what we’re working to find out)” that states, “We are aware that there may be some products on the market that add CBD to a food or label CBD as a dietary supplement. Under federal law, it is currently illegal to market CBD this way.”

When asked which instances of CBD sale might prompt legal action, the FDA said it had no additional comments but that the agency had opened a docket for the public to submit comments through July 2. There are 2,554 comments thus far and that date has been extended to July 16.

From Ben & Jerry’s to Coca-Cola, brands are chomping at the bit to launch CBD-infused products, and stores like Walgreens, Kroger and CVS have vowed to sell them. More than 1,000 CBD-infused products are now available online.

Why the rush?


Oki beverages have a suggested retail price of $5 per 16-ounce a bottle; a 16.9 ounce bottle of Nestle water, by comparison, is about 54 cents. Boris Savransky’s Beezy Beez, which produces honey from a network of more than 200 bee farms in New York and New Jersey, started producing Hempme CBD-infused honey a year ago. Twelve ounces of his regular honey costs $5.99 to $6.99; six ounces of CBD-infused honey is $55. For honey, that’s a sweet markup.

Until now CBD products have been mostly tinctures, lotions and capsules, local or regional mom-and-pop items sold at dispensaries and often offshoots of the cannabis industry. Oki, with 360,000 bottles produced so far, aims bigger.

“Many of these companies stay intrastate because of bandwidth and financial resources,” said Garrett Graff, managing attorney at Hoban Law Group in Denver, which calls itself the nation’s premier “cannabusiness” law firm and represents more than 200 cannabis and hemp companies, including Oki.

Very few of the companies Graff’s firm works with have the ability to scale up to meet the ongoing supply needs of a major grocery chain or big-box store, yet market research firm Brightfield Group predicts the CBD oil business could balloon to a $22 billion market by 2022. Being among the first “marquee” national brands has the potential to be very lucrative.

In 33 states and D.C., medical cannabis is legal. In 10 of those states (plus D.C.) recreational cannabis is legal.

Amid that legal patchwork, each state is adopting its own strategies for dealing with CBD in food and beverage. Indiana, Utah, Texas and Florida require a QR code that allows consumers to look up batch numbers, potency and other ingredients. In May, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt approved a bill to establish labeling requirements for CBD and hemp extracts. In Florida, a state hemp program goes into effect July 1 establishing licensing requirements and a framework for dealing with violations, corrective measures and enforcement in the sale of CBD products.

So far, the FDA has looked the other way for intrastate commerce in CBD foods (Carls Jr. rolling out a CBD-infused “special sauce” burger in Denver for “4/20 Day,” say).

But interstate sales are thornier. Many banks, insurance companies and merchant service companies are leery of providing services for national CBD companies and of the FDA stepping in to see if the claimed CBD levels are present in the products (spoiler: they frequently aren’t) and issuing warnings to companies making “egregious and unfounded claims that are aimed at vulnerable populations,” claims that it cures Alzheimer’s, cervical cancer, fibromyalgia and other diseases.

Jim Bailey, the chief executive of Oki’s parent company Phivida, said there’s enormous potential in CBD – even though Oki labels make no mention of CBD, preferring to advertise “active hemp extract” to satisfy skittish retailers.

“Define what luxury means to you today. It’s health and wellness, and there’s a movement back toward plant-based foods and functional foods. We started looking at CBD uses for anxiety and insomnia,” Bailey said.

Oki water labels and marketing materials make no claims beyond, “”feel calm, feel balanced.”

But the sheer scale of Oki’s launch might arouse the FDA’s ire. Produced and bottled outside of Dallas, waters from the Vancouver-based company are likely trucked through states like New Mexico where cannabis remains illegal before reaching their final retail outlet – the very definition of interstate commerce.

Industry experts predict the launch of scalable commercial CBD products will force the FDA to expedite a federal regulatory framework.

“States are confused and lost and seeking guidance,” Graff said. “Even bullet points like ‘comply with good manufacturing practices’ and ‘don’t make impermissible health claims.’ If you had that interim guidance, you’d see huge relief among states.”

Graff and other experts are confident the FDA will soften its stance that CBD is not “safe as a food additive,” perhaps taking cues from Canada where new rules governing the production and sale of edibles go into effect Oct. 17. But questions remain about what CBD does, how safe it is and whether companies and even consumers open themselves up to legal action in partaking before a regulatory framework has been hashed out.

Because hemp has historically been coupled with cannabis, there has been little scientific research into safe dosages, drug interactions and the long-term effects of CBD use.

The University of Mississippi is the only federally authorized researcher of cannabis. Otherwise researchers must obtain materials through the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Graff said many companies have sought to do research with universities but have been stymied by red tape.

Graff said that many companies embrace third-party testing of products and “sensible” inspection.

“We all want the same thing in terms of consumer safety. That’s the same for any other product out there. Hemp should be treated equally under the law.”

THE WASHINGTON POST | June 24, 2019 at 12:15 pm

By Laura Reiley | Washington Post

Related Article: Americans for Safe Access Releases Patient’s Guide to CBD | ASA Releases Patient’s Guide to CBD in Response to FDA Public Hearing
Read it here.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Submitting Comments For Cannabis To The FDA That Will Make A Difference

Americans for Safe Access Wants to Help You Navigate the Federal Regulatory Process

Update: June 20th 2019 from ASA, The Food and Drug Administration is extending their deadline to submit comments on products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds to July 16 2019.

Earlier this spring, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice in the Federal Register that invited the public to submit scientific information and comments on cannabis and cannabis products. This is not the first time that the FDA has called for comments. In 2018, the FDA solicited public comments to help determine the United States’ position on the rescheduling of CBD and other cannabis compounds under international law. Fortunately, in recent years, there has been a shift in the FDA’s attitude about cannabis. Currently, their website acknowledges that states are developing their own programs and that there is medical value to, at a minimum, isolated components of the cannabis plant, marking a shift from previous years when the agency outright ignored the progress being made at the state level.

Regulatory comments are a good way for activists to make their voices heard. However, unlike typical grassroots campaign activities that rely on building coalitions and generating large scale support, regulatory comments do not benefit from a large number of people saying the same thing. In fact, the FDA itself specifies that the FDA comment process is not a popularity contest in which the agency will adopt the policy position promoted by the greatest number of commenters. What the FDA and other regulatory agencies look for during the commenting process are concise, well-thought-out responses that cite scientific research and make recommendations for sound public policy.

The FDA identifies very specific questions that it wants answered in Section III of the notice. These questions are listed in the subcategories of 1) Health and Safety Risks, 2) Manufacturing and Product Quality, and 3) Marketing/Labeling/Sales. The FDA is asking for input on 15 distinct questions, many of which have multiple subparts. A sampling of questions from each category have been summarized below:

Health and Safety Risks
a) Based on what is known about the safety of products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived products, are there particular safety concerns that FDA should consider regarding its regulatory oversight off these products?

        i) How does the mode of delivery (e.g., ingestion, absorption, inhalation) affect the safety and exposure to cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds?

Manufacturing and Product Quality
a) What validated analytical testing is needed to support the manufacturing of safe and consistent products?

b) What are the functional purposes of adding cannabis-derived compounds, such as CBD, to foods (e.g., nutritive value, technical effect), both in terms of manufacturer intent and consumer perceptions and/or expectations? To the extent a compound is added to food to achieve a particular functional purpose, what evidentiary support is available to demonstrate that the addition of such compound has the intended or perceived effect?


a) How should consumers be informed about the risks associated with such products (e.g., directions for use, warnings)? What specific risks should consumers be informed about? Are there any subpopulations for which additional warnings or restrictions are appropriate? Please explain your reasoning.

b) What conditions, restrictions, or other limitations on the manufacturing and distribution of these products have been put in place under State or local law, particularly with respect to food products containing cannabis-derived compounds such as CBD (which may, in some cases, be lawful at the State level but not the Federal level)? What other conditions, restrictions, or other limitations might be appropriate to ensure adequate consumer information and to protect the public health?

What to Do 

DO read the submission guidelines carefully before submitting. 

DO include the docket number [FDA-2019-N-1482-0001] in the beginning of your comments either on a title page or in your introduction, especially if you mail them or submit them as an attached PDF. 

DO support your comments with scientific research. For example, instead of just describing how cannabis or cannabis-derived products helped your condition, look to see if there is research for other people with your condition to strengthen your anecdote. 

Not effective: I used CBD to relieve my arthritis pain. 

More Effective: Like many other individuals, I have had success using CBD for my arthritis pain. A 2016 study published in the European Journal of Pain found that the topical application of CBD had the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Additionally, according to the World Health Organization, “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” 

DO include your contact information if you want the FDA to be able to follow up with you on your comments. Providing your contact information is not required. 

DO read the comments Americans for Safe Access is submitting before writing your own to get inspiration and ideas. 

Heather Despres, ASA's Patient Focused Certification Program Director speaks on ASA's behalf at the FDA's Public Hearing on Scientific Data and Information on Cannabis and Cannabis Products.

You can also watch the webinar discussion from Americans For Safe Access that walks you through the submission process. (see below)

What not to do 

DO NOT try to answer all of the FDA’s questions. Pick one (or a few) and make sure your answers stay on topic. 

DO NOT make up data. If there is limited research on an area you are addressing in your comments, indicate that more research is needed and that the FDA should allow this research to proceed unimpeded. 

DO NOT limit your comment to a personal story. The two comments below have already been submitted to the FDA; while both are well-intentioned, they do not provide the FDA with enough specifics to create regulations or policy.
I want legal, regulated cbd products. Keeping it in this gray legal area is extremely harmful to people.
Do the right thing. CBD saves lives and works with our natural receptors in our body. Don't let big Pharma and greed control a natural substance that is derived from plants. Our Endocannabinoid system has receptors that benefit from CBD. It can help many illnesses and cut down our enormous health care costs in this country by healing the root causes for disease and not just putting bandaids on the symptoms. 

DO NOT use threatening, profane, or rude language. The comment below has already been submitted to the FDA; it will not receive serious consideration because it fails to answer any of the FDA’s questions and is threatening, profane, and rude.
Yo, ya demons wearin human suits, all yall mofos work for We The People. How dare yall think that yall kkkan tell grown folk what we can & cannot do? I HAVE PAID THE COST TO BE MY OWN BOSS! My Mama & Daddy are dead/no longer physically among us. Marijuana & all its constituents (CBD, THC, et al) have been my medicine for more than 50 years. I AM living proof of weed's medicinal properties. My long-term weed use has protected my brain & mostly kept me me, despite TWO strokes. 'legal' or not, weed WILL continue to medicate me. F**k yall. The tide is turning & prayerfully, the evil oppression that we've allowed to be 'in charge' is soon outie. DIE!

Your comments do not need to be completed in advance of the FDA hearing on May 31, 2019. In fact, you may hear information at the public hearing that you would like to incorporate into your comments. The FDA is accepting comments through July 2, 2019, and ASA will send periodic reminders about comment submission.

You can submit comments of your own here.

Patient's Guide to CBD
The Patient’s Guide to CBD is a comprehensive resource that covers a wide range of topics, including, available forms for use, what to look for on package labels, how to read a certificate of analysis, how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, the current state of research, the compound’s legal status, and how to talk to one’s doctor about CBD.

Read it here.

Sources: Americans For Safe Access and David Mangone

Monday, June 17, 2019

New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program Rule Change Hearing Friday July 12th 2019

Medical Cannabis Rule Change Hearing
Medical Cannabis Program - Public Meeting
Friday July 12 @ 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Harold Runnels Building
1190 S. St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505

The meeting will be in the auditorium of the Harold Runnels Building.

Department of Health Proposes Medical Cannabis Rule Changes

June 17, 2019 - SANTA FE, NM.  Department of Health Proposes Medical Cannabis Rule Changes Improving Supply and Quality of Medicine.
(Public will have opportunity to provide important feedback)
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) announces details today of proposed rule changes for its Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) that, if adopted, will implement several important policy changes, including a new maximum limit of 1,750 plants for licensed non-profit producers (LNPPs) of medical cannabis.
"Our focus with this is to better provide a medical cannabis system that guarantees safe access for patients to safe medicine,” said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel. “We want to assure patients have enough medicine both now and in the future as well as in forms that make the most sense for the very conditions they’re treating."

The new plant limit replaces NMAC Rule Change - 2019 - MCP - Emergency Amendment enacted in March that adopted an emergency plant count rule of 2,500 plants for LNPPs while the NMDOH worked to obtain data for a permanent rule.

The proposed provisions would strengthen oversight of licensed cannabis operators and their inventory, as well as assure proper disposal of product where necessary. A formal hearing will be held on July 12, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the auditorium of the Harold Runnels Building, located at 1190 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Department of Health carefully developed the new plant limit to balance concerns about available medical cannabis supply while limiting the risk of the over-production that has disrupted regulated systems in other states (Oregon 2019 Recreational Marijuana Supply and Demand Legislative Report). NMDOH this spring commissioned surveys of qualified patients and all current licensed producers to obtain metrics on the current market conditions. In addition to the surveys, data from cannabis producers and national industry averages were also analyzed to determine an appropriate plant limit.

The proposed rule change also allows plant limits to grow with the size of the market through a provision beginning in June of 2021. It will allow licensed producers to request an increase of up to 500 permitted plants if they are nearing their capacity to supply their patients’ demand.

LNPPs will be able exclude cannabis seedlings from their plant limit. A seedling is a young plant that does not have any psychoactive properties yet. This change in policy will allow licensed producers to experiment with cultivating a wider variety of plant strains and is designed to increase the available supply of plants high in alternative cannabinoids like CBD, which is used for serious conditions like epilepsy.

In addition, the MCP is preparing for another round of rulemaking to comply with statutory mandates enacted by the Legislature earlier this year in Senate Bill 406.
“In the coming weeks and months, we will be reaching out to the medical cannabis community to listen and get input on how the program can continue to evolve and improve safe access for patients,” added Secretary Kunkel. “Critical health-related issues like quality testing and labeling need to be addressed in the next set of rules and are crucial to get right. We also will also be evaluating the Medical Cannabis Program’s strategic objectives and looking at any broader structural changes that need to happen.”

Pending Rulemakings 2019

Medical Cannabis Program — NMAC 7.34.x
NMAC Rule Change - 2019 - MCP - Public Notice
Proposed 7.34.2- Medical cannabis advisory board responsibilities and duties.
Proposed 7.34.3- Medical cannabis registry identification cards.
Proposed 7.34.4
- Medical cannabis licensing requirements for producers, couriers, manufacturers and laboratories.

Medical Cannabis Program — NMAC
NMAC Rule Change - 2019 - MCP - Emergency Amendment

Latest Publications From The Medical Cannabis Program (Updated 6/14/19) :

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

2,500-Year-Old Tomb Offers Earliest Evidence of Humans Using Cannabis

An excavation of a tomb in China has revealed the earliest clear evidence of humans using cannabis for its psychoactive properties.
Cannabis has been cultivated as a crop for millennia, but there's been little historical or archeological evidence showing when humans began to use the plant for what it's best known for today: getting high.

However, an excavation of a 2,500-year-old tomb in western China has revealed the earliest clear evidence of humans using cannabis for its psychoactive properties.

Scientists from China and Germany analyzed wooden fragments and burnt stones from pots in the tombs, and the results showed an exact match to the chemical signature of cannabis -- particularly that with a high amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most potent psychoactive agent in the plant.

The authors of the study, which was published Wednesday in journal Science Advances, suggested that cannabis was probably used during burial ceremonies, perhaps as a way to communicate with the divine or the dead.

The brazier and burnt stones.

However, it was unlikely that cannabis was smoked in the same way it is today. More likely, it would have been burnt like incense in an enclosed space to release vapors.
Nicole Boivin, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and an author of the report, said the cannabis was burned on hot stones inside wooden braziers, containers for hot coals.

"This is the only way that cannabis could have been smoked prior to the arrival of pipe technology, which is not until much later, it seems," she said.

The 10 braziers were found in the Jirzankal cemetery in the Pamir Mountains near the Chinese border with Pakistan.

Mystery solved?
It had long been a mystery when and where varieties of cannabis plants with higher levels of psychoactive compounds were recognized and used by humans, according to the study.

Cannabis plants were cultivated in East Asia for their oily seeds and fiber from at least 4000 BC. However, the early varieties of cannabis, as well as most wild populations, had low levels of THC and other compounds with psychoactive properties, the authors said.

The tomb in western China.

Many historians had placed the origins of cannabis smoking on the ancient Central Asian steppes, but these arguments relied solely on a passage from a single text from the late first millennium BC, written by the Greek historian Herodotus.

The authors said this study offers the first concrete evidence for cannabis smoking in this area, although it is still unclear whether the people buried at Jirzankal cemetery actively cultivated cannabis or simply sought out higher THC-producing plants.

"Finding evidence for ancient drug use is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, because this kind of evidence is rare due to there being few opportunities for long-term preservation of the remains of activities involving drug use, which is very ephemeral, and doesn't necessarily leave a lot in the way of physical evidence," Boivun said.

The authors said that cannabis plants produce greater quantities of active compounds when they grow at higher elevations, and this may be why more potent plants had been discovered -- and a new use initiated -- by people living in high mountainous regions like the Pamirs.

Although the region is remote today, it may once have sat on the Silk Road, a key trade route.

"Our study implies that knowledge of cannabis smoking and specific high-chemical-producing varieties of the cannabis plant were among the cultural traditions that spread along these exchange routes," Robert Spengler, the lead archaeobotanist for the study who is also at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, said in a statement.

"Modern perspectives on cannabis vary tremendously cross-culturally, but it is clear that the plant has a long history of human use, medicinally, ritually, and recreationally, over countless millennia," Spengler added.


Americans for Safe Access and Aurelius Data Join Forces to Create a Research Platform to Benefit Cannabis Patients


Washington, D.C., June 12, 2019, Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the leading advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research, and Aurelius Data, Inc.(AD), the premier patient perception big data company, and announced a bold new partnership to gather and analyze millions of data points from cannabis patients.
ASA and AD both recognize that while science has made significant strides in cannabis research, there is still a significant gap in education for providers and patients. With the partnership between ASA and AD, the data gathered and analyzed will advance the role of patient use and perception to the forefront of research. Combining that knowledge with chemical product analysis, patient perceived effectiveness, efficacy, form factor, and mechanisms of action (methods of administration) will yield a much-needed educational resource for patients and caregivers, providers, and the industry.
As stated by Dr. Amy Abernathy, the Acting CIO of the Federal Drug Administration, on May 31st of this year, “Systematic studies are needed. It sounds like a number of studies are available or underway. We also wonder if real-world evidence derived from electronic health records, personal monitors, administrative data, etc. can be used to address critical questions in this space.”
Through this joint patient-first initiative, ASA and AD seek to develop a research platform that creates a culture of transparency, integrity and education through data. Aurelius Data’s proprietary AURA platform and analysis tools will compile the use, perception and biometric data of consumers, for which conditions the products are being used and then matching that data with the product’s chemical analyses, and quality information. The insights generated from the platform will be available to users through the AURA mobile application, along with a community offering product education, support and best practices. #SafeAccess
“ASA is excited to be partnering with Aurelius Data, who shares a patient-first mission,” said Debbie Churgai, Interim Director of ASA. “Creating a patient focused community through the AURA platform gives our subscribers a way to connect and discover what regimens are working for other patients, offering an opportunity for real results and lasting change through research.” #MedicalCannabis, #CannabisAdvocacy
"We are so fortunate that ASA recognizes that this partnership allows us to be stronger together and to support a goal that is dear to all of us—to create trust and consistency for patients, and provide a real pathway to effective, standardized treatments," said Julie Armstrong, CEO of Aurelius Data, Inc. #AureliusData
"The Moonshot is to let the data lead the way to identifying novel approaches to treatment, new therapies and outcomes; All without the bias of marketing and advertising, and without the influence of sources who don’t have the patient’s best outcomes as a focus. We recognize our responsibility to the subscribership of ASA and seek to honor this collaboration through providing fresh insights and a value-added community through our AURA platform”, said Armstrong. #BeyondTheStrain

"In that spirit, we're very enthusiastic about the potential of this groundbreaking partnership to drive solutions and improve outcomes for cannabis patients and consumers everywhere," said Churgai.

Americans for Safe Access
The mission of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic use and research.

ASA was founded in 2002 as a vehicle for patients to advocate for the acceptance of cannabis as medicine. With over 100,000 advocates in all 50 states, 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.

Aurelius Data, Inc
Aurelius Data, Inc. (AD) is a patient use and perception focused big data company. We deliver insights from analyzing the intersection of science, user perception, product use, chemical analysis, and the users’ reported medical condition and symptom resolution.
Our mission is to put the patient first, by increasing confidence and understanding, drive product development, boost customer retention, reveal cutting edge IP discoveries, and provide immediate, tangible value to every user. Our anonymously gathered data follows HIPPA compliance and immediately benefits the user through a continuous feedback loop of user input, product recommendations and community connection. Our vision is to go beyond the Strain and create a reliable product use and efficacy reference for cannabis users.

Reenal Doshi, Director of Communications and Outreach, Americans for Safe Access, (202) 857-4272 x. 4
Jim Bachand, Business Advisor, Aurelius Data, Inc., (501) 420-4206

Friday, June 7, 2019

New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program Now Has 28 Qualifying Health Conditions

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) announced on Thursday, June 6 2019 that, effective immediately, several new qualifying conditions for enrollment will be added for the state Medical Cannabis Program (MCP).

Topping the list is opioid use disorder, a condition the program’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board unanimously recommended (Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Approves Petition) to support at its most recent meeting in late March. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham committed to adding the condition the program in an effort to continue the state’s downward trend in drug overdose deaths.

In addition to ruling on the board’s recommendations from March, NMDOH Cabinet Secretary Kunkel also ruled on a backlog of recommendations made by the board at its two previous meetings in September and December of last year, both left undecided by the previous administration.

The additional new qualifying medical conditions for the MCP are:
  • Alzheimer’s Disease (Unknown Petitioner)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (Petitioned to be added by Safe Access New Mexico)
  • Three Degenerative Neurological Disorders: Friedreich’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Petitioned to be added by Safe Access New Mexico)
The six new qualifying conditions raises the total number of qualifying conditions for the program to 28.

In the last year, Safe Access New Mexico (A Chapter of Americans For Safe Access), has had success in getting 5 New health conditions added into New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program.
“We need to explore and pursue every available means of responding to the health and wellness needs of our neighbors here in New Mexico,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
“Compassion must guide our decision-making. Today marks an important and long-overdue step forward after too many years of status quo.”

“Adding these conditions to the Medical Cannabis Program provides medical providers new tools for relieving symptoms that may otherwise be difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to relieve through conventional means,” said Secretary Kunkel. “Thousands of New Mexicans may find relief from their symptoms through medical cannabis that they can’t get anywhere else.”

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board did not recommend the addition of Nystagmus (a condition that causes involuntary eye movement) or People Ages 65 and over. The Secretary of Health accepts their recommendation not to add these qualifying conditions. Substance Use Disorder was recommended but will not be adopted at this time as the term is overly broad and needs additional clarification.

The full document outlining the Secretary of Health’s decision can be found in Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Reports and Recommendations. The Medical Cannabis Program provides more information for health providers, patients and caregivers.

At the end of May 2019, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program now has almost 75,000 registered participants with over 90 dispensaries operated by 35 licensed non-profit producers (LNPP’s). 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.
There is no cost to apply to be a registered participant in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program. The new qualifying health conditions are already updated on the patient and caregiver applications.

There are now 28 qualifying conditions for the medical cannabis program in New Mexico:

  1. Alzheimer's Disease
  2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorder
  4. Cancer
  5. Crohn's Disease
  6. Damage to the Nervous Tissue of the Spinal Cord (with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity)
  7. Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder
  8. Friedreich's Ataxia
  9. Glaucoma
  10. Hepatitis C Infection
  11. HIV/AIDS
  12. Hospice Care
  13. Huntington's Disease
  14. Inclusion Body Myositis
  15. Inflammatory Autoimmune Mediated Arthritis
  16. Intractable Nausea/Vomiting
  17. Lewy Body Disease
  18. Multiple Sclerosis
  19. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  20. Opioid Use Disorder
  21. Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
  22. Parkinson's Disease
  23. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  24. Severe Anorexia/Cachexia
  25. Severe Chronic Pain
  26. Spasmodic Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia)
  27. Spinal Muscular Atrophy
  28. Ulcerative Colitis

The New Mexico Department of Health reports that each day, the Medical Cannabis Program receives hundreds of patient applications. The Program has 30 days to approve a completed application from the date we receive it in our office. While it is the patient’s responsibility to submit an application at least 30 days before their card expires, the Program strongly encourages patients submit applications 60 days prior to their card expiring.

Here is how patients and providers can help to ensure a smooth approval process.
  • Make sure required signatures are on the application, including from the patient and certifying practitioner.
  • Include a current, valid copy of your New Mexico identification card or your New Mexico’s Driver’s License. Most of the incomplete applications received by the Program are due to missing or expired New Mexico identification cards or expired or missing NM Driver’s License cards.
  • Please follow the checklist on the application to ensure all required information is submitted.
Any New Mexico practitioner with prescribing authority, including your primary care provider, can sign the medical certification on the patient application.

The New Mexico Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program is not affiliated with any third-party businesses that sign patient certifications or complete patient applications. If you have paid a third party to complete your patient application, we advise that you call them first to check when they mailed or delivered your application to the Department of Health.

Forms & Documents From the New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program Office:

This section is a comprehensive reference to all of the forms, documents, publications and resources that are currently available for the Medical Cannabis Program (MCP).

Medical Cannabis Patient Application

Medical Cannabis Caregiver Application

Medical Cannabis Personal Production Application

General Information:

Medical Cannabis Law Enforcement Fact Sheet

Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act

Medical Cannabis Petition Requirements

MCP Rules & Regulations:
NMAC 7.34.2 - Medical cannabis advisory board responsibilities and duties.

NMAC 7.34.3 - Medical cannabis registry identification cards.

NMAC 7.34.4 - Medical cannabis licensing requirements for producers, couriers, manufacturers and laboratories.

Medical Cannabis Program Contact Information:
Physical Address
Medical Cannabis Program
1474 Rodeo Rd., Suite 200
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505-827-2321 (Phone)
505-476-3025 (Fax)

Mailing Address
Department of Health
Medical Cannabis Program
PO Box 26110
Santa Fe, NM, 87502-6110

Email Address

Effective Dates of New Cannabis Related Laws for New Mexico in 2019:
Cannabis Decriminalization for the State, The effective date of the provisions of this act is July 1, 2019 (SB-323 Link:

Medical Cannabis Changes Law (SB-406) June 14 is the Effective date of this legislation since it is not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date. (SB-406 Link:

Add E-Cigs to Clean Indoor Air Act, June 14 is the Effective date of this legislation since it is not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date. (Link:

Medical Cannabis in Schools Law, SB-204, June 14 is the Effective date of this legislation since it is not a general appropriation bill or a bill carrying an emergency clause or other specified date. (Link:

“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.”