Here is how the legalization plan proposed by the Governor's Legalization Working Group devastates the current Medical program:
The Medical Cannabis Program has 34 Licensed Producers and each one is currently allowed to grow up to 1,750 cannabis plants. If all 34 Licensed Producers grew 1,750 cannabis plants there would be 59,500 cannabis plants. The Medical Cannabis Program as of the end of Sept. 2019 has 77,168 active participants.
The proposed Recreational cannabis plan by the Governor’s Legalization Working Group will take all of those same 34 Licensed Medical Cannabis Producers and “Dual License” them as a Recreational Cannabis Producer. The Proposed Recreational cannabis plan by the Governor’s Legalization Working Group then use the same 59,500 cannabis plants (currently available for the Medical Cannabis Program) for the Recreational Program too. The proposed Recreational cannabis plan even dedicates two-thirds of all cannabis stock is for sale to recreational consumers and says one-third of cannabis stock is reserved for the medical cannabis patients.
So that means: 39,669 (or 2/3) cannabis plants are for recreational sales and 19,839 (or 1/3) cannabis plants are for the Medical Cannabis Program which has 80,000 registered participants. That is clearly not enough for the medical cannabis program.
Doing this will kill the current medical cannabis program.
It forces all the 80,000 registered participants in the medical cannabis program to get their medicine from a recreational dispensary (if ⅔ of a dispensary stock is for recreational sales then it is a recreational dispensary) and the proposed Legalization plan does not provide for any safe access points for stand-alone medical cannabis dispensaries serving only medical cannabis patients thus this would make New Mexico the only state to force medical cannabis patients to shop a recreational cannabis dispensary.
Take for example in this Missouri Medical Cannabis Report done this year, they say that Missouri will need 2,800 Flowering cannabis plants per producer to serve and estimated 25,000 patients by 15 - 20 different growers.
That example alone shows that the Legalization plan by the Governor’s Working Group won't work and that Missouri report also shows how Mr. Rodriguez from Ultra Health is right in his lawsuit about the plant count for New Mexico. As Secretary Kunkel changing the plant count from 2,500 to 1,750 does not allow the medical cannabis program to have “adequate supply”.
Remember it took Supreme Court Judge Thomson, when serving on the bench as a District Court Judge to order the Department of Health to raise the Licensed Producers Plant Count because the state has not been able to provide the patients of the medical cannabis program adequate supply of cannabis to use. For several years now the state’s medical cannabis program has failed to provide adequate supply and now state lawmakers want to take away even more of that cannabis supply from the medical program for a recreational law like proposed by the Governor’s Working Group?
And then consider this; Did the Secretary of Health provide a report from the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board supporting the Departments plant count change from 2,500 cannabis plants to 1,750 cannabis plants? Since the LECUA law states that;
“The advisory board shall issue recommendations concerning rules to be promulgated for the issuance of the registry identification cards; and recommend quantities of cannabis that are necessary to constitute an adequate supply for qualified patients and primary caregivers.”
And since the Governor’s handpicked Legalization Working Group did not include any MCAB members in its own working group membership that addressed public policy affecting “adequate supply” for the medical cannabis program, the work conducted by the Legalization Working Group pertaining to “adequate supply” with its Licensure and Licensing System proposals are invalid due to the exclusion of MCAB member representation.
We have a Governor who campaigned on protecting the medical cannabis program and it participants.
But yet, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has not spoken up about how carelessly the medical cannabis in schools law implementation was done by the Public Education Department. School started over a month ago and these medical cannabis patients are facing discrimination because the medicine they use is medical cannabis.
That also proves how this state is NOT ready for recreational cannabis legalization.
If the Governor and Legislators in New Mexico are going to take on the Failed War on Drugs - then finish what you started with Medical Cannabis.
The Governor needs to keep her campaign promises of Protecting Medical Cannabis Patient Rights and the Promise to open up licences to allow for more medical cannabis producers to enter the program.
The fact of the matter with the New Mexico medical cannabis program plant count being decreased from 2500 cannabis plants to 1750 cannabis plants, that was done as a means of price control, period. It has nothing to do with “Adequate Supply”, as the medical cannabis program law demands.
The company hired by the Department of Health to conduct an assessment of the medical cannabis plant count did so purley with a business approach and not one based on medical cannabis research for cannabis plant counts.
It is also a known fact that some Licensed Non-Profit Producers (LNPPs) in the medical cannabis program wanted the plant count of 2500 lowered - due to their fear of prices falling to fast. This was all discussed in a meeting I had on Sept. 23rd 2019 with Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Kunkel.
The purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (medical cannabis program) 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.
It says nothing in the MCP law about using price control for establishing a plant count for “adequate supply”.
A research assessment of physical and pharmacokinetic relationships in cannabis production and consumption in New Mexico hasn't ever been done in relation to Equivalency in Portion and Dosage for the medical cannabis program for establishing a plant count to provide “Adequate Supply”.
Here is one Colorado has done: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/MED%20Equivalency_Final%2008102015.pdf
The focus on cannabis policy in 2019 and 2020 should be on the medical cannabis program and protecting the program like Governor Lujan Grisham promised.
The state has three medical cannabis laws and all three are being ignored by the Governor's Office.
1. "Adequate Supply" and "Purpose of the act" in the original The Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act.
2. Medical Cannabis in School Law that was improperly enacted by the Public Education Department (SB-204).
3. Issuing medical cannabis cards for those who qualify from Medical Cannabis Changes law (SB-406). And now Patients/Caregivers are reporting a 6-7 week wait for medical cannabis cards (new/renewals) when the state has 35 days or less to provide them.
All that the Governor’s Legalization Working Group had to do was suggest legislation that allowed the current medical cannabis program producers to be licensed as a recreational producer by having them establish a separate retail dispensary business location (it could be right next door to a medical dispensary they own if they want) and then provide them each and additional 1,750 cannabis plants to grow at a separate location or at the same medical grow location they currently have.
Any system of regulation should not be built on the backs of current medical cannabis laws and that is exactly what the proposed Cannabis Regulation Act does, it kills the current medical cannabis program.