Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Policy Letter Seeks Executive Order By New Mexico's Governor For Medical Cannabis in School Law



Safe Access New Mexico 
Jason Barker - Organizer & Lead Advocate
Albuquerque, NM 87109
SafeAccessNewMexico@gmail.com

Monday, October 28th 2019

Office of the Governor
The Honorable Michelle Lujan Grisham
Governor of New Mexico
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(via email and USPS mail)

Dear Governor Lujan Grisham,

As a constituent, I wanted to Thank you for taking the time from your busy day to read my letter. My name is Jason Barker, I’m a medical cannabis patient, advocate for medical cannabis, and registered voter.

I am writing you to formally request that you and your Office please consider issuing an Executive Order.

As Governor will you please issue an executive order immediately instructing PED to change and update their policy for the Medical Cannabis in Schools law?

Since the recent LHHS interim committee meeting on Thursday, Oct 24th, addressing SB-204, the PED policy clearly needs to be updated reflecting the true intent of the law. And a Executive Order directing the PED to instruct the schools that school personnel, including school nurses, are required by law to treat medical cannabis as any other medicine given to students at their school, in regards to administration and storage.
[https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/10/28/legislators-could-strip-school-districts-of-discretion-over-medical-cannabis-in-schools/]

The intent of the new Medical Cannabis in Schools law (SB-204) is to allow for that reasonable accommodation to be created. That reasonable accommodation allows these families to have a family life by being able to go to work, attend graduate school, and live their lives to create a better future for their families. That reasonable accommodation allows for their student to go to school and be given their medicine just like all the other students while at school.

The medical cannabis in schools law is clearly written in a way for that reasonable accommodation to be met by the PED and the Schools with rules and regulations that match the state law by allowing for school personnel to administer medical cannabis and by allowing for the storage of the students medicine at school.

Senate Bill 204 and 406 are both protected state medical cannabis laws as provided in Federal Policy - CJS Medical Cannabis Amendment.

Nothing in current law prohibits a school nurse from administering medical cannabis per the medical cannabis in schools law. School Nurses have expressed licensure concerns but the school nurses are exempt from licensure issue, protected by Medical Cannabis Program law and the Nursing Practice Act states on page 58, “The Nursing Practice Act shall not apply to or affect nursing assistance in case of emergencies” [https://nmbon.sks.com/laws-rules.aspx]

According to state law for the medical cannabis program, Section 8 in subsection E: medical cannabis products are exempt from the state’s Schedule I CSA; “E. the enumeration of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols or chemical derivatives of tetrahydrocannabinol as Schedule I controlled substances does not apply to the use of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols or chemical derivatives of tetrahydrocannabinol by certified patients pursuant to the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act or by qualified patients pursuant to the provisions of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act;” [https://nmhealth.org/publication/view/policy/128/]

The school nurse would be conducting activities authorized in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and the school nurse would be doing so as a "designated school personnel". According to SB-204 that means a school employee whom a public school, charter school or school district authorizes to possess, store and administer medical cannabis to a qualified student in accordance with the provisions of SB-204 law.

From Senate Bill 406, the Medical Cannabis Changes law from Section 14 in Subsection C and D;

“C. A school shall not refuse to enroll or otherwise penalize a person solely for conduct allowed pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, unless failing to do so would cause the school to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulation.

D. For the purposes of medical care, including an organ transplant, a qualified patient's use of cannabis pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act shall be considered the equivalent of the use of any other medication under the direction of a physician and shall not be considered to constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualified patient from medical care."” [https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/19%20Regular/final/SB0406.pdf]

A school nurse or other school personnel would be conducting activities authorized in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and the school nurse would be doing so as a "designated school personnel" and what the school nurse would be doing is not considered to constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualified patient who is a student from medical care at school, all of which is conduct allowed pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, the Medical Cannabis in Schools law (SB204) and the Medical Cannabis Changes law (SB-406).

The Public Education Department, Albuquerque Public Schools, and Rio Rancho Public Schools all have failed to establish reasonable parameters regarding the administration and use of medical cannabis and the school settings in which administration and use are authorized as clearly provided for in the medical cannabis in schools law. [Section B of SB-204; Subsection 2 on pages 2 -3: https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/19%20Regular/final/SB0204.pdf]

Currently there are 10 states, DC Public Schools, and one capital city with comprehensive medical cannabis programs allowing safe access to medical cannabis at school: Oklahoma City School District and these ten states; California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Maine, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois and Virginia.

No school or school district in the US has ever lost any federal funding for allowing safe access to medical cannabis at school, nor has there been any problems. No school personnel has ever gotten in any trouble...none.

Governor Lujan Grisham please issue an Executive Order as soon as possible for these medical cannabis students, directing the PED to instruct the schools that school personnel, including school nurses, are required by law to treat medical cannabis as any other medicine given to students at their school.

Respectfully,


Jason M. Barker
Americans For Safe Access
Safe Access New Mexico 




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