Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Policy Letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Formally Requesting Cannabis Legislation for 2020

Safe Access New Mexico 
Jason Barker
Albuquerque, NM 87109

Monday, October 21st 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 all your hard work in Santa Fe leading our state and 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.

The start of the Second Session of the 54th Legislature is just around the corner as 2019 draws to a close. With the Second Session of the 54th Legislature being in an even-numbered year of 2020, the Legislature is limited to dealing with budgetary matters, bills that deal with issues raised by special messages from you as Governor, and bills vetoed in the previous session.

I am writing you to formally request that you and your Office please consider putting the following proposed legislative items on the call for the Second Session of the 54th Legislature with a special message from your Office.

Please keep the focus of any cannabis policy from 2019 and 2020 by the 54th on the medical cannabis program and protecting the program like you had promised the medical cannabis program participants and their families while campaigning to be Governor and as mentioned in the 30 Day Leadership-In-Action-Initiatives. “As governor, I’ll raise the cap on medical cannabis plants and increase access to licenses for producers so every patient has the access to medical cannabis they need. #nmpol”

And: ‘Gov. candidates disagree on medical cannabis at school’ | https://www.abqjournal.com/1240091/gov-candidates-disagree-on-parcc-other-education-issues.html

The medical cannabis program participants and their families are hoping your Office fulfills these promises.

All three medical cannabis laws need to be addressed:
1. Medical Cannabis in School Law that was improperly enacted by the Public Education Department (SB-204). School Personnel (including school nurses) need to be directed in law to serve as the primary choice for the administration of the medicine.
Link to: Social Equity and New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis in Schools Law | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/09/social-equity-and-new-mexicos-medical.html

2. "Adequate Supply" and "Purpose of the act" in the original The Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act are not being provided to the near 80,000 medical cannabis patients. Reducing the program plant count from 2,500 to 1,750 does not provide “adequate supply”.
Link to: Safe Access New Mexico Public Comment on Proposed Rule Changes for New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/07/safe-access-new-mexico-public-comment.html

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. 

Please Amend SB-406 to its original introduced format to add substance use disorder into the MCP, for which the applicant or qualified patient is currently undergoing treatment for the applicant's or qualified patient's condition; And allows any Qualifying Medical Provider per department rule to add any other chronic or persistent medical symptom that either substantially limits a person’s ability to conduct one or more of major life activities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, or if not alleviated, may cause serious harm to the person’s safety, physical, or mental health; as approved by the department.
Link to this Proposed Legislation: http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/p/proposed-2019-nm-legislation-act.html

4. AN ACT: Veterinary Medicine Access To The Medical Cannabis Program
Started in 2019 by Senator Ortiz y Pino as SB-658, Mr Chris Pommier in LCS also helped draft what they did.

This legislation will allow cannabis to be discussed for medical purposes on animals. This bill will not allow a veterinary practice to sell or administer cannabis.

Passage into law would then enable Veterinary Medical Doctors to recommend medical cannabis and complete the necessary paperwork as required by the state’s medical cannabis law, Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007.
Link to this Proposed Legislation: http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/p/an-act-veterinary-medical-cannabis.html

5. Reforming the structure of the state’s legislature. Reforming our State Legislature structure to a hybrid-style legislature.

Link to the Proposed Legislation: http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/p/proposed-2019-nm-legislation.html

As Governor, please please please first and foremost start talking about fixing the medical cannabis program to allow Safe Access to Medical Cannabis at Schools and end the discrimination there that children are facing.


Jason Barker
Americans For Safe Access
Safe Access New Mexico 

[ About Safe Access New Mexico and Jason Barker: He is an advocate for Safe Access New Mexico, a Chapter of Americans For Safe Access; a freelance writer for Cannabis News Journal; and a medical cannabis patient in New Mexico.

Safe Access New Mexico’s advocacy has resulted in new health conditions added to the medical cannabis program in 2018-2019, 5 of those new health conditions are from the Petitions submitted to the Dept. of Health for Safe Access New Mexico.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Dec. 2018)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (June 2019
Three Degenerative Neurological Disorders: Friedreich’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (June 2019)

Jason lives in Albuquerque with his dog, Tecumseh, who has a very severe case of canine structural epilepsy. Jason’s work has focused solely on medical cannabis issues, decriminalization of cannabis, hemp policy, and does not work on legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes or other illicit drug issues.

*Mr. Barker is not paid or employed in the medical cannabis industry nor does he have any financial interest in the medical cannabis industry or in a future recreational cannabis industry.]