Monday, February 17, 2020

New Mexico's Governor is wrong to change medical cannabis residency, We're a Sanctuary State!



John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”


Senate Bill 139, Medical Cannabis “Qualified Patient”, should be Tabled and should Not Pass out of the Legislative Health and Human Services committee, that is Chaired by a very close friend, Biz Partner, and Campaign Treasurer - Rep. Deb Armstrong. 
Also very concerning this bill only gets one committee, it bypasses the House Judiciary but its supporters says it raises a legal matter.

Senate Bill 139 changes the definition of “qualified patient” (i.e. a person who is able to consume medical cannabis) in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (LECUA) creating a legal requirement in which requires the person be a resident of New Mexico.

Much of the concerns mentioned for SB-139 are about breaking Federal Policy and in some situations Federal Law.

Examples of breaking Federal Policy and in some situations Federal Law would be Albuquerque’s decision not to follow parts of federal immigration law or the State’s choice not to follow parts of federal immigration law.

For Albuquerque that has resulted in the Federal Government withholding more than 10 million dollars to combat the out of control crime problem.

It’s also very interesting how the Governor and this bill's sponsor have been very outspoken about New Mexico and Albuquerque helping immigrants and doing what we can despite the Federal Government's overly restrictive immigration policies but here in the this matter we have people also coming to New Mexico seeking help with medical treatments, seeing a medical provider, and lawfully being recommended into the medical cannabis program.
Why are we okay to violate federal immigration policy for people from other countries but when people from other states come to New Mexico for the Medical Cannabis Program we decide we want to change state law and prevent that?

Just like the “Certification” proposal enacted by Attorney General William Barr that has limited the ability of migrants to seek asylum in the United States, this proposal backed by Governor Lujan Grisham could hurt those living just outside New Mexico’s border that cannot legally access medical cannabis in their home states.

“This bill reflects one of the weaknesses in this state which is the propensity to pick winners and losers,” that is what Senator Cervantes said about the Cannabis Regulation Act in Senate Judiciary last week. The same is true about Senate Bill 139.

Senator Steinborn said during the Senate Floor debate for SB-139, that New Mexico could be on the “cutting edge” of what he called a humanitarian issue of medical cannabis. Going on to say, “I personally am not convinced we have to take this step in changing the law.”

Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, said during the Senate Floor debate for SB-139 that there are no other health care services in the state that are limited to residents only, specifically mentioning pregnant women who come to New Mexico because of laws that are less restrictive for abortion than many other states.

“We allow people from all over the country to come here,” Candelaria said, adding that he is very much in favor of the state’s abortion law.

Senator Ortiz y Pino, has argued that by allowing out-of-state patients, New Mexico is inviting federal scrutiny. Senator Ortiz y Pino is also the sponsor of this year's Recreational Cannabis Legalization bill. If the Senator sincerely believes these 615 plus individuals enrolled in the NM Medical Cannabis Program threatens the program’s existence in the eyes of the Federal government, then why is the Senator sponsoring a recreational cannabis bill?

How does the Senator and our Governor justify pushing for an adult use program with projected $600 million in annual cannabis sales, of which 42% will be from out-of-state visitors.

The unfortunate aspect of Senate Bill 139, Medical Cannabis “Qualified Patient”, is how it exposes the biggest problem for the Cannabis Regulation Act - being depended upon people crossing back and forth over state lines with cannabis.

This proposed law, SB-139, will actually force medical cannabis patients back into the black market. That is a liable situation for a state that has provided access to medical cannabis and then took that access away, after interfering with what a medical professional recommended for these people, which is to be in this state's medical cannabis program.


The Rescinded Cole Memo has come in by the backers of the measure, the Rescinded Cole Memo means absolutely nothing in regards to Federal policy for cannabis.

On August 29, 2013, the Department of Justice published a memorandum authored by Cole which described a new set of priorities for federal prosecutors operating in states which had legalized the medical or other use of cannabis.

The 2013 memorandum represented a significant shift of government priorities away from strict enforcement of federal cannabis prohibition and toward a more hands-off approach in the case of "jurisdictions that have enacted laws legalizing marijuana in some form and that have also implemented strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the cultivation, distribution, sale and possession of marijuana."

The memorandum was rescinded by a one-page memo signed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on January 4, 2018.

AG Barr and the Rescinded Cole Memo:
“I am accepting the Cole Memorandum for now, but I have generally left it up to the U.S. Attorneys in each state to determine what the best approach is in that state,” A.G. Barr further testified during the hearing. "I haven’t heard any complaints from the states that have legalized marijuana." (Attorney General William Barr testified during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on April 10th 2019.)

AG Barr would have to issue a new version of the “Cole Memo” with his signature for it to be a valid federal advisory.

Secretary Kunkel and Senator Ortiz y Pino have been suggesting that our state is violating the “diversion of cannabis to another state”, part of the Rescinded Cole Memo. They have both misunderstood what “diversion of cannabis” means. (From the DEA: Drug diversion is a medical and legal concept involving the transfer of any legally prescribed controlled substance from the individual for whom it was prescribed to another person for any illicit use.)

The Rescinded Cole Memo was referencing the diversion of cannabis for illicit purposes. And that is not happening here. The 615 plus people are legal medical cannabis patients buying from legal medical cannabis dispensaries.

Senator Candelaria said the state should not be so worried about the U.S. Justice Department as it has not indicated it would crack down on medical cannabis states, during the Senate floor debate.

Senator Cliff Pirtle said during the Senate floor debate, “Keep in mind, there’s 11 states that have recreational cannabis. The Feds have done nothing to them.”


The CJS Budget Amendment Provides The Only Protection And Is The Only Active Federal Policy Passed In Law For Cannabis.

Congress approved a budget amendment that prohibits Justice Department funds from being used to prevent states from implementing medical cannabis laws. Texas is part of this and is consider to have a medical cannabis program like ours in New Mexico by the Federal Government.

Known as the Rohrabacher-Farr or CJS amendment, it first signed into law on December 16, 2014. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment doesn’t just prevent direct interference with state implementation; it should also end federal medical cannabis raids, arrests, criminal prosecutions, and civil asset forfeiture lawsuits, as well as providing current medical cannabis prisoners with a way to petition for their release.

The Senate sent President Trump Fiscal Year 2020 spending legislation that continues the CJS budget rider protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference.

Protection for state medical cannabis laws, are provided in the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment (also known as the CJS Medical Cannabis amendment), in Section 538 of the “omnibus” federal appropriations bill.

Every year, the federal budget in the US Congress (“omnibus” appropriations bill) includes this rider that continues to bar the DOJ from enforcing the federal ban on cannabis due to it’s Schedule 1 status in some circumstances pertaining to states who enact their own medical cannabis laws.

Here is the full text of the budget rider:
“SEC. 538. None of the funds made available under this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Interesting fact, our Governor’s last vote as a member of Congress involving medical cannabis policy was a “No” vote for the March 22nd 2018 omnibus budget containing that very budget rider for protecting our state’s program. A "No" Vote.

So this legislative session our Governor has decided she wants to take away access from 615 plus participants in the medical cannabis program. And our Governor has also decided not to allow Senate Bill 276, Medical Cannabis in Schools, which affects over 250 public school students in the medical cannabis program (also sponsored by Senator Ortiz y Pino) to fix the law being broken by the PED.

Please Vote No or Table Senate Bill 139.

Respectfully,

Jason Barker

Sources/Resources: 
Medical cannabis qualified patient bill moves to the House
https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2020/02/16/medical-cannabis-qualified-patient-bill-moves-to-the-house/

Medical cannabis residency bill approved by Senate
https://www.abqjournal.com/1421228/medical-cannabis-residency-bill-approved-by-senate.html  

Governor’s Legalization Group Recommendations Open The Door To Federal Interference
http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/12/governors-legalization-group.html 

Federal Marijuana Law
https://www.safeaccessnow.org/federal_marijuana_law 


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

Of the new health conditions added to the medical cannabis program 2018-2019, 5 of those new ones 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 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.]


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Elevate the Spectrum for New Mexico in 2020 with ASD Supports and Services Legislation



In 2019, New Mexico passed landmark legislation for autism insurance coverage. The new law, House Bill 322, expanded coverage for autism therapies to transition-age youth and adults with autism covered by private, state-regulated health benefit plans as well as Medicaid. Enabling individuals of any age to be guaranteed coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism, without limitations, under state-regulated health benefit plans.

Now the state can complete the puzzle and support efforts underway for Autism Disorder programs by passing House Bill 55, Autism Disorder Supports and Services, sponsored by Representative Elizabeth "Liz" Thomson and Representative Joanne J. Ferrary.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, community estimates of a positive autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis as of April 2018 are as high as 13 for every 1,000 children aged 8. ASD is about 4 times more common among boys than among girls and ASD is also reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

Additionally the CDC says that Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. There is often nothing about how people with ASD look that sets them apart from other people, but people with ASD may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some people with ASD need a lot of help in their daily lives; others need less.

A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed separately: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now all called autism spectrum disorder.

For New Mexicans House Bill 55, Autism Disorder Supports and Services, appropriates $2.5 million from the general fund to the Departments of Health (DOH) and Children Youth and Families (CYFD) for the purpose of expanding services available in New Mexico for children, adults and families affected by autism spectrum disorders.

The $2.5 million appropriation would be used at the University of New Mexico and at New Mexico State University. The appropriation through the Dept. of Health will allow NMSU to create a regional autism office and enable crucial programs for youth and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) not given developmental disabilities Medicaid waiver (DDWP) support.

Additional the appropriation through the Dept. of Health will allow the University of New Mexico’s Center for Development and Disability (UNM CDD) to conduct analysis and alignment of systems of care for individuals with ASD and their families, it will also provide funding to UNM CDD for youth and adults with ASD not given developmental disabilities Medicaid waiver (DDWP) support, funding for development of services to adults with ASD, and to fund autism evaluations for children. House Bill 55, Autism Disorder Supports and Services will also establish an ASD registry and be used for research into ASD at UNM CDD.

The appropriation going to the Children Youth and Families (CYFD) will develop wraparound services for children with ASD with “high acuity of need” and provide funding to UNM CDD for development of model services for individuals with “high acuity of need” ASD requiring inpatient hospitalizations, residential or group home services. Wraparound services are defined elsewhere as “Services used to help children with autism spectrum disorder work towards independence, according to legislative analysis. They provide families with the resources, techniques and interventions necessary to help children reach desired independence goals.

New Mexico has seen tremendous growth in the willingness of the legislature to support autism initiatives as well as the willingness of the administration to work with the autism community. New Mexico can Elevate the Spectrum in 2020 with ASD Supports and Services Legislation.

House Bill 55, Autism Disorder Supports and Services, is scheduled for House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, January 29th 2020.

Wednesday, January 29th 2020 is also Autism Day at the Legislature, hosted by Elevate the Spectrum [https://www.facebook.com/events/556477121771903/]




By
Jason Barker
Elevate the Spectrum


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Second Session of the 54th Legislature | Recreational Cannabis Legalization Policy Report 2019-2020


The Second Session of the 54th Legislature | Recreational Cannabis Legalization Policy Report 2019-2020




Safe Access New Mexico does not support the recreational legalization bill state legislators and Drug Policy Alliance have planned for the 2020 legislative session as it will cause great harm to the current medical cannabis program. And we will not support that type of policy until the discrimination against children and others in the Medical Cannabis Program has ended and legislation is passed into law Repairing and Expanding the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007.
“For starters, she (Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham) wants the medical marijuana program protected in any legislation legalizing a commercial marijuana industry.”
‘Legal pot or not? A New Mexico debate’ | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1264970/legal-pot-or-not.html

In 2019 we saw the push for Recreational Cannabis Legalization start with the Governor’s Office creating it’s Legalization Working Group. There was no merit based selection process open to the public when they created this Working Group in June 2019. All the people from the medical cannabis industry on this working group are also all the same businesses who make up the Board of Directors for the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce (https://nmcannabischamber.org/leadership) and they all contributed large sums of money to the Governor's campaign in 2018.
The Working Group was and exclusive group riddled with conflicts of interests.

The Governor’s Legalization Work Group’s report includes a very serious fatal flaw that will devastate New Mexico’s medical cannabis program. The group recommends adopting a new model for a joint medical-adult use program, and its report says no other state has a model like this.

And there is a very good reason why no other state has that model, as it will ruin any medical cannabis program in any state because it is a system of regulation built on the backs of current medical cannabis laws. Cannabis policy experts from Americans For Safe Access have noted that recreational cannabis use and medical cannabis use only have the criminal justice system in common.

A joint medical-adult use program will result in the destruction of the medical cannabis program because its regulation and supply chain are not designed for a joint program.

Representative Javier Martinez told NM Political Report that his intention is to “ensure social equity and that cannabis patients have enough affordable medicine.”

The timeline for Social Equity in the Cannabis Regulation Act does not happen until 2022, putting those candidates at a severe disadvantage trying to enter the new industry. Social Equity is only a carrot on a stick in this bill.

Nor does the Cannabis Regulation Act provide the medical cannabis program with “adequate supply” of medical cannabis products for patients, the bill actually allows the Recreational Consumer to have more possession rights and more buying power over the medical cannabis community.

Today the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has over 80,257 registered participants, the 34 licensed producers are now growing 39,400 cannabis plants in a 3-5 month cycle which only provides ½ (half) of a medical cannabis plant worth of medicine per patient - And the Cannabis Regulation Act wants allow anyone over 21 yrs old to access that already very limited supply. The Cannabis Regulation Act needs to be amended with its own set of producers for growing and and its own separate plant count and its own separate dispensary system.

The Governor also promised to increase the program’s adequate supply for the current producers and to license new ones and that did not happen in 2019.

New Mexico hasn't ever done any research into medical cannabis production and dosage for the medical cannabis program for establishing a cannabis plant count to provide “Adequate Supply”, and there is even an excellent medical cannabis research program at UNM that could do this for the state.

It makes complete sense for the state of New Mexico to know how much cannabis they will need to grow for the medical cannabis program before trying to legalize recreational cannabis. 
Right now the state has no idea.

New Mexico needs to fix the medical cannabis program before passing a recreational cannabis law, period.


Timeline of Polling for Recreational Cannabis in New Mexico:

2019 Poll commissioned by Governor’s Legalization Work Group conducted by Change Research based in San Francisco Bay area:
73% of New Mexico voters support legalization/ 52% percent supporting it "strongly”
While only 39% of those surveyed said they are "very or somewhat likely to purchase cannabis products themselves.
The poll was conducted between Nov. 26 and Dec. 2. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent.
Link to poll: https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/poll-most-new-mexicans-support-legalizing-recreational-pot/article_fe8aab3e-22b0-11ea-a3e9-cb717a696699.html


2019 Poll by Emerson College says 63% of New Mexico voters are opposed to full legalization. It also found 42% supported keeping just medical cannabis. A nonpartisan nonprofit called Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) says lawmakers should take notice.


2019 Poll: State of New York Poll for comparison and this is a state that if far more progressive than New Mexico.
A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 58%-38%.
https://scri.siena.edu/2020/01/21/overwhelming-support-for-a-dozen-of-cuomos-state-of-the-state-proposals/


2018 Poll commissioned by The Albuquerque Journal conducted by Research & Polling Inc. based in Albuquerque:
60% of New Mexico voters supported legalization, 32% Opposed Legalization, 6% Had Mixed Feelings About It, and 1% Didn’t Know.
The poll was conducted Sept. 7-13 2018. The voter sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.
Link to poll: https://www.abqjournal.com/1223550/nm-voters-back-legal-marijuana.html


2018 Poll commissioned by State representative Martinez and Drug Policy Alliance conducted by Research & Polling Inc. based in Albuquerque:
The poll done in March 2018, said that 63% of New Mexico adults support legalization. This poll had a statewide sample of 420 adults, not just registered voters.
This poll was paid for by a “coalition supporting marijuana legalization”.
Link to poll: https://www.abqjournal.com/1175325/nm-survey-shows-63-percent-of-adults-favor-pot-legalization.html


2016 Poll was a telephone survey of 406 adults around the state was conducted by Research & Polling Inc. of Albuquerque and commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance and a coalition of groups including licensed marijuana producers:
61% of New Mexicans supported legalization when this poll was conducted.
Link to poll: www.abqjournal.com/713824/poll-3-out-of-5-new-mexicans-support-marijuana-legalization.html


2019 National Polling About Cannabis: A Pew Research poll which involved phone interviews with about 9,900 adults from September 3-15, found that 67 percent of respondents think cannabis should be legal. That’s five percentage points higher than Pew’s last poll on the issue in 2018, and it closely reflects the percent support for legalization that Gallup reported (66 percent) in a survey released last month.

According to the results of a new question Pew asked for the first time that gave respondents multiple policy options to choose from, 91 percent of Americans said that marijuana should be legal for either medical or recreational purposes: Fifty nine percent said both forms should be legal and 32 percent said it should only be legal for medical use.
https://www.marijuanamoment.net/support-for-marijuana-legalization-increased-again-in-2019-pew-poll-finds/


Third party polling data for recreational cannabis legalization shows a 12-13% difference for the Support of Legalization in New Mexico, as compared to the new poll out by the Governor’s Legalization Work Group which shows a very questionable jump in the polls to 73% supporting legalization in the state. The Governor’s Legalization Work Group poll is also showing “Support for Legalization” to be 9% higher than nationwide polling for Pew Research and Gallup. That’s called a Push Poll.

Also of note, all previous polling conducted for recreational cannabis legalization in New Mexico were conducted by Research & Polling Inc. based in Albuquerque. While the new poll out by the Governor’s Legalization Work Group was conducted by Change Research based in San Francisco Bay area. Change Research is a favorite of Democratic party political candidates as well and Change boast about this on their website.

In Conclusion:
If lawmakers in New Mexico are going to take on the Failed War on Drugs in 2020, then please finish what you started with Medical Cannabis in 1978.

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. Later renamed The Lynn Pierson Marijuana & Research Act set forth a program that had over 250 New Mexicans receiving medical cannabis..

Also consider this: In other states with medical cannabis programs, after recreational cannabis legalization, ALL of those state medical cannabis programs have suffered...legalization has not benefited any states medical cannabis program to date. Even our neighbor to the north, in Colorado’s medical cannabis program has seen over a 19% decline in participation in recent years. And in Illinois in 2020, after only two weeks of recreational cannabis sales, medical cannabis patients started facing shortages for their medicine that could last more than six months.

Lawmakers can defer recreational cannabis to a special session in the fall of 2020, if the proponents are right about the financial gains for the state then recreational cannabis sales will easily cover the state’s cost at doing the special session for legalization.

Like please focus on how the Medical Cannabis in Schools law passed this year is being ignored by the PED and all the Schools keeping kids who are medical cannabis patients from being able to attend their school.

The last 10 years of trying and failing to legalize recreational cannabis has interfered with the medical program operation due to the fact of how attempts at recreational cannabis legislation have taken up a lot more legislative time when compared to any medical cannabis bills filed over those 9 years - legislative time during the floor sessions, time in committees and when out of session time spent with interim committees and meetings about recreational cannabis as compared to any thing for the medical cannabis program in the legislature in the last 9 years.

Also consider that in other states with medical cannabis programs after recreational cannabis legalization, ALL of those state medical cannabis programs have suffered...legalization has not benefited any state’s medical cannabis program to date. Even our neighbor to the north, in Colorado’s medical cannabis program has seen over a 19% decline in participation in recent years. And in Illinois in 2020, after only two weeks of recreational cannabis sales, medical cannabis patients started facing shortages for their medicine.

Amending and fixing the medical cannabis in school law should be a 2020 legislative priority before recreational cannabis legalization, according to that promise made by the Governor. And I have even taken the liberty of writing an amended SB-204 mock bill, providing it to last year’s bills sponsors. Hopefully the Governor allows them to do their duty as elected officials.

New Mexico needs to fix the medical cannabis program before passing a recreational cannabis law, period.


By Jason Barker
Medical cannabis patient and advocate with Safe Access New Mexico


Appendix: What other medical cannabis patients are saying...
‘Dad pleads for medical cannabis’ | Friday, November 22nd, 2019 | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1394537/dad-pleads-for-medical-cannabis.html


"New Mexico as it stands just does not have the logistics for recreation, said Chad Lozano, secretary of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Advocate Alliance.”
‘Medical cannabis experts caution against New Mexico’s push to legalize recreationally’ | ABC 7 KVIA | https://kvia.com/news/2019/12/23/medical-cannabis-experts-caution-against-new-mexicos-push-to-legalize-recreationally/


‘Medical marijuana users struggle to keep up with costs’ | Nov. 2019 | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1386640/medical-marijuana-users-struggle-to-keep-up-with-costs.html


“Josh McCurdy with the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Advocate Alliance said the state should focus on making sure patients in rural areas have access to cannabis before branching out to recreational legalization. McCurdy lives in Ruidoso and said many dispensaries in his area have a hard time keeping up with demand.”
‘Mixed responses to suggestions from marijuana legalization work group’ | NM Political Report | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/10/17/mixed-responses-to-suggestions-from-legalization-work-group/



Resources for Policy Makers by Americans For Safe AccessInformation for policy makers on drafting and implementing patient-centric medical cannabis legislation and regulations, including state-by-state guides and comparison charts.
https://www.safeaccessnow.org/policy_shop 




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

Of the new health conditions added to the medical cannabis program 2018-2019, 5 of those new ones 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.]

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Senate Bill 204 - Medical Cannabis in Schools Law - 2020 Proposed Amendments


Senate Bill 204 - Medical Cannabis in Schools - Proposed Amendments
(Proposed changes needed highlighted in yellow and amended items have been striked through)
Amended sections are A and C.

SECTION 1. A new section of the Public School Code is enacted to read: "MEDICAL CANNABIS--POSSESSION--STORAGE--ADMINISTRATION--RESTRICTION--
EXEMPTION-- 

A. Medical cannabis, in a non-smokable form, may be administered to a qualified patient who is enrolled in school, at the school of enrollment, by school personnel, if a school has a policy in place for allowing administration of medication at school.  
Except as provided pursuant to Subsection C of this section, local school boards and the governing bodies of charter schools shall adopt policies and procedures to authorize the possession, storage and administration of medical cannabis by parents and legal guardians, or by designated school personnel, to qualified students for use in school settings; provided that: 
(1) a student shall not possess, store or self-administer medical cannabis in a school setting; 
(2) a parent, legal guardian or designated school personnel administration of medical cannabis shall not administer medical cannabis be in a manner that creates disruption to the educational environment or causes other students to be exposed to medical cannabis;
(3) a written treatment plan for the administration of the medical cannabis is agreed to and signed by the principal or the principal's designee of the qualified student's school and the qualified student's parent or legal guardian; and 
(4) before the first administration of medical cannabis in a school setting, the qualified student's parent or legal guardian completes and submits documentation as required by local school board or charter school rules that includes a: 
(a) copy of the qualified student's written certification for use of medical cannabis pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act; and 
(b) written statement from the qualified student's parent or legal guardian releasing the school and school personnel from liability, except in cases of willful or wanton misconduct or disregard of the qualified student's treatment plan. 

B. A school board or the governing body of a charter school may adopt policies that: 
(1) restrict the types of designated school personnel who may administer medical cannabis to qualified students; 
(2) establish reasonable parameters regarding the administration and use of medical cannabis and the school settings in which administration and use are authorized; and 
(3) ban student possession, use, distribution, sale or being under the influence of a cannabis product in a manner that is inconsistent with the provisions of this subsection. 

C. The provisions of Subsection A of this section shall not apply to a charter school or school district, after the enacted date of the Medical Cannabis in Schools Act/Law, if: 
(1) the charter school or school district reasonably determines that it would lose, or has lost, federal funding as a result of implementing the provisions of Subsection A of this section; and 
(2) the determination is appealable by any parent to the secretary, based on rules established by the department. 

D. A public school, charter school or school district shall not: 
(1) discipline a student who is a qualified student on the basis that the student requires medical cannabis as a reasonable accommodation necessary for the student to attend school; 
(2) deny eligibility to attend school to a qualified student on the basis that the qualified student requires medical cannabis as a reasonable accommodation necessary for the student to attend school or a school-sponsored activity; or 
(3) discipline a school employee who refuses to administer medical cannabis. 

E. As used in this section: 
(1) "certifying practitioner" means a health care practitioner who issues a written certification to a qualified student; 
(2) "designated school personnel" 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 this section; 
(3) "medical cannabis" means cannabis that is: 
(a) authorized for use by qualified patients in accordance with the provisions of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act; and 
(b) in a form that is not an aerosol and cannot be smoked or inhaled in particulate form as a vapor or by burning; 
(4) "qualified student" means a student who demonstrates evidence to the school district that the student is authorized as a qualified patient pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act to carry and use medical cannabis in accordance with the provisions of that act; 
(5) "school" means a public school or a charter school; 
(6) "school setting" means any of the following locations during a school day: 
(a) a school building; 
(b) a school bus used within the state during, in transit to or in transit from a school-sponsored activity; 
(c) a public vehicle used within the state during, in transit to or in transit from a school-sponsored activity in the state; or 
(d) a public site in the state where a school-sponsored activity takes place; and 
(7) "written certification" means a statement in a qualified student's medical records or a statement signed by a qualified student's certifying practitioner that, in the certifying practitioner's professional opinion, the qualified student has a debilitating medical condition and the certifying practitioner believes that the potential health benefits of the medical use of cannabis would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualified student. A written certification is not valid for more than one year from the date of issuance." 

SECTION 2. Section 26-2B-5 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 2007, Chapter 210, Section 5) is amended to read:"26-2B-5. 
PROHIBITIONS, RESTRICTIONS AND LIMITATIONS ON THE MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS--CRIMINAL PENALTIES.-- 
A. Participation in a medical use of cannabis program by a qualified patient or primary caregiver does not relieve the qualified patient or primary caregiver from: 
(1) criminal prosecution or civil penalties for activities not authorized in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act; 
(2) liability for damages or criminal prosecution arising out of the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis; or 
(3) criminal prosecution or civil penalty for possession or use of cannabis: 
(a) in the workplace of the qualified patient's or primary caregiver's employment; or 
(b) at a public park, recreation center, youth center or other public place. 
B. A person who makes a fraudulent representation to a law enforcement officer about the person's participation in a medical use of cannabis program to avoid arrest or prosecution for a cannabis-related offense is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and shall be sentenced in accordance with the provisions of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978. 
C. If a licensed producer sells, distributes, dispenses or transfers cannabis to a person not approved by the department pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act or obtains or transports cannabis outside New Mexico in violation of federal law, the licensed producer shall be subject to arrest, prosecution and civil or criminal penalties pursuant to state law.

###

Link to original law: 
https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/19%20Regular/final/SB0204.pdf

References: 
“Medical cannabis, in a non-smokable form, may be administered to a qualified patient who is enrolled in school, at the school of enrollment, by school personnel, if a school has a policy in place for allowing administration of medication at school.” 
Source: Council of the District of Columbia (DC Public Schools) |  Student Medical Marijuana Patient Fairness Amendment Act of 2019 | http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/43326/B23-0467-Introduction.pdf | http://lims.dccouncil.us/Legislation/B23-0467 






Monday, January 20, 2020

The Second Session of the 54th Legislature | Medical Cannabis Policy Report 2019-2020



Safe Access New Mexico 

Albuquerque, NM

www.cannabisnewsjournal.co


The Second Session of the 54th Legislature | Medical Cannabis Policy Report 2019-2020

Unfortunately this past year, the PED ignored the medical cannabis in schools law the legislative body passed allowing APS, Rio Rancho, and schools across the state are all now disciplining students and their families, as they are denying eligibility to attend school by not allowing for a reasonable accommodation necessary for the student to attend school as provided in the SB-204 law.

Today the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has over 80,257 registered participants with almost 300 of those participants being pediatric medical cannabis patients. The medical cannabis program now has 28 qualifying health conditions, six new health conditions were added in 2019. Of the new health conditions added to the medical cannabis program in 2019, five (5) of those new ones were Petitioned by Safe Access New Mexico, approved by medical cannabis advisory board, and added into the program by the Dept. of Health.

The Dept. of Health has issued 35 licenses for the production of medical cannabis but currently there are only 34 active licenses or LNPPs and those 34 LNPP’s operate over 85 dispensaries across New Mexico. One producer had their license taken away by the Dept. of Health and nothing has been done to license a new program producer.

These 34 medical cannabis producers are now growing 39,400 cannabis plants in a 3-5 month cycle which only provides ½ of a medical cannabis plant worth of medicine per patient. The state has a serious issue with Adequate Supply for the Medical Cannabis Program and when patients can’t buy what they need at a dispensary they are then forced to the black market to find what they need.

Unfortunately 2019 has been a rough year for the state medical cannabis program participants. Please keep the focus on cannabis policy in 2020 on the medical cannabis program and protecting the program like Governor Lujan Grisham has promised. There has also not been any state legislator that has informed the patient community of any legislation to address any of these problems in the medical cannabis program, once more this past year the patients voice has been ignored.

The state has three medical cannabis laws, all three have multiple violations being allowed to occur in 2019 and now; and all of these violations are being ignored by the State of New Mexico.

1.Medical Cannabis in School Law was improperly enacted by the Public Education Department (SB-204) and the law is not being followed. Kids are still being discriminated against by the schools.

2. "Adequate Supply" and "Purpose of the act" in the original The Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act are not being followed.

The fact of the matter with the New Mexico medical cannabis program plant count being decreased from 2500 cannabis plants to 1750 cannabis plants in 2019, that was done as a means of price control, period. It had nothing to do with “Adequate Supply”, as the medical cannabis program law demands.

The Program has over 80,000 participants and the program grows less than 40,000 cannabis plants that clearly is not “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


3. The Dept. of Health, MCP Office, and the MCAB did not fulfill their duties and responsibilities for the LECUA law (2007) in 2019.

The advisory board shall convene at least twice per year. Nor were the Public hearing responsibilities followed or fulfilled for the MCAB hearing as outlined in law and Rules & Regs. The chairperson did not conduct a fair and impartial proceeding, did not assure that the facts were fully elicited and now the hearing completion is delayed.

‘Cannabis advisory board meeting unable to address qualifying conditions due to lack of quorum’ By Andy Lyman | NM Political Report | December 10, 2019 | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/12/10/cannabis-advisory-board-meeting-unable-to-address-qualifying-conditions-due-to-lack-of-quorum/


Governor Lujan Grisham has said that she wants the medical cannabis program protected before recreational cannabis legalization. And that is exactly where the focus should be - on the medical cannabis program.

More concerning is the fact that the Governor’s Legalization Work Group Recommendations Open The Door To Federal Interference. The US Senate sent President Trump the Fiscal Year 2020 spending legislation that continues a budget rider protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference. Congressional negotiators cut House-passed measures protecting all state cannabis laws from federal interference and cut the measure allowing cannabis banking from 2020 spending legislation. The bill also continues a budget rider blocking Washington, D.C. from spending its own money to regulate recreational cannabis sales.

Medical cannabis patients in New Mexico and the state of New Mexico may find themselves without those federal protections as the Governor’s Legalization Work Group recommends adopting a totally new model for a joint medical-adult use program in New Mexico.

Those federal CJS Medical Cannabis budget rider protections do not apply to a joint medical-adult use program laws. This would also have a devastating impact on the new medical cannabis in schools law, if the state is not protected from Federal interference.
Read more about this at: ‘Governor’s Legalization Group Recommendations Open The Door To Federal Interference’ | Cannabis News Journal | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/12/governors-legalization-group.html

This is exactly why the medical cannabis program laws need to be separate from any proposed legalization legislation in New Mexico for 2020.

Using the state’s medical cannabis program to create a recreational cannabis program will result in great harm coming to the state’s medical cannabis program, Americans For Safe Access policy expertise advises that any system of regulation should not be built on the backs of current medical cannabis laws.

Issues such as access, police harassment, and the price and quality of medicine will still be relevant to the patient community despite the adoption of a policy of legalization for recreational use. The federal refusal to recognize the medical efficacy of cannabis causes more harm and difficulty for patients than any failure by local or state governments to adopt policies of legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Any system of regulation should not be built on the backs of current medical cannabis laws.

The legalization of cannabis for recreational use is a separate issue from safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use. Americans For Safe Access cautions policy makers against letting the debate surrounding the legalization of cannabis for recreational use obscure the science and policy regarding the medical use of cannabis.

Safe Access New Mexico will follow this report up with a Recreational Cannabis Legalization Policy Report.

To learn more about Safe Access New Mexico please view our Community Report here:
‘Safe Access New Mexico 2019 Community Advocacy Report’ | Cannabis News Journal | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/11/safe-access-new-mexico-2019-community.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.”
‘Policy Letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Formally Requesting Cannabis Legislation for 2020’ | Cannabis News Journal | Sent Oct. 2019 |
http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/10/policy-letter-to-governor-michelle.html


Please defer recreational cannabis to a special session in the fall of 2020, if the proponents are right about the financial gains for the state then recreational cannabis sales will easily cover the state’s cost at doing the special session for legalization.

Please keep the focus on cannabis policy in 2020 on the medical cannabis program and protecting the program like Governor Lujan Grisham has promised.

The news stories and articles from the last year and into 2020 clearly show the need to fix the state's medical cannabis program...

2019 - 2020 New Mexico Medical Cannabis in the News

“The PED, APS, Rio Rancho, and schools across the state are all disciplining students and their families, as they are denying eligibility to attend school by not allowing for a reasonable accommodation necessary for the student to attend school.”
‘Fix medical pot before going recreational’ | Jan. 2020 | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1409174/fix-medical-pot-before-going-recreational.html


“We do enabling legislation and it’s up to the districts to do the right thing, and in this instance they’ve done the opposite of the right thing,” he said. “They’ve abused their authority and discretion to deny kids an education, period.” (Senator Candelaria)
‘Legislators could strip school districts of discretion over medical cannabis in schools’ | NM Political Report | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/10/28/legislators-could-strip-school-districts-of-discretion-over-medical-cannabis-in-schools/


‘Policy Letter Seeks Executive Order By New Mexico's Governor For Medical Cannabis in School Law’ | Cannabis New Journal | Sent Oct. 2019 | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/10/policy-letter-seeks-executive-order-by.html


‘Legislators pushing for revisions to medical marijuana in school law’ | KRQE 13 | https://www.krqe.com/news/health-news/legislators-pushing-for-revisions-to-medical-marijuana-in-school-law/


‘APS medical pot directive: Parents must dose kids at school’ Sept. 2019 | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1364958/aps-medical-pot-directive-parents-must-dose-their-kids.html


‘Who should administer cannabis in schools?’ | Rio Rancho Observer | https://www.abqjournal.com/1372600/who-should-administer-cannabis-in-schools.html


“I’m disappointed and dismayed at how this was implemented,” Sen. Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, D-Albuquerque, said during a hearing at the Capitol.”
‘Legislators may revisit law on medical cannabis at school’ Oct. 2019 | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1382766/legislators-may-revisit-school-cannabis-law.html


‘No medical cannabis at schools despite new state law’ | KOAT 7 | https://www.koat.com/article/no-medical-cannabis-at-schools-despite-new-state-law/28791724


‘Medical marijuana advocates concerned over recreational cannabis proposals’ | KOB 4 News | https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/medical-marijuana-advocates-concerned-over-recreational-cannabis-proposals/5530502/


“But the parts of the law that are supposed to protect patients from losing their jobs solely for being a patient in the program may also be hindering the nearly 79,000 cannabis patients in New Mexico from getting a job with the state. That’s because the law also protects employers by giving them enough autonomy to fire or not hire a cannabis patient for safety concerns or if the employer could lose federal funding for hiring a cannabis user.”
‘State job opportunities limited for medical cannabis patients’ Dec. 2019 | NM Political Report | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/12/06/state-job-opportunities-limited-for-medical-cannabis-patients/


“Josh McCurdy with the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Advocate Alliance said the state should focus on making sure patients in rural areas have access to cannabis before branching out to recreational legalization. McCurdy lives in Ruidoso and said many dispensaries in his area have a hard time keeping up with demand.”
‘Mixed responses to suggestions from marijuana legalization work group’ | NM Political Report | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/10/17/mixed-responses-to-suggestions-from-legalization-work-group/


“If lawmakers in New Mexico are going to take on the failed war on drugs, then please finish what you started with medical cannabis. Please focus on how the Medical Cannabis in Schools law passed this year is being ignored by the Public Education Department and all the schools that are keeping kids who are medical cannabis patients from being able to attend their school.”
‘Work group’s plan will devastate medical pot’ | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1383936/work-groups-plan-will-devastate-medical-pot.html?fbclid=IwAR0aBEuhgvrS4FKSeEPROpHUaMOCJNmIpYBXv1_d8mJtXcvME8zQy7UpQXQ


‘NM drinking water is the wrong source to irrigate pot farms’ | Albuquerque Journal | Tuesday, January 14th, 2020 at 12:02am | https://www.abqjournal.com/1409520/nm-drinking-water.html


"New Mexico as it stands just does not have the logistics for recreation, said Chad Lozano, secretary of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patients Advocate Alliance.”
‘Medical cannabis experts caution against New Mexico’s push to legalize recreationally’ | ABC 7 KVIA | https://kvia.com/news/2019/12/23/medical-cannabis-experts-caution-against-new-mexicos-push-to-legalize-recreationally/


‘Advocates petition to allow medical cannabis to be administered to animals’ | Dec. 2019 | KOB 4 | https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/advocates-petition-to-allow-medical-cannabis-to-be-administered-to-animals/5574622/?cat=500


All news stories about my dog, Tecumseh, and his petition I did with Safe Access New Mexico:

“Board stalls on medical marijuana policy”
‘RRPS wrestling with bus deficits, medical pot’ | Nov. 2019 | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1387944/rrps-wrestling-with-bus-deficits-medical-pot.html


‘Medical marijuana users struggle to keep up with costs’ | Nov. 2019 | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1386640/medical-marijuana-users-struggle-to-keep-up-with-costs.html


The school district is now breaking the law by failing to meet the "reasonable accommodation" aspect of the law by forcing parents to come to school when school personnel need to be doing their job and handling the student's medication needs.
‘Social Equity and New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis in Schools Law’ | Cannabis News Journal | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/09/social-equity-and-new-mexicos-medical.html
‘Aztec school board approves medical cannabis policy for students’ | FDT | https://www.daily-times.com/story/news/2019/12/20/medical-marijuana-policy-approved-for-aztec-schools-students/2690991001/


“A person who is serving a period of probation or parole or who is in the custody or under the supervision of the state or a local government pending trial as part of a community supervision program shall not be penalized for conduct allowed under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.” NM Stat § 26-2B-10”
‘Medical cannabis patient asks judge to allow cannabis on house arrest’ By Andy Lyman | NM Political Report | Jan. 2020 | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2020/01/09/medical-cannabis-patient-asks-judge-to-allow-cannabis-on-house-arrest/


“Fifty-five percent of our producers are having trouble meeting the demand for those products already and if over half of the people in the program can't produce that quickly enough, if we roll into a recreational law then it would be a great concern for me and a lot of the other patients,”
‘Medical marijuana advocates concerned over recreational cannabis proposals’ | KOB 4 News | https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/medical-marijuana-advocates-concerned-over-recreational-cannabis-proposals/5530502/?cat=500


“Under the new fee schedule, it will be impossible for all producers to meet the 1,750 maximum and cultivate an adequate supply of medicine for patients,”
‘Cannabis producer says state is pricing out smaller producers, limiting access to medicine’ | NM Political Report | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/10/21/cannabis-producer-says-state-is-pricing-out-smaller-producers-limiting-access-to-medicine/


“the fact that Lujan Grisham’s group recommends the state subsidize medical marijuana through the recreational market — if one is approved — and supply the medical market first, doesn’t cut it.
The $180,000 in annual fees for growing the maximum amount is far too prohibitive for most growers, he said, and until medical marijuana is covered through Medicaid and private health insurance, patients will always be at risk of a supply shortage. But he sees the cap on plants per producer as the biggest problem.”
‘Medical pot producer sees hole in New Mexico legalization report’ | Santa Fe New Mexican | https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/medical-pot-producer-sees-hole-in-new-mexico-legalization-report/article_e7e0e4d0-2ccf-5dbc-8127-c4b30fd134e8.html


‘Students who depend on medical cannabis one step closer to getting it at school’ | Aug. 2019 | KOAT 7 | https://www.koat.com/article/school-districts-to-decide-how-medical-cannabis-will-be-administered-to-students/28836362


‘Homework for PED: Make rules match law on medical pot’ | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1350592/homework-for-ped-make-rules-match-law-on-medical-pot.html


‘New Mexico is now the 8th Medical Cannabis State to allow Safe Access to Medical Cannabis at Schools’ | April 11, 2019 | Americans For Safe Access | https://www.safeaccessnow.org/new_mexico_is_now_the_8th_medical_cannabis_state_to_allow_safe_access_to_medical_cannabis_at_schools


“Legislators listened at a public hearing as University of New Mexico economics professor Sarah Stith cautioned against legalization measures that might make retail prices uncompetitive with Colorado’s recreational market, through restrictions on supplies or excessive taxation.”
‘Some Democrats, Including Papen, Not Yet Endorsing Marijuana Legalization’ | KRWG
https://www.krwg.org/post/some-democrats-including-papen-not-yet-endorsing-marijuana-legalization


‘Dad pleads for medical cannabis’ | Friday, November 22nd, 2019 | ABQ Journal | https://www.abqjournal.com/1394537/dad-pleads-for-medical-cannabis.html


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


‘Cannabis advisory board meeting unable to address qualifying conditions due to lack of quorum’ By Andy Lyman | NM Political Report | December 10, 2019 | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/12/10/cannabis-advisory-board-meeting-unable-to-address-qualifying-conditions-due-to-lack-of-quorum/


‘So Tired of Still Fighting for Medical Cannabis Rights’ | National Pain Report | 07.28.2019 | http://nationalpainreport.com/so-tired-of-still-fighting-for-medical-cannabis-rights-8840612.html


‘Governor’s Legalization Group Recommendations Open The Door To Federal Interference’ | Cannabis News Journal | http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/12/governors-legalization-group.html


“On a Sunday afternoon over Labor Day weekend, a masked man, armed with a gun, burst through the doors of an Albuquerque medical cannabis dispensary. About two minutes later, he walked back out the door, with an estimated $5,000 worth of cannabis products. In that time, the man hopped over a glass display case and corralled employees and at least one patient into one spot while he emptied a large jar of cannabis—and seconds later cannabis concentrates from the display case—into a bag. After he left, the man got into a car waiting in the back and sped off. All of it was caught on security cameras.”
‘NM leaves med. cannabis security specifics up to producers’ Nov. 2019 | NM Political Report | https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2019/11/18/nm-leaves-med-cannabis-security-specifics-up-to-producers/


“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.”
‘Policy Letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Formally Requesting Cannabis Legislation for 2020’ | Cannabis News Journal | Sent Oct. 2019 |
http://www.cannabisnewsjournal.co/2019/10/policy-letter-to-governor-michelle.html



Resources for Policy Makers by Americans For Safe Access
Information for policy makers on drafting and implementing patient-centric medical cannabis legislation and regulations, including state-by-state guides and comparison charts.
https://www.safeaccessnow.org/policy_shop


Sources: ‘Congress sends spending deal to Trump, ending shutdown threat’ | 12/19/2019 | Politico | https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/19/senate-moves-to-avoid-shutdown-with-passage-of-spending-deal-087898


‘House-Passed Marijuana Amendments Stripped From Congressional Spending Bills’ | December 16, 2019 | https://www.marijuanamoment.net/house-passed-marijuana-amendments-stripped-from-congressional-spending-bills/


‘Work group’s plan will devastate medical pot’ | October 28th, 2019 | https://www.abqjournal.com/1383936/work-groups-plan-will-devastate-medical-pot.html


‘The House of Representatives approved Fiscal Year 2020 spending legislation that continues a rider protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference but also blocks Washington, D.C. from spending its own money to legalize marijuana sales.’ | https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/17/house-passes-massive-deal-to-fund-government-and-avoid-shutdown-086514



[ About Jason Barker: He is an advocate for Safe Access New Mexico, an Affiliate of Americans For Safe Access; a freelance writer for Cannabis News Journal; and a medical cannabis patient in New Mexico.
Of the new health conditions added to the medical cannabis program 2018-2019, 5 of those new ones 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.]



Safe Access New Mexico ~ An Affiliate of Americans For Safe Access
UNITE-NETWORK-GROW-ADVOCACY-ACTION-POLICY-EDUCATION-VOTE-HEALTH-WELLNESS

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Fix medical pot before going recreational


Fix medical pot before going recreational


BY JASON BARKER / ORGANIZER, SAFE ACCESS NEW MEXICO AND MEDICAL CANNABIS PATIENT
Monday, January 13th, 2020 at 12:02am

Social equity is a concept that applies concerns of justice and fairness to social policy. Since the 1960s, the concept of social equity has been used in a variety of institutional contexts, including education, public health and public administration.

The Public Education Department, Albuquerque Public Schools, Rio Rancho Public Schools, and the vast majority of schools in our state all have failed to establish reasonable parameters as provided for in the medical cannabis schools law. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham did not address this issue at the education town hall in December but since has pushed for her agenda for recreational cannabis legalization.

The state has three medical cannabis laws, all have multiple violations being allowed to occur and all are being ignored by the state of New Mexico. Medical Cannabis in School Law, SB 204, was improperly enacted by the Public Education Department and is not being followed. “Adequate Supply” and “Purpose of the act” in the original Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act are not being followed. Lastly, the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board did not fulfill its duties and responsibilities for the medical cannabis law.

The medical cannabis in schools law is written very clearly, and the PED and schools do not have the ability to change how the law was written or change the intent of how the law was written.

Medical cannabis is not a prescription and not prescribed. People in the state’s medical cannabis program have a recommendation for the medical cannabis program from doctors and nurses.

School personnel who would administer medical cannabis would be fulfilling that recommendation for that person’s certification into the program. These medical cannabis products allowed for use in schools are not a prescription, they are exempt from the state’s Controlled Substances Act, and these products are safer than using aspirin.

The PED, APS, Rio Rancho, and schools across the state are all disciplining students and their families, as they are denying eligibility to attend school by not allowing for a reasonable accommodation necessary for the student to attend school.

School personnel would be conducting activities authorized in the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act and the Medical Cannabis in Schools law, the school nurse would be doing so as “designated school personnel,” and it would not constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualified patient who is a student from medical care at school.

Even further, the New Mexico School Health Manual states: “If there is not a school nurse to delegate medication administration the best practice is to have a parent/guardian administer the medication to reduce potential risk to the student and school district. This alternative is found to be impractical and may not be an option if the parent/guardian is not able, capable, or is unwilling.”

The intent of the Medical Cannabis in Schools law is to allow for that reasonable accommodation to be created. That reasonable accommodation allows these families to have a life by being able to go to work and to create a better future for their families. This allows for their student to go to school.

The Medical Cannabis in Schools law is clearly written in a way for that reasonable accommodation to be met by the PED and 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. And the Governor’s Office should have been performing its duty to see that this law of the state was faithfully executed.

New Mexico needs to fix the medical cannabis program before passing a recreational cannabis law, period.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1409174/fix-medical-pot-before-going-recreational.html

Monday, January 6, 2020

Mara Gordon: Teaching Doctors about Cannabis

Mara Gordon: Teaching Doctors about Cannabis


How Aunt Zelda’s is Bridging the Gap Between Cannabis and the Medical Establishment

By Gooey Rabinski (Credit Emerald Magazine's 2017 Women of Cannabis Issue)

Photo by Beth Schlanker
  In a world increasingly focused on cannabis as a profit commodity, one company — and one woman — stand apart. In 2011, after having successfully treated herself and her husband using cannabis oil, Mara Gordon decided that not enough was being done to educate doctors and medical professionals regarding the efficacy of cannabis.
  In response, Gordon, along with partner Stewart Smith, founded Aunt Zelda’s, a small company in Sonoma County, California that frames itself as “a pioneering, data-driven developer of cannabis-based plant medicines.”
  The crux of this cannabis company’s approach is accurate titration (dosing) and the production of pure organic medicine using only the cleanest, safest processes. Gordon’s company also develops therapeutic protocols used by physicians and medical specialists around the world. She and her staff work closely with doctors and practitioners to gauge the real-world efficacy of various treatment protocols based on her company’s cannabis oil.
  Aunt Zelda’s medical protocols involve only sublingual consumption of its proprietary cannabis oil, not smoking, vaping, or ingestion of edibles.
  The company employs ethanol extraction and also produces an infused olive oil topical. According to Gordon, sublingual administration produces the highest bioavailability of all consumption methods.
  Gordon recently gave the Emerald Magazine an exclusive interview, explaining her passion for the medical efficacy of the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis and her effort to educate medical professionals.
Emerald Magazine: Why did you start Aunt Zelda’s in 2011?
Mara Gordon: We started Aunt Zelda’s as a response to the fact that there was no available accurately dosed, lab-tested cannabis medicines available at the time. And it wasn’t because we saw a market niche that we were going to fill to make a lot of money… we saw a patient need that had to be filled.
There were really sick people who were getting very bad directions and inferior products. We thought, this is ridiculous, let’s just do this ourselves. That was the mind set with which we approached starting the company. The days of the rice crispy treat in a dirty baggy are behind us. It was supposed to be five to 20 doses, whatever a ‘dose’ meant… that was the level of professionalism in this industry when we first became aware that there was medical cannabis out there, because we were patients, both my husband and I.
I had been on many pharmaceuticals and was in very severe. Cannabis has replaced all of my pain medicines. My husband, who had a broken back that required surgery, did not want to have surgery and then be addicted to opioids the rest of his life. He had over 20 years of sobriety and he wasn’t going to risk it. So we started researching cannabis as a viable option.
Emerald: So the Aunt Zelda’s journey began as a personal experience?
MG: It was a very personal experience. The funny part of it is that I didn’t know anybody in California who had any cannabis, so I didn’t know where I could get it. After obtaining a 215 recommendation here, I went up to Oregon and got a license there and bought two ounces of XXX Chemdawg. I came back to California and made my first infused oil with it. I put that oil into the carrot cake recipe passed down to me from my Aunt Zelda, thus the name of the company, and started dosing. From the first time that we tried cannabis, [….] I began taking notes. I started weighing every piece and noting how long it took to take effect. I documented the effects and after effects.
Emerald: How did you transition from self-medicating with your husband to helping others get clean cannabis-derived medicine in accurate doses?
MG: When doing research, I located a patient who had a double lung and heart transplant. I was able to work with her. We weighed every piece and measured it and she was giving us very good feedback. We thought, there’s gotta be a way to accurately and consistently dose this and I’m gonna figure it out.
Emerald: In an industry and a culture dominated by recreational use, what is a dose? Some young people in Humboldt County dab 25 or 30 times a day. They eat edibles, in a single sitting, that contain between 250 milligrams and 500 milligrams of THC.
MG: And they don’t have cancer? They don’t have some serious disease?
Emerald: No. They’re taking enormous doses recreationally.
MG: That to me is just completely […] unnecessary. The average person’s endocannabinoid system does not require 200 milligrams of cannabinoids to have a response. If they do, they need to go through a reset, because that’s just absurd.
Emerald: You’ve been lecturing internationally on a regular basis. What are you trying to achieve?
MG: To enlighten the medical community and legislators around the world that cannabis can be accurately and consistently dosed. Because the biggest obstacle to the acceptance of cannabis as a medicine, in my opinion, is the popular perception that it cannot be dosed, that it can’t be consistent or accurate.
But this is just not true. It takes work. But it can be done.
Emerald: What is your opinion of extractions of particular cannabinoids and terpenes versus ‘whole plant’ medicine?
MG: It’s complex, but I believe that whole plant is far more effective. My goal is to take the fear and uncertainty out of it, so that we can get more generalized acceptance of cannabis as medicine.
Emerald: It’s about a lot more than a single molecule called THC.
MG: Absolutely. Or CBD. Or CBG. Or CBC. Or THCv. It’s the whole thing. It is the entourage effect. In fact, we’ve done some pre-clinical studies using our medicine and comparing whole plant medicine to single molecule…what’s called ‘isolate.’ Whole plant has shown to be far more effective.
Emerald: Is there a message you’d like to leave readers?
MG: Cannabis is not a panacea. It’s science. It’s a beautiful, amazing plant and I’m so grateful that we have it, but I don’t pray to the cannabis plant any more than I pray to my thyroid medicine. It’s all chemistry.
http://theemeraldmagazine.com/