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
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