NM DOH Releases new Proposed Rule Changes for Producers and Patients

Discussion in 'New Mexico (NM)' started by Reynold Greenleaf, May 11, 2014.

  1. Reynold Greenleaf

    Reynold Greenleaf Registered+

    Hey New Mexico,

    Looks like the powers that be in Santa Fe are at it again trying to restrict your rights as a medical cannabis user. They have ignored continued calls for increases in the license terms (the time between registering and renewing) and are now proposing to limit the amount you can buy during a thirty day period (this even though the law clearly states now that you have the right to possess up to six ounces at any given time - now they want you to only be able to buy or possess six ounces in a thirty day period.)

    Medical Cannabis

    Get online now and review these new rules and become outraged. Then make plans to attend the June 16th meeting in Santa Fe. Your rights depend on it!!!!

    Sincerely,

    Reynold Greenleaf
     
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  2. GATXBUCK

    GATXBUCK Registered+

    Copied from The New Mexicann's May 17th newsletter & written by Len Goodman,Executive Director of New Mexicann,a Sante Fe producer...


    For months, I have attempted to convince the Dept. of Health to take advantage of our front line experience cultivating and distributing Medicine to Patients. I had hoped that we could sit down and review their thinking on changes to the Regulations - but to no avail. These regulations were created with no input from knowledgeable Producers who understand their impact on patients. In an attempt to address the Supply Shortage as per the Dept.'s own survey, they are about to dramatically make the situation much worse. Perhaps this could have been avoided if those of us with knowledge had been given a seat at the table. We are supposed to be partners in implementing the Compassionate Use Act. Now it is too late. The Proposed Regulations have been published. The Department has caused what could have been a cooperative partnership for the benefit all to become an adversarial relationship. They have drawn hard battle lines and we must now engage.
    Are the Proposed Regulations the result of a deliberate conspiracy to destroy the program, stupidity or incompetence? Is this all coming from the Governor's Office or from Department Staff? We will probably never know. What we do know is that we are in for a massive fight - one that we must win or we will all loose our Medicine.
    Many of the Proposed Regulations are good - or at least appear to be. But in almost all instances, each positive change has an IED planted in it that will destroy Patient Access to Medicine (from Producers, Personal Production Licenses and the Street). As Patients and as Producers we must suit up for battle and mobilize on all fronts. The Administration, in the guise of helping, is about to destroy the Medical Cannabis Program in our state.
    A great media piece appeared in the Sierra County Sentinel, May 16 issue, thanks to Jayme at MJ Expresso. I will try to get a download and pass it on to you in a separate email.

    Let's start with a few key issues:

    1. Patients will now have to pay $50 annually for their Registry Card - unless you are poor and on Medicaid and then the cost drops to $25.

    2. Patients wishing to grow their own will have to pay $30 annually unless on Medicaid - forget poverty level and Vets with the VA.

    3. Patients applying for Personal Production Licenses will have to get fingerprinted and have a National Background check done. Better not tell the FBI that you are a Cannabis Patient or you will be denied - and it is costly and can take up to 3 months.

    4. Personal Production plant count is cut in half to 2 mature plants plus 6 seedlings.

    5. Patients acquiring Medicine from anyone other than Licensed Non Profit Producers or from their own Gardens are now subject to having their MCP Cannabis Card revoked by the Department.

    6. Producers can still make deliveries to Patients, but we can no longer share as we have done. That means that each Producer can only deliver its own packages - and that is simply not cost effective.

    7. Courier Services can now be licensed. Great BUT they cannot keep the package in their possession for more than 24 hours. The Courier Services must spend one day picking up packages from Santa Fe and Albuquerque from Producers to take to its hub for sorting. It then takes 3 days and 2 nights to make a quadrant loop to deliver packages to many cities and town over one quadrant in our very large state. Missed delivery packages can no longer be left with the local producer and must be returned to the source Producer. Do that in 24 hours - IED booby trap. Result - no more deliveries to rural Patients.

    8. Mandatory Product Testing - great, we need it. But they have ignored the standards other states are using. Instead of implementing the proper standards and protocols, the Dept. has opted to use a pharmaceutical grade protocol that NO organic food product can meet - NONE. The result will be that NO CANNABIS will pass testing and be allowed to be distributed to Patients. That will be the end of all smokeable Cannabis flowers and leaf. Patients will only be able to purchase concentrated oil.

    9. In addition to batch testing for Cannabinoid quantification and Microbiological safety (which is the right thing to do), the Proposed Regulations call for batch testing for pesticides and heavy metals. Testimg for these is fine, but here is the IED booby trap embedded in the Proposed Regs. Every batch needs to be tested - not random sampling as is FDA's protocol to insure product safety and compliant. Batch testing for all these panels for every batch will cost at least $800. That means that gram prices will have to be raised by $2 to cover this completely unnecessary batch testing for heavy metals and pesticides. Medicine is already to expensive and now it will go up.

    10. It will take some $250,000 to install the equipment to test for heavy metals and pesticides. With only 23 Producers no lab will be able to recover its costs unless they raise the test costs to at least $1,200 which will add another $1 to the gram price. It is unlikely that the one currently certified lab in NM will continue in business and out-of-state labs who were considering entering the market have now backed off. It is simply not a viable business model for them. With no testing available in the state, no Producer will be able to distribute medicine.

    11. Manufacturers for edibles can now be licensed - great. BUT unnecessary batch testing makes it economically unfeasible. At New MexiCann, we will have to test each batch of fudge. That means our 100 bar batch will cost $800 to test and we will have to add at least $8 to each bar. That will take our Fudge Bar, that so many of our Patients depend on, for pain relief and sleep from $15 a bar to at least $23 a bar! You gotta be kidding. Most Producers will have to eliminate most edibles from their menus.

    12. Producers currently pay $30,000 annually to renew their license. For that, we are allowed to have 150 plants growing at one time. Depending on grow styles, Producers keep from 75 to 100 plants in flower and the rest in veg. The Proposed Regs call for a base renewal fee of $30,000 for 150 plants, but only 50 of those will be permitted to be in flower. You thought we had a shortage before? Producers will loose 1/3 to 1/2 their yields under the new structure and that means the shortage will get much much worse and the price per gram will have to go up to make up for the lost yield in order to cover our very high overheads and compliance costs.

    13. Producers can grow more plants BUT to go from the current 75 or 100 in flower up to 150 in flower, the Dept. will be charging the Producers $90,000 annually. That is an increase of $60,000 for an additional 50 to 75 flowering plants. Thanks for the plant increase DoH, but if we choose to accept your offer, bud prices will sky rocket and Patients either have to purchase less than they need or turn to the Street (which is now a violation of Patients' License).

    14. The $90,000 renewal fee is Non Refundable. That means a Producer will be borrowing money to place a bet that their License will be renewed. What if it isn't? Who can do that? Many of the current Producers (possibly half) are undecided whether or not they will continue in business after Dec. 31, 2014. What will that do for the shortage. Even if DoH issues new licenses, it will take new Producers six month before and replacement Medicine gets into the hands of Patients - and the experience of all Producers is that it takes at least 18 months to dial in a new large scale grow and and achieve adequate yields.



    The Producers, Patient Alliances and National Policy Organizations are coming together to fight this brutal attach on Patients, Producers and the Medical Cannabis Program itself. It is going to get loud. It is going to get visible. It is going to get nasty. It is going to get political. It is going to get litigious. Make no mistake - we are going to war. Medical Cannabis Needs You. Enlist now and become a soldier - fighting for our Medicine, fighting for Social Justice, fighting for our Brothers and Sisters, fighting for our Freedom. They have the power and the heavy weapons. We have our bodies. We have our voices. We have our will. And we will put these on the line We will not just stand on the wall to defend - we will attack. We will charge their artillery with fixed bayonets. We will not forsake our Honor or our Integrity - for ourselves, for our brothers and sisters, for our Medicine, for our Country.


    Be Well - Be Blessed, Be a Blessing for Others,
    Len Goodman

    Executive Director, New MexiCann Natural Medicine
     
  3. GATXBUCK

    GATXBUCK Registered+

    :wtf: From what I understand,after being told for awhile by both patients & producers that there was a product shortage in NM because of the max on the # of plants allowed to be grown by producers and the minimun # of producers allowed the New Mexico Dept of Health drug its feet for a few years and spent an absurd amount of taxpayer dollars to find out there was in fact a shortage.For the last 4-5 months we have been hearing that they would increase plant counts and producers to fix the problem and producers claimed this would allow them to reduce the cost by 25% or more.These proposed changes are a load of crap & will only raise prices considerably.The changes in the delivery programs will also cause many patients to have to drive long distances to procure their medicine,only if they have the means and the resources to do so.Personal plant counts cut from 4 to 2?#8 is so completely idiotic it speaks for itself.It seems the NMDH's answer to a shortage is to make it harder if not near impossible for many patients to get the medicine they need,leaving more for those with less financial restrictions.The FBI fingerprinting has the DEA'S signature all over it.One things for sure,these proposed changes will certainly put a smile on Michele Leonharts ugly mug.:mad:

    A public hearing on these new proposed changes is scheduled for June 16th in Sante Fe.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2014
  4. GATXBUCK

    GATXBUCK Registered+

    The doctors that verify chronic pain were given new instructions from the DOH yesterday making it harder to get approved for not only pain but some of the other medical issues covered under the program.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2014
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  5. nomoredrugwar

    nomoredrugwar Registered+

    So, Paul Livingston said that the new rules are courtesy of Attorney General Gary King's office. That true?
     
  6. XgrimXreeferX

    XgrimXreeferX Registered+

    That's a good question.....no answers?......well is anyone going to the public hearing....I sure would like to go....we should try and get as much ppl to go as possible...who's all going? Who all needs a ride?
     
  7. nomoredrugwar

    nomoredrugwar Registered+

    The Medical Cannabis Rules Task Force includes members of the Attorney General's office and the State Medical Board, and was created at the request of Dr. Jenison in February 2013. I believe the NMMCPA and the DPA are funding free bus rides to the meeting from Albuquerque.
     
  8. nomoredrugwar

    nomoredrugwar Registered+

    From the Department of Health website:

    A Notice of Public Hearing has been released explaining that a public hearing on the proposed repeal and replacement of the rules will be held on Monday, December 29 @ 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM in the Harold Runnels Building auditorium, located at 1190 S. St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe to receive public comment regarding proposed changes.

    Written comments may be submitted...
    (by email or regular mail).

    I wonder why the Producer's Guild didn't post a notice about this latest hearing? Could it be that they don't want patients to attend?

    For anyone interested, the changes to the rules have been highlighted in a redlined document on the DOH website, including these additions:

    "The department may require the submittal of a recent photograph, fingerprints, and other biometric identifying information from a patient applicant and primary caregiver applicant.”

    Wikipedia: “Biometrics authentication (or realistic authentication) is used in computer science as a form of identification and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance… Examples include, but are not limited to fingerprint, palm veins, face recognition, DNA, palm print, hand geometry, iris recognition, retina and odour/scent.”

    “The department may refer complaints involving alleged criminal activity made against a qualified patient or primary caregiver to the appropriate New Mexico state or local authorities.”

    There's also some kind of 60% limit on THC, which I really don't understand, but it doesn't sound good.

    I guess the subject of shortages is no longer on the table? Perhaps with the large number of denied renewals, the expensive cost of annually applying for the program (i.e., doctor's visits and tests), and the cost of the medicine, there are a lot fewer dispensary customers... maybe shortages are a thing of the past?

    Well, New Mexico, I had high hopes for this program, but it looks like medical cannabis patients in this state have given up. This program is a mess, is just going to get worse, and no one appears to care. No matter, Colorado is the place to be...
     
  9. nomoredrugwar

    nomoredrugwar Registered+

    I think the reason the producers and the DOH aren't talking about shortages anymore is because the two groups have decided to work even more closely together. And since the current producers intend to fix the shortage on their own, I guess the problem has been solved. Wow, after the DOH survey, I would have thought such a big problem would be harder to fix. But then, I don't remember the DOH or the producers addressing the shortage of quality medicine in this small market, or the unaffordable, high cost.

    And at least one producer has requested that this public meeting not turn into a "circus," which I guess is how some people view what happened at the last public hearing. Yeah, patients traveling all the way to Santa Fe to stand up for their rights -- quite a circus of disabled people.

    The producers feel that, this time, the DOH has actually listened to all the complaints made by patients and producers, which is why the DOH (and the producers) are making so many changes to an already expensive program -- if only those changes were going to make things better. If the DOH (and the producers) had actually listened, wouldn't everything look a lot different now?

    Oh well, it's not like the program needs paying customers... I mean, patients.
     
  10. High Plains

    High Plains Registered+

    Paul Livingston has been DISBARRED
     
  11. High Plains

    High Plains Registered+

    "The high court, acting on recommendations by its disciplinary board, ... disbarred Livingston and authorized disciplinary counsel to take client files of his 25 to 30 open cases..." From: Albuquerque Journal, re a hearing held on August 20, 2014 in Santa Fe. Went on to describe his actions of calling a hearing officer a "dictator" in Albuquerque, which led to City Attorney filing the complaint which led to his disbarment (which was described as "permanent.").
     

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