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Law New Mexico

Baron23

Well-Known Member

New Mexico: Grow Limits Don't Hurt Medical Cannabis Program, Health Chief Testifies


State Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher, testifying Tuesday in a lawsuit against her and her agency, rejected the idea that limits placed on state-licensed marijuana growers ensure that New Mexico will never have an adequate supply for its increasing number of medical cannabis patients.

The lawsuit, one of many the department has faced since being tasked with administering the Medical Cannabis Program launched in 2010, claims that restricting producers to no more than 450 plants at a time is “arbitrary and capricious.”

Patients, producers and current and former state lawmakers have criticized the department in court and in public hearings over a range of issues, including lack of transparency, inefficient systems for renewing the credentials patients need to buy medical cannabis products, and failing to balance supply and demand.

Critics have alleged that Gov. Susana Martinez, who has publicly voiced her opposition to medical marijuana, has waged a passive-aggressive campaign against the program, not trying to repeal the Erin and Lynn Compassionate Use Act but directing officials to subtly sabotage the program by allowing it to become ensnarled in red tape.

The lawsuit now being heard in state District Court in Santa Fe was filed by Nicole Sena of Bernalillo, who says she treats the symptoms of her infant daughter’s rare form of epilepsy with a concentrated oil that requires four times as much cannabis to produce as most other specialized products. Sena asserts that she has had “tremendous difficulty” finding an adequate supply of the oil in New Mexico because of the state’s plant count rules.

“Ms. Sena believes that [producers] in New Mexico would be able to provide an adequate and regular supply” of the oil, the lawsuit says, “if there were not restrictive regulations placed on their production.”

Licensed cannabis producer New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health, which is headed by former state Human Services Secretary Duke Rodriguez, is also a party to the case. The grower commissioned a study that was presented in court by an economist who concluded that if caps on the number of plants are not increased, the state will have a supply deficit of more than 13,000 pounds of cannabis by the first quarter of 2018.

Gallagher said she didn’t agree with the study’s conclusions. She said her department found that even its own survey in 2013 — which estimated the supply grown by producers was meeting only 20 percent of patient need — was unreliable because of the inexact nature of the data used in calculations. For example, she said, patients had told the department they were pressured by producers to report higher usage rates.

In 2014, state Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, said the state’s program — which had only 13,000 participants at the time — was “statistically failing” and would have more like 60,000 participants if it were more user friendly.

In 2016, when burgeoning enrollment created a backlog that forced patients to wait 60 to 90 days or more for card renewals, which the law requires to be completed in 30 days, State Auditor Tim Keller warned Gallagher that if the agency didn’t start producing the cards within legal time frames, he might refer the issue to law enforcement.

That same year, state Rep. Debbie Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, whose daughter Lynn is one of the namesakes of the Erin and Lynn Compassionate Use Act, said she was “disgusted” that Gallagher had not shown up or sent a representative to a meeting to discuss the problem.

The department’s own Medical Advisory Board, which makes recommendations on petitions for new qualifying medical conditions under the program, has even complained about Gallagher’s lack of urgency in responding to their recommendations.

The current lawsuit is the third case that Santa Fe attorney Brian Egolf, who is speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives, has filed against the department concerning its administration of the state statute.

Egolf declined to comment Tuesday on whether he thought the department was doing a good job administering the act, citing the pending litigation.

“This is part of what it means to be a citizen legislator,” Egolf said. “At times we have to do our professional work, and when the trial is concluded, I will be happy to visit with you in my capacity as a legislator.”

But some believe the department might be getting the hang of administering the program.

Attorney Jason Marks, who sued the department in 2015 on behalf of a group of producers opposed to new rules the department had promulgated, said Tuesday that case is still pending but he has been able to work successfully with the department on behalf of other clients to resolve issues without litigation.

Armstrong said Tuesday that she hasn’t heard any complaints from constituents lately, “but I worry how it’s going since we had so much concern last year.”

Even Peter St. Cyr, a former freelance journalist who specialized in holding the department’s feet to the fire through news coverage of the cannabis program, said the department appears to be beginning to address problems more nimbly.

St. Cyr now is director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government — which at one point joined St. Cyr in a lawsuit against the department over transparency issues related to the cannabis program — but said he was speaking for himself and not the foundation.

One problem with having the department administer the program, St. Cyr said, is that the agency’s administrators are not regulatory, business or agricultural experts.

He suggested other agencies, such as the Regulation and Licensing Department, would be better equipped to handle some of the regulatory tasks.

Armstrong, who chairs the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee, said she intends to schedule another hearing on the department’s administration of the program. “At which point,” she said, “we will hear from providers and patients and the department, if they will come. We will invite everyone.”

The nonjury trial in Sena’s lawsuit is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday in District Judge David Thomson’s courtroom with more testimony from Gallagher.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Advisory panel backs opioid use disorder as qualifying condition for medical cannabis
By Phaedra Haywood | The New Mexican Nov 4, 2017 Updated Nov 4, 2017

Medical professionals on the front lines of New Mexico’s drug abuse epidemic have successfully petitioned members of the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to recommend opioid use disorder as a condition that qualifies a patient to use cannabis.

“We have a crisis in New Mexico, and we have had for a long time,” Dr. Steve Jension told the board at its semiannual meeting Friday. Jenison is a former state Department of Health employee, cannabis program director and advisory board member who now works as a paramedic in Dixon.

“I get to see the people who die or nearly die of it on a continuing basis,” he said of opioid abuse. “Now is the time for the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to send a clear, unambiguous and unanimous recommendation to the secretary of health to add this to the list of eligible conditions.”


The five active members of the board, all doctors, unanimously voted for approval of the condition, drawing thunderous applause from the crowd.

But many worry that the board’s recommendation to state Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher — the only person with the authority to add qualifying ailments to New Mexico’s growing Medical Cannabis Program — will fall on deaf ears, just as it did a year ago. In November 2016, the board also voted in favor of adding the condition. But in June — seven months after the vote — Gallagher rejected that recommendation, as well as several others.

Cannabis program Director Kenny Vigil reported Friday that approximately 48,000 patients were enrolled as of September — a number that likely would grow if opioid use disorder became a qualifying condition.

Medical cannabis is increasingly being considered as a solution to the opioid epidemic nationwide, with scientific studies showing it has promise.

Not only does cannabis counteract the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, Jension said during Friday’s meeting, it also can be used to treat the chronic pain that in many cases led to a patient being prescribed opioids and becoming addicted to them in the first place.

“The two are closely related at many levels,” he wrote in a six-page statement he submitted to the Department of Health in support of a petition to adding opioid use disorder to the cannabis program. The statement was accompanied by eight pages of medical citations.

“In this time of crisis, with so many lives being lost and destroyed,” Jenison said, “we must not be dissuaded from acting when there is so much at stake. The risk of opioids are substantial and well known to us. The risks of cannabinoids are less — much less. We know this. It is entirely plausible that medical cannabis can be a tool in addressing the opioid dependence crisis and in saving lives. It’s time to act.”

Newly elected board Chairwoman Dr. Laura Brown made similar comments ahead of Friday’s vote. “The evidence of the opiate sparing effects are well documented in medical literature,” she said. “In the face of our opioid overdose epidemic, I don’t think we need to wait for any further evidence or studies.”

If Gallagher is inclined to reject the petition again, Jenison said, she should at least give board members an opportunity to talk about the issue, something that board members confirmed has never happened.

“How does it feel when you go through this process twice a year, and most everything gets denied that you all approve?” one audience member asked them. “Do we have a voice? You are supposed to be our voice, and they are not listening. Lynn Gallagher and the Department of Health have failed us and failed this program terribly.”

Bryan Krumm, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, said that by blocking patients’ access to medical cannabis, Gallagher, who is an attorney and not a licensed medical professional, was in effect practicing medicine without a license.

And, as happens at nearly every one of the board’s twice-yearly meetings, audience members complained about the secretary’s failure to attend.

“We are being marginalized, dismissed and insulted,” said longtime cannabis patient Nat Dean. “It’s important we have more participation from the person making decisions about our lives.”

Department of Health spokesman Paul Rhien responded to The New Mexican’s inquiries about Gallagher’s lack of participation on her behalf with the following emailed statement:

“As always, the Secretary will seriously consider the advice of the board and will continue to make medical science and data-driven decisions regarding the Medical Cannabis Program. The Department will continue to responsibly administer the program and make sure that patients receive the most medically-appropriate treatment for their medical conditions in a way that doesn’t compromise their already vulnerable health.”


“On background,” Rhien wrote: “Historically secretaries have not actively participated in the board meetings.”

The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board considered a total of 15 petitions during Friday’s meeting and voted to recommend five new conditions to the list of 20 that currently qualify New Mexicans to legally use cannabis as medicine, including the skin conditions eczema and psoriasis, muscular dystrophy, Tourette’s syndrome, substance use disorder and opioid use disorder.

The board voted against recommending the addition of six conditions: polymyalgia rheumatica, which causes stiffness in the neck and shoulders; dysmenorrhea, or severe menstrual cramps; cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that damages the lungs and other organs; post-concussion syndrome or concussion; diabetes; and arthritis.

In most cases, the board said, patients who suffer from the rejected conditions are already able to be certified to use cannabis under an existing qualifying condition — such as chronic pain, in the case of dysmenorrhea.

In response to a petition to add seizure disorders, the board voted to recommend that the definition of an existing qualifying condition, epilepsy, be modified to included seizures.

The board tabled petitions to add attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, degenerative neurological disorder and neuroprotective use of cannabis, in which the substance is used to help regenerate brain cells, protect a patient from brain damage or slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. The issues need further discussion, the board said.

A petition to authorize hospital employees to use cannabis to treat pediatric cancer patients was outside the board’s purview, members said, but they planned to issue a statement in support of the practice.

 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
New Mexico’s New Legalization Bill Is Shockingly Good. Too Bad It Won’t Pass.


New Mexico’s New Legalization Bill Is Shockingly Good. Too Bad It Won’t Pass.
Ben Adlin
February 1, 2018
new-mexico-adult-use-bill-1280x800.jpg

(Adam-Springer/iStock)


A group of five New Mexico lawmakers have introduced an ambitious plan to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older. If approved, the bill would put the state on pace to begin regulated sales in early 2020.


At a hefty 130 pages, the bill is remarkably comprehensive, with provisions for retail sales, on-site social consumption, homegrow, cannabis delivery, and even a program to subsidize cannabis for medical patients.

But don’t get your hopes up just yet—even the bill’s supporters acknowledge it’s unlikely to pass this year.


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“We spend millions of dollars criminalizing people who use marijuana without seeing benefits to public health or safety. We need to legalize marijuana in New Mexico and stop the harm that disproportionately affects those who are living in poverty and those who are Black, Native and Hispanic/Latino,” state Rep. Javier Martínez, who introduced the bill, said in a statement.

“We don’t expect the bill to pass this year, but introducing it is important.”
Emily Kaltenbach, Drug Policy Alliance
“The punishment doesn’t fit the offense,” he added, “and New Mexicans agree we should remove penalties and instead tax and regulate marijuana.”

Joining Martínez in introducing the measure, House Bill 312, were Reps. Bill McCamley, Antonio “Moe” Maestas, Deborah A. Armstrong, and Angelica Rubio. All are Democrats.

Legalization advocates say that while the bill’s passage is unlikely—the legislative session ends on Feb. 15—its introduction paves the way for a more meaningful conversation in the Capitol.

“We don’t expect the bill to pass this year, but introducing it is important,” Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “We also hope to discuss the merits and challenges of marijuana legalization with legislators during the interim session as well as with their constituents. Feedback from these conversations will make for the best, most carefully thought out policy proposal for 2019.”


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If the draft bill is only a starting point, it’s a surprisingly robust one. It contains provisions that have yet to be seen in other states’ cannabis programs, such as priority licensing for applicants who capture solar energy or use recycled water. Other unique provisions include the establishment a medical cannabis subsidy program, which would distribute a portion of cannabis tax revenue to qualified cannabis patients in order to offset the cost of medicine.

The bill would establish a Division of Cannabis Control, which would regulate, administer, and collect fees from the industry. It would oversee both adult-use and medical cannabis, with the exception of the state’s medical registry, which would continue to be handled by the state Department of Health.

Other than that, the state-legal program envisioned by the bill would look much like those in most other adult-use states. Cannabis businesses would be licensed, regulated, and taxed by a newly created Division of Cannabis Control, which would need to set rules and regulations for the new industry.


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Under the bill, adults 21 and older could legally possess up to two ounces of cannabis or 16 grams of cannabis extracts. Both storefront sales and the gifting of cannabis among adults would be allowed. For those interested in growing at home, cultivation of up to six mature plants and six immature plants would be permitted.

The bill would also allow for a retailer to have a “cannabis consumption area” where patrons could enjoy their purchases in a social setting. For those less inclined to consume next to strangers, the legislation allows for “cannabis couriers” who could deliver products directly to customers.

All cannabis products would need to have a “representative sample” screened by a state-licensed laboratory, which would test for major cannabinoids—THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN—as well as terpenes, residual solvents or chemicals, foreign materials, and microbiological contaminants like mold and certain other pathogens.

Extraction using volatile chemicals, such as butane or ethanol, would require a state license.


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Advertising would be severely restricted, both in form and content. None would be allowed on broadcast TV, cable, or radio, nor could advertisements appear on public transit, on publicly owned property, or within 200 feet of a school, playground, childcare center, park, or library. Unsolicited internet pop-ups? Those are banned, too.

Local municipalities could set limits on industry, although any move to ban retailers in a locality of more than 5,000 people would have to be put to a public vote.

The bill also includes certain protections from discipline or discrimination related to legal cannabis activity. Schools, for example, could not refuse to enroll someone over legal conduct, nor could a professional licensing entity penalize a member for legal cannabis consumption.


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While the measure would penalize minors for activity involving cannabis, rarely would offenders face criminal charges. People under 21 found in possession of small amounts of cannabis, for example, would face civil penalties, such as fines, mandatory drug education, and community service.

Those who already have cannabis convictions on their records would also see relief, at least if they were convicted of a crime the bill would make legal. Corrections facilities would be required to notify courts if a convicted person’s case should be reopened, at which point the charges could be recalled or dismissed. Those who’ve already completed their sentences could file an application in court to have their convictions dismissed and sealed.

And while people with criminal convictions could face an uphill battle securing a state cannabis license, the bill specifically notes that past convictions involving controlled substances are “not considered substantially related to the qualifications” for a license and “shall not be the sole ground on which an application is denied.” In other words, someone who was a small-time cannabis seller in college 10 years ago wouldn’t be shut out of the legal market.


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For those worried about a looming crackdown by the Jeff Sessions-led Justice Department, the bill includes a provision barring state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in cases where the conduct is state-legal.

As for taxes, the bill doesn’t set a specific rate. Instead, it dictates that a tax rate be set based on a number of policy goals, such as undercutting the illicit market, preventing the adult-use market from undercutting the legal medical market, preventing cannabis use disorder, and avoiding use by people under 21. That’s a lot to ask of a single tax rate, but, like much of the bill’s language, it at least indicates an awareness by the bill’s authors of the difficult balancing act involved in appropriately regulating cannabis.

The legislation’s long odds mean it’s unlikely New Mexico will become the next legal adult-use state. But the bill’s sophistication could bode well for the road ahead.

The full text of HB 312 is available on the New Mexico Legislature’s website.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
New Mexico Lawmakers expand protections for medical cannabis patients

Lawmakers have approved a pair of bills amending the state’s medical cannabis program to expand patients’ access to the plant and to provide additional legal protections.

Senate Bill 406 expands the pool of patients eligible for cannabis therapy to include those diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, severe chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, sleep apnea, and neuropathy, among other newly specified conditions. It also enacts explicit legal protections prohibiting employers, social service workers, and hospitals from arbitrarily discriminating against patients solely for their medical cannabis status and/or for their failure to pass a drug test. The measure prohibits regulators from placing limits on the percentage of THC or other cannabinoids in therapeutic products and it establishes reciprocity with other states’ medical cannabis programs.

Separate legislation, Senate Bill 204 establishes regulations and procedures for the storage and administration of certain medical cannabis products to students in school settings.

The bills mark the first significant amendments to the state’s medical cannabis law, which had been opposed by previous Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

The measures await action from Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Governor of New Mexico decriminalizes marijuana possession

One month after policymakers failed to pass a bill legalizing marijuana in the state, New Mexico has signed into effect a law to decriminalize cannabis. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham authorized the legislation, which will reduce the punishment for possession of up to a half ounce of weed from up to 15 days in jail to a fee of $50.

The Senate passed SB 323 in March by a vote of 30 to 8. The House took its time deliberating over some Judiciary Committee amendments, eventually approving the legislation mere hours before its session concluded.

“New Mexico just took an important step forward toward more humane marijuana policies,” Karen O’Keefe, state policies director for the Marijuana Policy Project told Forbes. “It will no longer brand cannabis consumers criminals or threaten them with jail time for simple possession. But it’s a shame that only one piece of the war on marijuana is ending in New Mexico this year.”

“This bill ensures that until we do legalize, people will not have their lives destroyed by being criminalized and stigmatized for possessing marijuana for their personal use,” wrote Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico director Emily Kaltenbach in a press release. Subsequent marijuana offenses may still be punished with jail time under Senate Bill 323.

The bill, which will go into effect on July 1, makes New Mexico the 24th state to take jail time off the menu for small time marijuana possession charges. Decriminalization is a step forward in the absence of farther-reaching legalization, but it has not been found to entirely correct racially biased policing. Studies in states across the country have found that post-decriminalization, Blacks and Latinos are still more likely to be arrested than white cannabis users, even given similar rates of use among racial populations.

Regulation would have taken on a unique profile in New Mexico — the legalization bill that was passed by the House on March 8 before stalling in the Senate’s Finance Committee would have placed marijuana sales largely in state-run retail outlets. In most states that have legalized cannabis, private companies take on the role of marijuana vendor.

Legalization, once the purview of Democrats in the state, has recently become a bi-partisan issue as more and more Republicans come to see marijuana regulation as an inevitable political outcome. The legalization measure that passed in the House was the product of negotiations between both sides of the aisle, a “compromised floor substitute,” as it was introduced by Democratic Representative Javier Martinez.

For now, the state’s residents can at least count on avoiding jail time if they are caught with small amounts of pot. That in turn will reduce the financial burden on the state’s legal system, says a fiscal report put together by the government; “Workloads could be lessened by reducing the charges of possession of marijuana up to one-half ounce and use or possession of drug paraphernalia to penalty assessments.” Estimates put the money that would be gained in tax on recreational marijuana in the state at $40 to $50 million annually.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
New Mexico Expands Medical Marijuana Program with Addition of Six Conditions
New Mexico Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel’s expansion of medical cannabis access fulfills one of Gov. Grisham’s campaign pledges.

New Mexico’s medical marijuana program is opening its doors to more patients, thanks to a policy change revising the state’s list of qualifying conditions. On Thursday, New Mexico Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel signed off on the addition of six new qualifying conditions. But the one expected to draw the most new patients into New Mexico’s program is opioid dependency.

With the move, New Mexico joins a number of other states that have updated their medical marijuana programs to address the ongoing opioid epidemic. Health Secretary Kunkel also added a handful of other conditions that fewer states consider qualifying, including autism, Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative neurological disorders.

New Mexico Is the Latest State Turning to Cannabis to Curb Opioids
The United States medical community is desperately searching for alternatives to prescription opioids, or at least something that can reduce the number of opioid medications doctors prescribe. Meanwhile, prescription opioid abuse and illicit use have become a national health crisis. In 2017, the average national rate of opioid-involved overdose deaths was 14.6 per 100,000 persons. That same year in New Mexico, the rate was 16.7 deaths per 100,000. According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, those numbers have not significantly changed over the last several years.

But new research continues to suggest that cannabis can be a viable alternative to prescription painkillers. Other studies show how cannabis can help also ween people off of opioid dependencies. And in many places where medical cannabis is legal and accessible, opioid prescription rates have declined, especially among younger patients.


And in that research, first-year Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Gisham sees a possible answer to New Mexico’s battle with opioid use and addiction. As part of her campaign platform, Gov. Grisham called for expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to include those struggling with opioid use disorders. Gov. Grisham is a former state health secretary. And her campaign pledge to open up medical cannabis access was seen as a rebuke to former Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration, which had rejected appeals for medical marijuana expansion.

Austism, Alzheimer’s Added to New Mexico’s List of Qualifying Conditions
In addition to opioid use disorder, New Mexico Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel approved five other conditions. She approved autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and three other severe degenerative neurological disorders: Friedreich’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Patients suffering from these conditions won’t have to wait, either. Health Secretary Kunkel’s changes are effective immediately.

“We need to explore and pursue every available means of responding to the health and wellness needs of our neighbors here in New Mexico,” Gov. Grisham said of the announcement. “Compassion must guide our decision-making. Today marks an important and long-overdue step forward after too many years of the status quo.”


The total six new qualifying conditions bring New Mexico’s total up to 28. Most of the state’s 73,000 medical marijuana patients are enrolled for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Adding these conditions to the Medical Cannabis Program provides medical providers new tools for relieving symptoms that may otherwise be difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to relieve through conventional means,” said Secretary Kunkel.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
New Mexico implements emergency hemp rules

Hemp industry participants in the U.S. state of New Mexico now have some regulatory clarity after the state’s Environment Department put temporary rules into effect.
The rules cover the extraction, manufacturing, processing storage and transportation of hemp and products derived from the crop.



“This temporary rule, to be in place no more than 180 days, will allow those in the hemp industry to begin operating in New Mexico and ensures the resulting products are safe for consumers while permanent regulations are developed,” said the Department late last week.
The rules apply to all individuals, businesses, agencies, institutions, or other entities engaged in the abovementioned activities.
New Mexico’s hemp industry had been in somewhat of a regulatory limbo since Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 581 into law in April, which provided for the regulation of production, testing, research, manufacturing and transport of hemp, hemp extract (including cannabidiol) and derived products. But those regulations had to be developed.
The Hemp Manufacturing Act, which became effective on July 1, stipulates the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, Environment Department (NMED) and Department of Health are the regulating authorities. The NMD’s Environmental Health Bureau (NMED) is responsible for permitting hemp warehouses, extraction facilities, and manufacturing facilities throughout the state.
The NMED has stated the emergency rule was necessary as “the Department finds that in these particular circumstances the time required to comply with and complete the procedures of the State Rules Act would cause an imminent peril to the public health, safety or welfare.”
The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) had already issued hemp cultivation licenses to over 300 individuals and businesses, with the first of the crops due for harvesting this month – and these license holders will wish to begin post-harvest processing and extraction immediately after. Subsequently, many individuals and businesses plan to utilize the CBD oil extracted in the manufacture of food items.
Without regulations from the NMED in place, the Department would have not been able to compel manufacturers to engage in appropriate testing, labeling or enforce inspection requirements or standards for hemp manufacturing facilities.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Texans May Be Able To Register For New Mexico's Medical Marijuana Program

A ruling by a New Mexico judge this week may enable Texas residents to register for that state’s medical marijuana program. But critics are worried that Texans may end up breaking state and federal laws.


New Mexico’s Department of Health went to court this summer to challenge a law that would issue ID cards to out-of-state residents, including Texans, to buy medical marijuana. It argued the law encourages non-residents to violate state and federal laws and was never meant to include them.

But a state district judge in Santa Fe disagreed and ordered the state agency to issue the cards to non-residents. The court will hear arguments against the ruling on Aug. 19.

Jax Finkel is the executive director of the Texas chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. She agrees with News Mexico's Department of Health that the change would lead to an increase in arrests.

She’s also concerned the program could lead to both confusion among Texan patients and an increase in arrests.

“While we want patients to have access to medical cannabis, it is problematic that they would have to cross state lines. This would lead them to break federal law,” Finkel said.

Finkel said these patients could face marijuana possession charges if they cross back into Texas because the Lone Star State’s Compassionate Use Program only covers CBD oil that has a psychoactive THC concentration of less than 0.5%, and patients must be listed on Texas’ registry.

The ruling applies to all U.S. states, but in the lawsuit, Texas and Arizona are named as two states that could specifically benefit.




 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
NM governor intervenes in court case over medical cannabis cards


New Mexico’s governor has officially become a party in a legal battle over whether medical cannabis cards should be issued to out-of-state residents.


On Wednesday, a state district judge approved Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s request to intervene in the case, which arose after a prominent medical cannabis producer challenged the state on wording in a state statute related to who can become a medical cannabis patient in New Mexico.


In a motion to add Lujan Grisham as an intervening party, her lawyers argued that the governor’s office is better suited than the state Department of Health to address some issues in the case.


Related: Cannabis legalization task force aims for compromise


“Public safety considerations such as the interstate transportation of marijuana, which is a violation of federal and state law, and diversion concerns are critical state policy matters,” the court filing read.


Kenny Vigil, the director of the state’s Medical Cannabis Program, was originally named in court documents but Lujan Grisham’s office argued that Vigil cannot adequately represent the state.


“[Vigil] lacks authority to address law enforcement concerns, approve regulatory action, or direct healthcare policy for our State,” the court filing read. “Thus, the significant public policy considerations interests at issue cannot be fully addressed by the current parties to this litigation and could be substantially affected or impaired.”


While at a task force convened by the governor to examine cannabis legalization, Department of Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel said the issue is too complex for her department alone.


“It’s such an important matter,” Kunkel said. “What it could impact is significant. It’s beyond the Department of Health.”


A lawyer with the department told NM Political Report he could not speak for the governor’s office, but did say Lujan Grisham’s office took an interest in the case because it dealt with “interstate issues.”


The court case goes back to an attempt by New Mexico medical cannabis producer Ultra Health to encourage those who qualify as a medical cannabis patient but do not live in New Mexico to apply for a medical card. The company’s reasoning was that a law change removed the term “resident of New Mexico” and replaced it with “person” in the definition of “qualified patient.”


Almost immediately, the Department of Health dismissed the idea that legislators intended to open the state’s Medical Cannabis Program to residents from other states. Still, Ultra Health moved forward with signing non-residents up for the program.


The Department of Health did not officially deny any patient applications, but they did place several on hold because the applicants did not have an official New Mexico identification card or address. Duke Rodriguez, the president and CEO of Ultra Health and an Arizona resident, and two Texas residents then asked a state judge to weigh-in. That judge ruled that under the change in law, the Department of Health would not only have to start issuing medical cannabis cards to qualified patients regardless of their address, but that the department had been erroneously requiring New Mexico identification cards from New Mexico residents.


A spokeswoman for Lujan Grisham said in an email that the governor “has every right to intervene on behalf of the state.” Egolf, who is also the New Mexico Speaker of the House, responded to NM Political Report, but declined to comment on the case.


Rodriguez said he decided not to challenge the governor’s intervention, in the name of expediency and in hopes that the court will stick with its previous ruling. “Although we believe the Governor has the right to intervene on broader views on public policy, we still contend the plain language of the law is clear, and this plain language will be tough to overrule,” Rodriguez said in a statement to NM Political Report.




 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
New Mexico limits medical marijuana providers

Ultra Health President and CEO Duke Rodriguez discusses the medical marijuana industry during a tour of the company's greenhouse on April 6, 2018 in Bernalillo, N.M. (Susan Montoya Bryan,/AP)

A New Mexico law went into effect Tuesday that limits the state's 35 medical marijuana providers to 1,750 mature plants.
The legislation, which replaces previous guidelines that allowed for 2,500 plants per provider, was adopted by state Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel, according to The Associated Press.

Ultra Health LLC, New Mexico's largest medical cannabis provider, has voiced its opposition to the cap, arguing that providers won't have enough supplies for the state's 76,000 medical marijuana patients.
But the number of patients enrolled in the program could change significantly based on the outcome of a recent lawsuit.

The lawsuit challenges New Mexico's policy that prohibits out-of-state residents from obtaining medical marijuana cards from the state's health department. Three people (two from Texas and one from Arizona) filed the lawsuit in July, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The plaintiffs say a law that went into effect in June removed a requirement that patients in the program have to be New Mexico residents. But the state's health department claims this change was made so that people from other states who already have medical marijuana cards can purchase cannabis in the state, not so that out-of-staters can obtain a card in the state.

Earlier this month, a district judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, but told the Health Department it had until later in the month to change his mind.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham then filed a motion, claiming that Kenny Vigil, who directs the state's medical marijuana program, "lacks the authority to address law enforcement concerns, approve regulatory action or direct health care policy for our state."
On Aug. 14, the judge approved her request.

"Although we believe the governor has the right to intervene on broader views on public policy, we still contend the plain language of the law is clear and this plain language will be tough to overrule," Arizona resident Duke Rodriguez, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told the Albuquerque Journal. Rodriguez is also the president and CEO of Ultra Health LLC.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
New Mexico balks at issuing medical cannabis cards to nonresidents

New Mexico health officials are refusing to issue medical marijuana identification cards to out-of-state residents, despite a recent judge’s order.

Providing MMJ identification cards to nonresidents could give the state’s medical cannabis sales a shot in the arm.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that the state Department of Health asked a state judge to reconsider a ruling that New Mexico must allow nonresidents to participate in its medical cannabis program.

Health officials say the ruling is not final, because it could be held pending an appeal. Officials added they are waiting until the legal dispute is resolved.

An attorney said the department should be held in contempt of court.

State attorneys say allowing nonresidents to participate would encourage the illegal transport of cannabis across state lines.

Officials say the ruling signed into law this year was a simple drafting error and was not aimed at granting out-of-state residents ID cards.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
New Mexico Will Now Allow Out of State Residents to Get Medical Marijuana Cards

New Mexico Will Now Allow Out of State Residents to Get Medical Marijuana Cards


Thanks to a recent ruling from a New Mexico judge, residents from across the nation can now secure the right to purchase and consume cannabis legally in the Land of Enchantment.

If you’re planning a trip to New Mexico to check out the picturesque scenery or see if you can find and liberate a few new extraterrestrial friends, you can now add a little medicinal greenery to your desert vacation — even if you don’t actually live in the Land of Enchantment.

According to a report from the Phoenix New Times, a ruling from a New Mexico District Judge has opened the state medical marijuana program to out of state residents. Now, anyone who qualifies can register for a legal weed card in New Mexico, no matter where they live.

Derek Rodriguez, a cannabusiness owner who lives in nearby Arizona, was the first non-resident to obtain a New Mexico MMJ card. After a change in the state’s medical marijuana program removed a residency requirement, Rodriguez sued for his right to participate in the New Mexico system. And while Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that the residency removal was intended to facilitate reciprocity for MMJ cardholders from other states, District Judge Bryan Biedscheid sided with Rodriguez, and ruled that the program is open to any person who would like to apply, regardless of any MMJ status in their home state or country.

States like Nevada and Hawaii already allow reciprocity for medical marijuana cardholders from other states. But when it comes to open enrollment in an out-of-state program, New Mexico’s new policy is the first of its kind. Despite recent pushes from local cannabis advocates, New Mexico has not yet been able to pass a recreational legalization proposal.

“It’s fantastic that New Mexico is going through this in a very public manner,” Demitri Downing, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association of Arizona, told Phoenix New Times. “The more and more people discuss it, the more and more people understand the nuances of what doesn’t make sense. And what doesn’t make sense is not having reciprocity.”

Joining Rodriguez, two Texan men also sued New Mexico for the right to join the state’s medical marijuana program. For a huge number of Texans, New Mexico reciprocity could allow them to take a short drive from the draconian drug policies of the Lone Star State to legally access cannabis elsewhere.

New Mexico officials say that they plan to appeal Judge Biedscheid’s ruling to try and reign in the reciprocity clause.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Well, this is interesting as its usually the Governor who resists populist calls to legalize from the state legislatures. I bet this happens....maybe not in 2020, but soon if it has Gubernatorial support.


New Mexico Governor Calls For Marijuana Legalization In 2020

New Mexico’s governor is formally calling on lawmakers to legalize marijuana this year.


Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said in the 2020 agenda she sent to lawmakers on Wednesday that she wants the legislature to enact a bill “legalizing the use of recreational cannabis in New Mexico and establishing a regulatory framework for its use, including public safety considerations, public health safeguards, and the protection of the state’s existing medical cannabis program.”


Please visit Forbes to read the rest of this piece.


(Marijuana Moment’s editor provides some content to Forbes via a temporary exclusive publishing license arrangement.)
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
""It was a train wreck because we had given them the 180 page substitute for the previous bill a week ago but it hadn't been distributed so none of them had read it. Even their chairman hadn't finished reading it,” said Sen. Gerald Ortiz Y Pino (D-District 12)."

You have to be fucking kidding....this bill was pulled because...wait for it....administrative incompetence? Like, they don't have any admin/secretarial help? Or what? This is asinine.

Carla Sonntag, president and founder of the New Mexico Business Coalition........“They've got to be able to have a drug free workforce."

Ok, so not high while at work, but what does that have to do with what employees do on their own time. They don't have assurances that their employees are not drinking alcohol on their own time and I am absolutely certain that some of her member companies have cold stone alcoholics on the payroll who are indeed diminished on the job.

Besides, who give a flying frak what she thinks when "According to a survey from Change Research, nearly 3 in 4 New Mexicans support legalizing recreational marijuana."

Up yours and your cold drug warrior memes.

Recreational marijuana in NM: Why did it fail? Where does it go from here?


According to a survey from Change Research, nearly 3 in 4 New Mexicans support legalizing recreational marijuana. With support from both the public and the governor, why did the bill to legalize recreational marijuana fail?

Last week, a state Senate committee tabled the bill that would’ve legalized recreational pot. The vote included two Democrats.

"It was a train wreck because we had given them the 180 page substitute for the previous bill a week ago but it hadn't been distributed so none of them had read it. Even their chairman hadn't finished reading it,” said Sen. Gerald Ortiz Y Pino (D-District 12).

Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham said she plans to bring back the bill during the longer session next year.
Recreational marijuana in NM: Why did it fail? Where does it go from here?

"I think there's any number of legislative issues they want addressed in the bill that make it an even better regulatory framework for cannabis and I think we'll have a better shot in the 60 day session and we fully intend to bring it back,” she said.

Business Leaders’ Concerns with Legalization
Lawmakers plan on bringing the bill back to the table during the 2021 legislative session. The state’s business leaders are expected to weigh in on the issue again. One of their top concerns is enforcing workplace drug policies.

“People have the choice of using marijuana and we're not against that but when you take that next step and legalize recreational marijuana you're making a commitment that I don't think our state can pay the bill for,” said Carla Sonntag, president and founder of the New Mexico Business Coalition.

Sonntag said any future legislation would have to include safe guards for employers.


“They've got to be able to have a drug free workforce. Well if that's the case, the current legislation, there were some amendments made right at the end before it was tabled, but that legislation as it was drafted did not cover the need for employers to have a drug free workforce—and that has to happen,” Sonntag said.

The governor has described recreational marijuana legalization as an economic driver, but Sonntag said she wonders for whom?
Sonntag said legalization in other states created a reason for some businesses to not open or relocate.

Legalization in Other States
There are currently 11 states including the District of Columbia that have legalized recreational pot, but not every state went about it in the same way.
Colorado was the first state to legalize weed in 2012. Voters had to approve amending the state’s constitution to get it done. A similar effort failed in 2006.
Illinois recently passed a bill in a similar way that New Mexico is trying to—through the state legislature. The state banned recreational cannabis use in 1931.

Voters vs. Legislature: Who should approve recreational cannabis?
KOB 4 asked people across Albuquerque if the fate of recreational marijuana should be approved by voters or stay in the legislature.

“It's not something that should be controlled by the state. I think we should have the decision to smoke pot or not,” said one person in Nob Hill.
A resident in northeast Albuquerque by Academy and Wyoming gave a different opinion.

"The state thinks they'll get a bunch of money but it costs a bunch of money to have marijuana legal,” he said.

A local contractor said she has worried about how to monitor employees if it’s legalized.

“They hurt somebody, harm somebody, they might not be stoned but it’s going to be in their system. We’re going to be sued that's how it goes,” she said.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
New Mexico Will Now Allow Out of State Residents to Get Medical Marijuana Cards

New Mexico Will Now Allow Out of State Residents to Get Medical Marijuana Cards


Thanks to a recent ruling from a New Mexico judge, residents from across the nation can now secure the right to purchase and consume cannabis legally in the Land of Enchantment.

If you’re planning a trip to New Mexico to check out the picturesque scenery or see if you can find and liberate a few new extraterrestrial friends, you can now add a little medicinal greenery to your desert vacation — even if you don’t actually live in the Land of Enchantment.

According to a report from the Phoenix New Times, a ruling from a New Mexico District Judge has opened the state medical marijuana program to out of state residents. Now, anyone who qualifies can register for a legal weed card in New Mexico, no matter where they live.

Derek Rodriguez, a cannabusiness owner who lives in nearby Arizona, was the first non-resident to obtain a New Mexico MMJ card. After a change in the state’s medical marijuana program removed a residency requirement, Rodriguez sued for his right to participate in the New Mexico system. And while Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that the residency removal was intended to facilitate reciprocity for MMJ cardholders from other states, District Judge Bryan Biedscheid sided with Rodriguez, and ruled that the program is open to any person who would like to apply, regardless of any MMJ status in their home state or country.

States like Nevada and Hawaii already allow reciprocity for medical marijuana cardholders from other states. But when it comes to open enrollment in an out-of-state program, New Mexico’s new policy is the first of its kind. Despite recent pushes from local cannabis advocates, New Mexico has not yet been able to pass a recreational legalization proposal.

“It’s fantastic that New Mexico is going through this in a very public manner,” Demitri Downing, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association of Arizona, told Phoenix New Times. “The more and more people discuss it, the more and more people understand the nuances of what doesn’t make sense. And what doesn’t make sense is not having reciprocity.”

Joining Rodriguez, two Texan men also sued New Mexico for the right to join the state’s medical marijuana program. For a huge number of Texans, New Mexico reciprocity could allow them to take a short drive from the draconian drug policies of the Lone Star State to legally access cannabis elsewhere.

New Mexico officials say that they plan to appeal Judge Biedscheid’s ruling to try and reign in the reciprocity clause.
Not so fast there, Mom! hahaha....what mankind can do, mankind can undo. Apparently NM has no idea wtf it wants.

New Mexico to Reinstate Residency Requirement for Medical Marijuana Cards

New Mexico lawmakers have voted to reinstate a residency requirement for patients authorized to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program. Under a bill passed in the New Mexico House of Representatives on Monday, allowing non-residents to apply for medical marijuana identification cards would be phased out later this year. The measure, SB 139, was approved in the state Senate on Saturday and has the support of Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Democrat Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino. Under a different measure that was passed and signed into law last year, the words “resident of New Mexico” were removed from the definition of a qualified medical marijuana patient and replaced with the word “person.” Under that change, more than 600 people from Texas, Arizona, and other states have qualified as patients.

But Ortiz y Pino says that the change in definition was unintentional and that the state should again restrict issuing medical marijuana cards to New Mexico residents. Patients with cards from other states would also be able to purchase marijuana at licensed dispensaries under a reciprocity program. Ortiz y Pino is concerned that allowing residents of other states to qualify as medical marijuana patients could invite interference from the federal government.

Bipartisan Opposition to Bill
Democratic Sen. Jacob Candelaria, who voted against the bill, said the measure would make cannabis the only form of health care that is restricted to state residents. For example, many women travel to New Mexico for care from states with stricter abortion laws.

“We allow people from all over the country to come here,” Candelaria said, adding that he supports the state’s abortion law.

Sen. Jeff Steinborn, another Democrat, was also opposed to the bill. He said the measure is a humanitarian issue, citing the case of a friend with cancer who was not able to use medical marijuana because he lived in Texas.

“I personally am not convinced we have to take this step tonight,” Steinborn said.

Republican Sen. Cliff Pirtle also voted against the bill, saying he’d recently had trouble proving his residency when he tried to apply for a Real ID-compliant driver’s license.
“I think we might be going a little too far with this in proving residency,” Pirtle said.

He also scoffed at the notion that the federal government would interfere if nonresidents were permitted to enroll in the program, noting that states that have legalized recreational pot, including neighboring Colorado, have not been targeted.

“Keep in mind,” Pirtle said. “There’s 14 states that have recreational cannabis. They have done nothing to them.”

Duke Rodriguez, the CEO of medical marijuana provider Ultra Health, agreed that action from the federal government is unlikely.
“There is no threat of federal intervention,” he told a House committee on health policy. “There is no boogie man.”

If the bill is signed by Grisham, non-residents would not qualify as medical marijuana patients starting this summer. Non-resident patients who already have medical marijuana identification cards would be allowed to use them until they expire three years after being issued, according to New Mexico Health Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
New Mexico Gov. Regrets Not Legalizing Marijuana Pre-Coronavirus

The state didn’t pass adult-use marijuana legalization earlier this year, but NM Gov. Lujan Grisham may have signaled a new proposal on the horizon.

Cannabis industry CEOs have proposed marijuana legalization as possible solution to boost the economy following turmoil caused by the coronavirus. While the pandemic has stalled or altogether stopped some legalization campaigns ahead of the 2020 election, one state now expresses regret for not ending cannabis prohibition in prior months.

During a press conference last week, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham answered queries about how the state economy will rebound later this year. Grisham responded that New Mexico plans on working with the energy sector, including oil and gas companies, to create programs appealing to the state and federal economy.

She added that marijuana legalization would have made any economy recovery that much easier.

“If there was ever a time for wishful thinking, I wish we had passed recreational cannabis because that was $100 million,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “Those are pre-COVID-19 estimates, but $100 million in the budget. And I am very sad about that.”

Lujan Grisham had voiced support for recreational cannabis legalization earlier this year. In a January announcement, the governor’s office projected such action could generate more than 10,000 agricultural jobs and a possible $100 million in tax revenue. The latter estimate combines revenue windfalls from the state’s pre-existing medical dispensaries and projections from a legal recreational market.

Though the governor’s task force approved proposed legislation, the bill died in a state Senate committee. The draft, however, had a starting date of July 1, 2020. It is unlikely, as the Santa Fe Reporter noted, that New Mexico would see any adult-use marijuana tax revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic as result.

However, the subtle mention by Grisham could signal a new proposal on the horizon. State lawmakers expect to revise significant portions of the New Mexico budget, as estimates of potential industry losses start at $500 million. The governor expects the state Legislature to reconvene for a special session in mid to late June.

Though legal cannabis won’t fix all the state’s economic problem, advocates suggest that it can be part of the solution.

“She is right, that if we could legalize cannabis in New Mexico, it’s not going to solve our budget woes, but it would add to the state coffers,” Emily Kaltenbach, executive director of the New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance, told SFR. “We need to be creative and we need to diversify our economy so that we are not reliant on oil and gas, and legalization is one of the ways to do that. So, it’s encouraging to hear perhaps we may be more inclined to legalize given the economic situation we are in right now.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
I just don't see this suit being successful....but I have been wrong before....often! haha

New Mexico Medicinal Cannabis Provider Sues Over New State Regulations

A New Mexico medical cannabis provider has filed a suit in state district court that seeks to invalidate regulations recently adopted by the state Department of Health. The new rules governing aspects of the department’s Medical Cannabis Program such as lab testing, facilities standards, and product labeling went into effect earlier this month.
In a filing for the lawsuit, attorneys for medical cannabis producer Ultra Health wrote that the rules are “arbitrary and capricious” and would place a significant burden on providers and medical cannabis patients, and are not based on sound science.
“Producers, who already pay well over $100,000 per year for their license and are precluded by federal law from taking any income tax deductions, will have to pay for the increased testing burden and will pass along the costs to patients,” reads the petition, a copy of which was obtained by The NM Political Report.



“While Petitioner Ultra Health agrees that some testing is necessary to protect the safety of cannabis patients, DOH’s rules do not draw the necessary connection between the arbitrarily chosen testing parameters and specific measurements of patient safety,” the petition continues.
Attorneys for the plaintiff also called into question the DOH practice of relying on regulations enacted in other states as the basis for the new rules, rather than drafting regulations specific to New Mexico’s environment and other conditions.
“All of the biological and environmental differences between New Mexico and other regions guarantee that cannabis grown in New Mexico will have a very different potential for various kinds of contaminants than cannabis grown in Colorado or Oregon, but DOH never considered these basic environmental factors that make New Mexico unique,” the lawyers wrote.
Laboratory Requirements Questioned
A provision of the regulations that requires analytic testing to be performed by laboratories approved by the state was also challenged by Ultra Health’s lawyers, arguing that the two currently approved labs would not be able to handle the increase in testing brought about by the new rules, jeopardizing the program.
“Indeed, New Mexico has only two cannabis testing laboratories, and if one of them cannot meet DOH’s requirements, testing would slow to a crawl and a program that serves 92,000 medically fragile New Mexicans would be severely disabled,” the petition reads. “If both laboratories cannot meet DOH’s requirements, the Medical Cannabis Program would cease to function.”
Ultra Health also objected to rules requiring cannabis facilities to be compliant with zoning laws, noting that businesses that rent their locations have little control over the matter. The suit also alleges that a rule that would require a license amendment for any modifications made to a facility would constitute an undue burden and as written would apply to activities including “changing a lightbulb, installing an air conditioner, or adding an additional greenhouse.”
“It is arbitrary and capricious to require licensees to constantly submit applications for amended licenses whenever they change a lightbulb,” the petition reads.
The suit from Ultra Health included other objections to the new rules, including redundant labeling requirements and prohibitions on hemp. A spokesman for the health department declined to say if or when the agency would respond to the suit’s call for the new regulations to be thrown out.
“The Department of Health does not comment on pending litigation,” DOH spokesman David Morgan said.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Another medical cannabis company joins in legal action against the state


A second medical cannabis company has filed a petition asking a state district judge to invalidate rules recently enacted by the New Mexico Department of Health.
Pecos Valley Production, a medical cannabis company with dispensaries in the southern part of the state, filed a petition Monday in state district court calling for an annulment of regulatory rules that lawyers for the company called “arbitrary and capricious.”
The petition from Pecos Valley argues similar points as one filed last week, on behalf of cannabis producer and manufacturer Ultra Health. Both petitions are filed under the same case.



Lawyers for Ultra Health, one of which is Brian Egolf, who also serves as the state’s Speaker of the House, argued that the Medical Cannabis Program and the DOH failed to show reasoning for new rules. Ultra Health’s lawyers also accused the state of copying regulations from other states that have a medical cannabis program like Oregon and Colorado.
The petition from Pecos Valley Production also accused the state of adopting rules from other states instead of properly consulting with medical cannabis producers in New Mexico.
“These industry participants are well versed in the day-to-day operations of the New Mexico medical cannabis industry and therefore are more likely to provide relevant New Mexico specific evidence than the standards cut and pasted from other states,” the second petition reads.
Also like the Ultra Health petition, the court filing from Pecos Valley argued that the DOH failed to consult with the state’s Small Business Regulatory Advisory Commission to determine whether the rules create “an unnecessary burden on small businesses.”
Lawyers for Pecos Valley Production also accused DOH and the Medical Cannabis Program of not making technical aspects of the rulemaking procedure public.
“Simply put, NMDOH failed to provide the necessary information to the public in the beginning of the rulemaking, and then it engaged in a post hoc rationalization of the rule provisions in violations of its statutory obligations,” Pecos Valley Production’s lawyers wrote.
The company’s lawyers also wrote that a records request they sent to the DOH asking for the rulemaking record was delayed. But, they added, once that request is fulfilled the rulemaking record “will demonstrate it is replete with technical information that the NMDOH failed to provide in the initial notice published in the New Mexico register.”
The new rules were adopted last month, but were first proposed last October. After a meeting in November and another one in January, the department promulgated the rules, which include provisions for patient reciprocity and consumption areas as well as testing and labeling standards. But lawyers for both Pecos Valley Production and Ultra health said their clients do not take issue with rules surrounding those provisions.
A spokesman for the DOH previously told NM Political Report the department does not comment on pending legal matters.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

New Mexico Governor’s Campaign Asks For Marijuana Feedback From Supporters


The governor of New Mexico is highlighting her work to advance marijuana legalization and is soliciting feedback on the issue from supporters as part of a reelection campaign fundraising effort.

In an email blast on Tuesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) discussed how she established a working group to get public input on the reform move and urged the legislature to enact legalization.

While lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement by the end of session this year, she said “the economic impact would have created thousands of new jobs and sustainable state revenue sources to invest in New Mexico’s future.” She made a similar point in May, stating that taxing and regulating cannabis could help offset economic losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I didn’t make this decision lightly. I’ve listened to deep concerns for people whose lives have been turned upside down by the inequitable effects of minor marijuana convictions along with an undeniable call for increased public safety, especially for New Mexico children,” the governor wrote in the new email. “But one thing has become clear through all these efforts: Legalizing cannabis would be a net benefit to New Mexico and transform the lives of so many people in this state.”

“That’s why I’m turning to you—because I’m always looking to the future to see what new and innovative policy idea New Mexico should pursue to help transform our state. I’m meeting my team tomorrow to chat through some big ideas, but I need your input before then, so please, let me know.”

The email, which was first reported by The Santa Fe New Mexican, links to a survey with four questions for respondents. It notes that legalization could offset costs for medical cannabis patients and asks supporters whether they feel it’s “important to protect and expand access to medical cannabis.”

The governor’s campaign also discussed public safety considerations for a legal marijuana model, stating that she’s committed to “shutting down illegal markets and keeping recreational cannabis out of the hands of children.”

“How important is it to you that New Mexico protect public safety as it pursues legalized cannabis?” it asks, with options ranging from “extremely important” to “not important at all.”

The survey also requests input on the importance of stimulating local economies through legalization and promoting “forward-thinking” policies like cannabis reform.

At the end of the survey, Lujan Grisham says the “COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the need for strong Democratic leadership in our nation—including right here in New Mexico.”

“That’s why it’s so urgent that we elect strong Democrats up and down the ballot who will roll up their sleeves and get right to work for New Mexico’s families—and take up cannabis legalization,” it states. “But Donald Trump has made New Mexico a top target, and I need your help to fight back.”

After people complete the questionnaire they are then prompted to donate to the Lujan Grisham’s campaign committee.

A bill to legalize cannabis did advance through one Senate committee in January, but it was rejected by another with just days left in the legislative session. Lujan Grisham said that when lawmakers reconvene in 2021, it’s possible the legislature will pursue the reform move through a constitutional amendment that would be referred to voters at the ballot box.

The prospects of passing legalization in New Mexico were strengthened after the June primary, which saw the ouster of several key senators who have helped to block reform legislation.

Read the full email on marijuana legalization from the governor’s reelection campaign below:

“Friends –

Last year, after listening to thousands of New Mexicans, I convened a bipartisan working group to study recreational cannabis legalization, examine the effects of legalized cannabis in other states and make recommendations about whether or not New Mexico should pursue legalization.

As Governor, I look for any chance to make transformative investments to build a better New Mexico – including infrastructure, education, tourism, and most of all, the economy.

After seeing New Mexico’s medical cannabis program change the lives of so many patients, I knew it was important to protect medical cannabis access to ensure patients get their medicine while we pursue new opportunities to help communities create robust local economies.

That’s why I put cannabis legalization on the State Legislature’s agenda this year. Unfortunately, the Legislature couldn’t come to an agreement, even though the economic impact would have created thousands of new jobs and sustainable state revenue sources to invest in New Mexico’s future.

I didn’t make this decision lightly. I’ve listened to deep concerns for people whose lives have been turned upside down by the inequitable effects of minor marijuana convictions along with an undeniable call for increased public safety, especially for New Mexico children.

But one thing has become clear through all these efforts: Legalizing cannabis would be a net benefit to New Mexico and transform the lives of so many people in this state.

That’s why I’m turning to you – because I’m always looking to the future to see what new and innovative policy idea New Mexico should pursue to help transform our state. I’m meeting my team tomorrow to chat through some big ideas, but I need your input before then, so please, let me know:

Should New Mexico legalize cannabis?

YES NO

We can create a huge economic opportunity for New Mexico communities – but I want to make sure we get this right, which is why I’m turning to you for advice.

I know how important it is to keep cannabis away from children, commit to shutting down illegal markets, expand economic opportunity for everyone and protect medical cannabis in New Mexico.

Thanks for fighting with me to build a better New Mexico, friends.

Michelle Lujan Grisham”
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Top New Mexico Lawmaker Is Hopeful State Can Legalize Marijuana In 2021 Session


A top New Mexico lawmaker said on Wednesday that the legislature will again attempt to advance marijuana legalization next session—and while the state is far from the first out of the gate in ending prohibition, it will have the benefit of drawing lessons from other jurisdictions that have already enacted the policy change.

He also discussed the benefits of decriminalizing all drugs more broadly.

During a livestream event, House Speaker Brian Egolf (D) spoke with Rep. Javier Martinez (D) and the Drug Policy Alliance’s (DPA) Emily Kaltenbach about the need for cannabis reform and plans to achieve it in the coming 2021 session. The panel also took a series of questions from viewers about potential provisions of legalization legislation and the prospects of advancing the bill on a bipartisan basis, among other topics.

Egolf said that “hopefully we’ll get [marijuana reform] done in this session coming up” that starts in January, and stressed that legislators “can gain from the knowledge and experience that other states provide based on their first experiences with legalization.”


A bill to legalize cannabis for adult use passed one Senate committee in January only to be rejected in another before the end of the short 2020 session. But lawmakers seem intent on giving it another go, and they have strong support from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), who said last month that marijuana legalization represents a positive fiscal opportunity for the state, especially amid budget shortfalls caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the governor has previously talked about the economic benefits of legalization, she proposed a more targeted use of tax revenue in her most recent comments by indicating it could help fund Medicaid.

But Wednesday’s conversation primarily focused on the social justice implications of reform, with the House speaker opening a dialogue about the “really ugly history” in the U.S. of using “drug laws to impact communities of color.”

“The war on drugs was not immune to racism, to put it very, very openly and directly,” Martinez, who was the lead sponsor of recent legalization legislation, said. “The war on drugs was a policy that was framed, that was developed and that was deployed specifically targeting people of color.”

The lawmaker, who also chairs a joint committee that held a hearing last month to discuss the economic impact of cannabis reform, said he’s hopeful that the policy change will be enacted this upcoming session and said he anticipates that “in this year’s version of the bill, we are very likely to get Republican support, particularly on the Senate side.”

“I suspect that [Republican legislators are] going to be feeling pressure from their constituents,” he said. “The polling that we’re seeing is off the charts as they say with regard to support for this concept.”

Egolf replied that “we’ll see if there’s any proof in the pudding when we get to the vote counting.”

Beyond marijuana, the speaker also asked about “decriminalizing the possession of narcotics and what that would do to help people across the board, especially people of color in New Mexico, avoid the prison cycle or the jail cycle and all that does to force someone to lose a job, to lose an apartment.”

DPA’s Kaltenbach said that getting a conviction for low-level drug possession is “usually devastating—not only to the individual but to their whole family.”

“I think we forget, in New Mexico, if you just have a tiny amount of a drug other than cannabis, that’s a felony in New Mexico and that felony haunts you for the rest of your life,” she said. “It’s not only fueling mass incarceration oftentimes, both in our local jails and our prisons, but it’s also some of the mass criminalization that happens.”

But when it comes to marijuana legalization, this latest conversation seems to serve as another signal that the lawmakers are aligned with the governor on the need for reform.

In May, Lujan Grisham signaled that she may actively campaign against lawmakers who blocked her legalization bill in this year’s regular session. She also said in February that she’s open to letting voters decide on the policy change via a ballot referendum.

The legalization effort in the state may also get a boost next year from the results of this year’s primary elections in which several Democratic lawmakers who had opposed the reform were ousted by progressive challengers.
 

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