Health Department Asks for Comment on MMJ 

Health Department Asks for Comment on MMJ 
Posted by CN Staff on December 04, 2007 at 07:09:09 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Santa Fe, NM -- Patients, caregivers or private entities could get licenses from the state Department of Health to provide marijuana under New Mexico's medical marijuana program, according to proposed regulations released by the department.The proposed rules would establish a regulated system for the licensure, distribution and manufacture of medical marijuana.
The department plans to publish the rules for public comment later this month, and a public hearing will follow in Santa Fe on Jan. 14. Department spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer said the timeline for developing formal rules will depend on the comments received."It's a complicated and important program and we want to do this thoughtfully and carefully," she said Monday, adding that the public comment period will be an important part of the process.The state law that took effect this summer allows the use of marijuana for pain or other symptoms of debilitating illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS and certain spinal cord injuries.Since the law took effect July 1, the department has certified 74 patients as eligible to possess marijuana. That protects the individuals from state prosecution, but leaves them to find their own supply of marijuana potentially growing it themselves or obtaining it from friends or drug dealers.Under the proposed rules, the department would provide for several different kinds of licensed producers, including a qualified patient, a caregiver, a state-owned or operated facility or a private entity."We're outlining a variety of options," Busemeyer said.Reena Szczepanski, a lobbyist for Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico who helped push the legislation through, said she had not yet reviewed the regulations but she was pleased to hear about the different levels of licensed producers and distributors."It's really great because it allows for some flexibility and it allows for different patient population's needs to be met," she said.The regulations also spell out the department's monitoring and corrective action authority and the requirements for those wanting a license, such as criminal background checks and facility security measures.The one thing the proposed regulations do not address is the threat of federal prosecution for marijuana possession or distribution."Unfortunately, we can't change federal law and there is still a conflict with federal and state law. The regulations only spell out what is allowed or not allowed under state law," Busemeyer said.In August, the department had announced that it would not implement the law's provisions for the agency to oversee the production and distribution of marijuana to eligible patients because of concerns over the potential for federal prosecution against state employees.But Richardson, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, had ordered the department to continue planning for the program.New Mexico was the 12th state to legalize marijuana for certain medical uses, but it's the only one where the law calls for state-licensed production and distribution of the drug."It's precedent setting," Busemeyer said of New Mexico's program, "and that's why we need to be really careful in how we proceed."Complete Title: Health Department Asks for Comment on Medical Marijuana RegsSource: Associated Press (Wire)Published: December 4, 2007Copyright: 2007 Associated Press Related Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance Department Asks for Comment on MMJ MMJ: Battle Brewing Over State Pot Law Should OK Medicinal Marijuana Use 
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 07, 2007 at 08:18:19 PT
Related Article from New Mexico Business Weekly
Marijuana Rules Could Seed a New Industry***New Mexico Business Weekly - by Thomas Munro NMBW StaffFriday, December 7, 2007New Mexico -- Proposed rules for medical marijuana providers could open the door to private nonprofit or for-profit producers in New Mexico. Since the state's medical marijuana registry was created July 1, patients have had three ways to obtain marijuana: by growing it themselves; by contracting with "designated caregivers," who grow or otherwise obtain the plant and are each allowed to provide doses of the herb to at most four patients; or by buying it off the street. While street drugs have high, black-market prices, the designated caregivers are not allowed to charge patients any more than the cost of "supplies or utilities associated with the possession of medical use marijuana." The proposed rules could open the field of providers to private entities that would establish licit market pricing, raising concerns of a capitalistic free-for-all similar to the market in California, where 300 "pot clubs" offer a marijuana-connoisseur's delight of exotic varieties, often at prices beyond the means of needy patients. While only nonprofit operations are protected by California law, some clubs are reputed to be making millions. "California's gotten really out of control," said Melissa Milam, coordinator of New Mexico's medical cannabis program. One bulwark against this distopian future is the much tighter restriction on conditions that can qualify a patient for a medical marijuana card. In California, a doctor can prescribe marijuana for anyone he believes will be helped by it. In New Mexico, only patients suffering pain as a result of one of seven conditions can qualify, short of a special petition to a medical advisory board. The board will look at proposals for additions to the list every six months. Copyright: 2007 American City Business Journals, Inc.
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Comment #5 posted by fight_4_freedom on December 04, 2007 at 20:59:25 PT:
Windy City Times
Why World AIDS Day Should Highlight the Need For Medical Cannabis.2007-12-05By Richard Cowan, Publisher, MarijuanaNews.comIn the United States and throughout the Western world, patients with HIV and AIDS have been the driving forces behind the effort to legalize the therapeutic use of cannabis.For over 20 years the HIV/AIDS community has been aware of pot’s medical utility—despite consistent denials from their elected officials regarding the plant’s efficacy. In recent years clinical studies have added credence to what were once only anecdotal claims.For example, a study published this summer in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes reported, “Smoked marijuana … has a clear medical benefit in HIV-positive [ patients ] by increasing food intake and improving mood and objective and subjective sleep measures.........” 
rest of article
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on December 04, 2007 at 15:53:48 PT
making me a believer
I thought Richardson was just grandstanding, wow it does look like he's got the govt. actually doing what they're supposed to do. Excellent work DPA and everyone else.
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Comment #3 posted by fight_4_freedom on December 04, 2007 at 15:15:34 PT:
More progression
is taking place in the oh-so beautiful state of New Mexico, and I'm glad to hear it. It'll be interesting to see how they decide to give patients access.
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Comment #2 posted by nuevo mexican on December 04, 2007 at 11:28:03 PT
Thanks for the great news!
A friend told me he went to a Doctor for a prescription for Cannabis, he is 65, and the doctor told him you're in great shape, sorry!He medicates to encourage him to eat, (he's taller and thinner than I), and that is not good, yet he didn't mention it. His eyes benefit as well, he didn't mention that either, because he doesn't have glaucoma.He also wanted protection from arrest, and didn't get it, because he didn't have one of the listed ailments. The moral of the story, a 65 year old man who medicates with Cannabis couldn't get a doctors recommendation because he uses Cannabis to stay healthy, to encourage him to eat, a catch-22, eh?Like they say, an APPLE (cider vinegar) a day, and cannabis, keeps the doctor away!Glad you're feeling better FOM!Bill Richardson should stay on as Governor here, don't you think?He can be Prez when New Mexico secedes from the Union!LOL!If he leaves, can we have Gary Johnson back?
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on December 04, 2007 at 07:57:06 PT
New Mexico professionalism in government
New Mexico seems to be taking a very transparent, open and thoughtful approach to implementing the law.It is certainly nice to see this taking place without the usual hysteria and whining you see from many city and county governments who are assigned to implementing similar laws.
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