NM Proposing Changes in Medical Marijuana Program
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NM Proposing Changes in Medical Marijuana Program
Posted by CN Staff on December 01, 2010 at 11:34:23 PT
By Sue Major Holmes, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Albuquerque, N.M. -- Medical marijuana growers in New Mexico say proposed changes to the state's program, which include new fees imposed on producers, weren't adequately considered and would destroy small-scale licensed growers.The state Department of Health announced proposed changes to the program's regulations in late summer, and revised them after growers and patients criticized the changes during a September hearing. A hearing on the latest plan is set for Thursday in Santa Fe.
Health Department officials have said they want to raise fees to pay for administering the program, which until now has been funded from other agency programs."We tried to project income in such a way that it will support the program substantially, especially given the current budget situation," Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil said.Initially, the agency proposed creating a new annual fee equal to 7 percent of a producer's yearly gross receipts. The department scuttled that plan after objections that the fee in essence doubled the gross receipts tax growers already pay.The agency now proposes an annual fee based on how long a grower has operated, ranging from $5,000 for producers licensed for less than a year up to $30,000 for those licensed for more than three years.Santa Fe grower Len Goodman said a fixed dollar amount will allow large, well-capitalized producers such as himself to continue but will kill small ones."Every community in New Mexico should be able to have a small-scale producer to take care of small needs. That fee precludes that," he said.The attorney for the newly formed New Mexico Medical Cannabis Producers' Guild, Paul Livingston of Placitas, contended in a recent letter to Vigil that the department failed to adequately consider the costs or justification for its proposals - in particular, increased fees on the licensed, nonprofit growers.The guild, only about three months old, is too new to have developed a position on the plan, Livingston said in an interview.However, he said there's "a general feeling it's unreasonable to demand a fee" without detailing how it would be spent and without addressing other concerns growers have.Producers also are upset the state did not propose raising the current limit on the amount of medical marijuana they can have - 95 mature plants and seedlings and enough inventory of medical marijuana to meet the needs of current patients.Growers contend the limit is not enough to handle the more than 2,800 active patients the state has licensed. New Mexico has 17 growers, six of them licensed just last month.Producers suggested increasing the limit to 200 plants or more.Goodman said it was "an enormous disappointment" the department did not propose higher plant limits.He said he's the state's largest producer, but his business runs out within hours of a crop being ready. It takes two weeks to produce the next one, he said."We need plants because our patients need medicine," he said.Vigil said the proposed changes to the regulations were "fine-tuning" the program.New Mexico's medical marijuana law "was carefully crafted to make it a conservative, medical program," Vigil said."I don't think we're restructuring the program any radical or significant way," he said.Vigil said he hoped final regulations would be in place soon, but Livingston said he'd prefer a study of the program's medical, legal and economic aspects before regulations change.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Sue Major Holmes, Associated PressPublished: December 1, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressCannabisNews  Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 02, 2010 at 15:45:40 PT
She is in Recovery now and not feeling very well. She is nauseated so we only stayed on the phone a few minutes. Hope has been on a very rough journey for many months now. We talk all the time in e-mail and if you only knew how hard it's been for her. You never could tell how bad it's been when she talks on CNews. She knows how to rise above it all for everyone's sake and that's what makes her so special to me.
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Comment #5 posted by DrDunkleosteus on December 02, 2010 at 15:07:54 PT:
Hope is a great person and I love reading her comments on here. She makes my day. I'll keep her in my thoughts. Good luck and stay strong, Hope!
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 02, 2010 at 06:39:47 PT
Just a Note
I haven't found any news to post so far today but hopefully I'll find something later in the day.I wanted to mention that today Hope is having surgery. For those who believe in prayer please say one for her and for those who don't please keep her in your thoughts today. 
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Comment #3 posted by DrDunkleosteus on December 02, 2010 at 00:02:37 PT:
From that article:"That figure has risen steadily in the past four years. In 2007, the Justice Department estimated that the Mexican drug trade generated as much as $24.9 billion. By 2009, it was $39 billion. This year, the government declined to make a projection, saying only that drugs brought in 'tens of billions of dollars.'."Really? "Declined to make a projection"? What is that? Oh, don't worry about numbers and statistics and all that boring stuff, just know were hunting drugs for God!So, lets assume for a second they're right and the number is increasing steadily. In two years the number went up 14.1 billion dollars. Thus, in one years time, we should be looking at somewhere around 46.05 billion dollars as of 2010. The end of next year, 53.1 billion dollars. DEA, just stop. Clearly you can't do your job.
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Comment #2 posted by Canis420 on December 01, 2010 at 22:53:51 PT:
This article wtf
 Gaddis dropped his head into his hands for a moment, thinking."You know, we're doing God's work," he replied.WTF
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on December 01, 2010 at 12:20:56 PT
substantial support
"We tried to project income in such a way that it will support the program substantially, especially given the current budget situation," Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil said.Speaking of substantial support, how about substantiating the proposed fees, by making public, the budget these fees will support, what the fees are for, how they are spent and what services the program, providers and patients gets from NMHS in return for the fees?
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