Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cannabis, Hemp, and The Land Of Enchantment

Cannabis, Hemp, and The Land Of Enchantment

By Jason Barker
(Medical Cannabis Patient & Organizer -LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico)

New Mexico’s economy continues to be one of the slowest growing economies in the country. The state budget shortfalls for 2016, and this slow growth reveals too much dependence on largess by the federal government and oil revenues. Those sources of New Mexico's economic malaise provide funding for education and Health and Human Services programs like Medicaid in our state. New Mexico spending by function in fiscal year, 2014 was 25.8% for Medicaid and that spending has increased from 22.1% in fiscal year, 2010. While during that same period of 2010-2014, K-12 Education and High Education both saw decreases in spending. And now in the state, half of all New Mexicans are on Medicaid or medicare.

Of the three most crucial budget demands upon the state: Public Schools, Medicaid, and Higher Education. Combined they provide the true economic and social multiplier with the greatest opportunity of success for the state’s residents and the state’s economy. Providing funding for these invaluable programs in our state can be achieved with cannabis legalization, industrial hemp legalization and the utilization of solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources.

The state has the renewable resources to potentially provide 1,000 times more clean energy than Public Service Company of New Mexico’s current demand, according to the state Energy Conservation and Management Division.

In a recent article in The Albuquerque Journal, “Legalize marijuana to adequately finance Medicaid” By Duke Rodriguez / Former Secretary, New Mexico Human Services Department; Principal, Ultra Health LLC. Mr. Rodriguez has left out his own financial interest in the legalization of cannabis in New Mexico, as a businessperson and not a medical professional. Ultra Health is a turnkey solutions provider for the cannabis industry, from retail medical dispensaries to commercial-scale cannabis production based in Arizona and operating in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.

And as Secretary of Human Services in the cabinet of New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Mr. Rodriguez privatized Medicaid into a program called PROGRESS. The Albuquerque Journal summarized his approach then:
“With extremely limited input from advocates, consumers, the state legislature and state health, mental health and children’s and family departments, Rodriguez designed and pushed through his own plan.”

The plan was eventually scrapped by the State Supreme Court since Johnson’s administration imposed it without approval of the Legislature. This also resulted in Duke Rodriguez resigning amid allegations that he received money from a firm that collected millions of dollars in Medicaid payments from the state welfare department.

With New Mexico facing these budget challenges, our best corrective measure is legalization of social use cannabis and industrial hemp legalization in the state of New Mexico. In addition, to legislation for the utilization of solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources. The FY, 2017 General Fund revenue sources for New Mexico draws 43% from Sales taxes and 26% from Income taxes. Colorado cannabis tax revenues now greatly exceeds original estimates of $70 million per year now. Canada has had industrial hemp since 1998, and farmers there have reported net profits of $200 to $250 per acre. Most Canadian hemp is exported to the United States.

The revenues from social use cannabis legalization and industrial hemp legalization alone can fund our Medicaid program in a sound manner. And it will also decrease that dependence upon the federal government and pave a path for economic growth in several private sector areas.

New Mexico has the potential to be a national leader in the rapidly growing clean energy economy. Wind and solar power development is increasing, largely thanks to great resource potential, declining costs, and a successful state-level requirement that utilities supply 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. Thus, moving forward in this way would accelerate the state’s clean energy transition while delivering important economic, consumer, and public health benefits.

New Mexico has been providing Medical Cannabis to patients in the State since 1978, it’s time for New Mexico to return as the leader and pioneer in the sciences of medical cannabis and social use cannabis. New Mexico can be a new leader among states, by showing how social use cannabis legalization can be done without regulating it like alcohol and tobacco. New Mexico should legalize cannabis, regulate, and tax the adult social use of cannabis like herbal and nutritional supplements in New Mexico. As all use of cannabis has true therapeutic aspects in conjunction with the vast medicinal cannabis benefits. Ahóá New Mexico.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Medical Cannabis Program administrative delays continue to disrupt Safe Access to medicine

MEDIA RELEASE

Monday, June 13th 2016

LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico
Jason Barker - Organizer & Medical Cannabis Patient
LECUAPatientsCoalitionNM@gmail.com

Medical Cannabis Program administrative delays continue to disrupt Safe Access to medicine.

  The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. The purpose of this Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments. State law ( Title 7 Ch 34 Part 3 -7.34.3.11 ) requires patients be registered within 30 days  by the Medical Cannabis Program Office after applying or renewing, but the department is taking between 60 and 90 days to complete this process.  People within our medical cannabis community with debilitating medical conditions like; Cancer, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Post‐Traumatic Stress Disorder and the many other qualifying conditions have had their Safe Access to medical cannabis complete disrupted and left without medicine for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.

The faces of these medical cannabis patients are mothers, aunts, grandparents, armed forces veterans, former first responders, and survivors - no different than those in our community you’d see in a Walgreens. In pursuit of its mission, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program issued an extensive RFP on July 22, 2014 for a software solution to maintain regulatory compliance. After extensive proposal evaluations and live software demonstrations, BioTrackTHC achieved a cannabis industry first: back-to-back government contract wins.  Now with well over a year for the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program officials to prepare for this new software solution, it is the people in our medical cannabis community that are left suffering from the current delays.

It was clear in late January of 2016 that New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program was going to be dealing with long delays in the processing of renewal and new medical cannabis applications.  No warning was provided to medical cannabis patients, doctors, or licensed non profit producers- of even a possibility of delays with the new software solution, the Department of Health has had almost two years to prepare for.  Nor did one official from the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Office or the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board even consider to think of providing a contingency plan to protect all of these medical cannabis patients and upholding the legal scope and spirit of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act; nor have they even attempted to resolve this Safe Access issue by providing a contingency plan now. The New Mexico Department of Health New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program needs to be held accountable for not following their own Rules & Regulations and needs to provide these suffering people in our medical cannabis community with immediate safe access to medicine.

LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico

LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico LECUA_thc_cbd.png

LECUAPatientsCoalitionNM@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 14th  2016


The Medical Cannabis Community and the LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico would like to introduce our Coalition to you.  We are all looking forward to new and healthy initiatives to come forth from our legislators and the upcoming session in 2017 to further benefit the wellness of our State’s medical cannabis community.  

The best grassroots movements combine the art of conversation with skilled activism. They are considered by elected officials to be a principled voice and smart resource for community leaders who are interested in addressing the question of medical cannabis. The primary focus is on Medical Cannabis, LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico is solely focused on expanding safe access to medical cannabis in New Mexico.
This means that LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico position does support legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes or on related issues, such as incarceration or sentencing standards for recreational drug use; this support will be to provide policy writing that first & foremost protects the Medical Cannabis Program in said legislation.
While many different issues bring people to the issue of medical cannabis, the following are the beliefs and values that guide our work at LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico
· Cannabis is medicine and the truth is becoming more widely known and recognized
· Government should guide policy on compassion, care and scientific research
· The current federal policy on medical cannabis is hypocritical, immoral and a violation of basic human rights
· Government must be accountable to the people
· Everyone should have the right to produce, acquire
and use their own medicine

The LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico is being organized to provide the latest scientific and medical based research for medical cannabis for the: patients, prospective patients, community education & information, physicians / medical professionals,  and for local & state organizations. We look forward to working together to find common ground with the State Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to ensure the scope of the Lynn & Erin Compassionate Use Act, 2007, is in the best interest and application for the patients. And promoting the LECUA Compassionate Medical Cannabis Program in the State of New Mexico through educational initiatives and through Local, State & Regional Lobbying.

New Mexico has been providing Medical Cannabis to patients in the State since 1978; It’s our goal for New Mexico to return as the leader of safe and accessible medical cannabis for all patients in the State and be a leader for this in the Southwest,  amongst the Top 3 Programs Nationally, and then be a Top 10 Medical Program World Wide.


Respectfully Yours,

LECUA Patient’s Coalition Of New Mexico


UNITE-NETWORK-GROW-INFORM-KNOW-EDUCATE-ACTIVISM-VOTE-HEALTH-WELLNESS

Sunday, June 5, 2016

LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico


   Launching the LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico ( LECUA PCNM ) is a great way to formally bring together like-minded activists in OUR medical cannabis community to work together toward ensuring safe access to medical cannabis. LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico will provide a state network of activists and goals to provide a national coalition network and staff; who work together on a regular basis to achieve shared goals. A great grassroots movement brings together vibrant activists in an environment of mutual respect, shared responsibility, and constructive political activism and creates a space for new advocates to plug into the movement. The ideal grassroots movement is networked into the larger community and is a constructive voice for patients, future patients and providers of medical cannabis in the state of New Mexico.

The best grassroots movements combine the art of conversation with skilled activism. They are considered by elected officials to be a principled voice and smart resource for community leaders who are interested in addressing the question of medical cannabis. The primary focus is on Medical Cannabis, LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico is solely focused on expanding safe access to medical cannabis in New Mexico. This means that LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico position does support legalization of cannabis for non-medical purposes or on related issues, such as incarceration or sentencing standards for recreational drug use; this support will be to provide policy writing that first & foremost protects the Medical Cannabis Program in said legislation.

Nonpartisan Statement: LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico cannot endorse candidates for elected office. This would be a violation of the organization's nonpartisan and nonprofit status. LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico are also not allowed to use funds to make contributions to candidates' political campaigns.

However, it is acceptable—and highly encouraged—to seek candidates' positions on medical cannabis issues. It is also highly encouraged to invite political candidates to meetings or even host a meet and greet with candidates so they can get to know patients and LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico members in their community. In addition, it is perfectly legal for  to campaign for or against ballot initiatives, referenda, state constitutional amendments, bond measures, or similar measures. Any position that LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico takes will be in line with the focus on safe access to medical cannabis.

LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico is NOT:
• One person
• Group that dispense medication
• Group that are linked to an individual medical cannabis provider
• Commercial entities or group that makes commercial endorsements or promotions

   The LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico, as a grassroots organization, will be the leader in New Mexico amongst medical cannabis patients groups; setting the tone for respectful communication, fiscal integrity, and transparency in decisions and plans. Members will have a clear sense of how funds are spent, how decisions are made, and why they are all valued members of a team! As a group we will be seeking transparency from others and the LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico will always be transparent itself.

   We have all almost certainly heard the phrase "medical cannabis movement," but have you stopped to consider what a movement is? And what it means to be a part of a "grassroots" movement? In terms of community organizing, a movement is simply a group of people who come together consciously, at their own cost, to accomplish a goal. The definition we use at LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico, is that a movement is a group of people who come together to change outdated laws concerning medical cannabis, while providing support for those who are harmed by existing law.

   Some people say that a movement is not a movement until others outside the group know it exists. This is a good point. The goal of organizing is to change minds and laws, so grassroots movements must reach out to the broader public. But all movements start small and local. We have had a growing national movement for medical cannabis in New Mexico largely in part to groups like DPA, SSDP, ASA, & NORML; and now we need to provide a STRONG State, Regional & Local movement for medical cannabis in our community. It is up to all of us and our like-minded neighbors, friends and patients we know- to plant the seeds and grow the movement locally!

Movement leaders do not tell the grassroots members what to do or believe. Instead, they listen to the community and look to the members for solutions. 

After all, the medical cannabis movement exists to get medicine to patients and support the victims of bad laws. A clear focus on that mission helps us set priorities and make decisions not governed by politics, public relations, or economics.  As custodians to our grassroots movement, LECUA Patients Coalition Of New Mexico can help provide you with the tools you need to build the powerful grassroots base that will foster real change as our group moves forward. We all have a role in being sure that this grassroots movement grows, stays true to its roots, and acts like a mature social change movement. Dialogue and discussion are necessary and we need to be able to listen non-defensively and communicate respectfully if we are going to achieve the goals we want for our medical cannabis program and future legalization legislation policies.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico - About this Group Statement:


LECUA Patients Coalition of New Mexico - About this Group Statement:
   I think it’s really important for all people within OUR medical cannabis community to know THEY are the power; the government, legislators & policy makers are lead to us and We have the power to change the laws and government - people in it, policy being written, and overturning rules & regulations that disrupt safe access to our medicine. Not one state’s medical cannabis law is perfect, they are working pieces of democracy and this is where WE can establish patient lead policy in New Mexico. We have the science, the research, the knowledge - the information the policy makers don’t have and we need to get it in front of legislators.
All you have to do is get involved. ( https://goo.gl/7umtDf - Facebook Discussion Group Web Link )

A strong and healthy movement must be led from the ground up. The term "grassroots" refers to a movement that is created and driven by the concerns of a community. This differs from political movements orchestrated from the top-down by politicians, political parties, or special interest groups. Our Foundation Will Be All People In Our Medical Cannabis Community.

And foremost of importance, a true grassroots movement looks civil and is civil. Your behavior to one another , the medical cannabis community and the community at large is what will distinguish a movement from a mob. Resist the temptation to be exclusionary or hostile as they will never be part of this movement here! . Welcome those who share your core beliefs and want to work in goodwill with you.
You do not have to agree about everything inside a movement. But infighting, accusations, and rivalries will bring unwanted negative attention, splinter medical cannabis supporters, and this makes everyone weaker.

Accountability and transparency are of high relevance for a grass movement like this in medical cannabis from this group and ALL others alike...In view of their responsibilities important for all people within OUR medical cannabis community , they are considered to be of even greater importance to them than to commercial undertakings. Yet these same values are often found to be lacking in some groups - never here.

Because a grassroots movement springs from the community, it also looks like the community. Members should mirror the community at large in age, gender, ethnic background, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, etc. Diversity matters if the movement hopes to speak for all medical cannabis patients in the community. We need everyone's input to get across the big picture.

Having a bottom-up focus will protect the integrity of our grassroots medical cannabis movement. After all, the medical cannabis movement exists to get medicine to patients and support the victims of bad laws. A clear focus on that mission helps us set priorities and make decisions not governed by politics, public relations, or economics.

Democracy : of Greek Origin; Demos (the people-in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights)

-Jason