Thursday, February 9, 2017

Legalizing Cannabis In New Mexico: A Clinician’s Point of View

By Anita Briscoe, MS, APRN-BC

As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, I am assisting Rep. Bill McCamley get his bill (House Bill 89, Cannabis Revenue and Freedom Act) passed this legislative session. For eight years, I have referred my patients to New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program.

I refer for the conditions of post-traumatic stress disorder and severe chronic pain. I have seen astounding success in my patients as I see them from year to year. I have also observed that my patients who have incidental opiate dependence/addiction are able to lower or eliminate their opiate use with cannabis. My patients’ lives improve in so many ways. They get their jobs and their kids back, their spouses notice a difference for the better, they are now able to go back to school full time. Those who are crippled by PTSD, chronic severe pain and opiate dependence often go back to work and become taxpaying citizens, rather than relying on disability.

From the point of view of a clinician, why shouldn’t all New Mexicans be able to have access to cannabis, if it works so well for the medical conditions that are already approved? The suffering that I observe in New Mexico is immeasurable. Because we are indeed the worst run state, clinicians like myself are seeing the results: the devastating traumatic effects of poverty such as child neglect. My patients also describe being victims of the violence, the child abuse our citizens have experienced. I see patients from every corner of the state and in between. I have heard so many stories from adults that were sexually molested as small children, that I’m starting to wonder if it is part of the culture of this state.

Legalizing cannabis in this state would bring many benefits. It would help our economy because the
demand for cannabis would increase and therefore we could reap the monetary benefits from the taxes generated, like Colorado has. It would create more jobs because of increased demand. If we could grow more Cannabidiol, or CBD as we call it (the plant that does not produce a “high” and is used for pain, anxiety and seizures) we could possibly become the CBD Capital of the nation. There is currently a huge demand for CBD that is not being met. We would reap so many benefits from legalizing cannabis. It’s going to happen. Why not make it sooner than later and rescue our economy at the same time?

I am starting a petition for the Rural New Mexico Cannabis Patients to have better access to quality medicine. The high prices, poor quality, limited access and even denied access in some cases to rural medical cannabis patients is against the "Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act". With the right to have collectives we give the power back to the medical cannabis patients of New Mexico with strain variety, lower prices, and better access to quality medicine.

Collectives will give every New Mexico medical cannabis patients a choice to use their 16 plants to help them supply their own medicine. Many New Mexico patients do not have the ability to grow their own medicine because of many factors including physical (to weak or unable to maintain
a garden),financial, time, space and knowledge of growing and producing cannabis to a medical grade. My favorite of them all the is rule placed by the Department of Health that prohibits Medical cannabis patients to use their Personal production Licenses unless one has informed the landlord
that you are a medical cannabis patient and they give written permissions to grow at the residents. If you do not you are denied the right to grow your plants, and then you might be forced to the black market because rural patients do not have access in the majority of cases. So, please sign
this petition and help better the lives of thousands of rural New Mexico Cannabis patients.

About Anita:
Anita Briscoe, MS, APRN-BC is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Albuquerque, NM. Her petition,
“Adding Opiate Dependence as a Qualifying Condition for Medical Cannabis” has been approved by the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Medical Advisory Board, and awaits final signature by NM Secretary of Health Lynn Gallagher. (Read about her Petition Here)

Anita Briscoe is a Native New Mexican and has been a nurse in Albuquerque for 38 years. Twenty-two of those years have been in psychiatry, and she has been a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner for 11 years. Anita’s motivation is to heal. She is a recognized healer in the City of Albuquerque. She has been a Field Instructor for NM State University’s MIND Program for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners. She is also studying Curandersimo, as well as Medical Cannabis research. She is certified as a Clinical Trauma Professional. She has worked in private practice and has been the prescriber for St. Martin’s Hospitality Center.

Anita’s Schedule

Schedule follows that of CG Corrigan: Monday – Friday: 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Sat. & Sun.: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Appointments made by calling 505-720-9495
or scheduling online at on the Contact Us page.

This article first appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican: Reader View: Legalizing cannabis in New Mexico: A clinician’s point of view (Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2017 7:00 pm)

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