For immediate release August 30, 2010

Media contact: Deborah Busemeyer
505-827-2619, 505-470-2290

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Department of Health Proposes Changes to Medical Cannabis Regulations

Public Invited to Comment; Public Hearing Scheduled for Sept. 30

(Santa Fe) – The New Mexico Department of Health will hold a public hearing at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 30 in the Harold Runnels Auditorium in Santa Fe to review proposed changes to the regulations that oversee the Department’s Medical Cannabis Program.

“When we established our first-of-its-kind program we knew we had lessons to learn about the best way to manage this complex program effectively,” said Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, MD. “We will consistently evaluate and make changes so we have a sustainable program that meets patients’ needs without jeopardizing public safety.”

One proposed area of change, in order to make the program self-sufficient financially, is to add an annual fee of 7 percent of the total annual gross receipts of the licensed nonprofit organizations who produce medical cannabis for New Mexico patients. A second proposal is to change the application fee to become a licensed nonprofit producer from $100 to $1000.

Other proposed additions to the regulations include:
• The Department or its designee may test producers’ medical cannabis for mold, bacteria or other contaminants.
• Clarification that producers and all patients may possess seeds. Patients licensed to produce for themselves may obtain no more than 16 seeds from a non-profit producer in a three-month period.
• The Department may open and close enrollment periods for receiving and considering nonprofit producer applications.
• The names and contact information of medical practitioners certifying patients’ conditions and primary caregivers will be kept confidential.
• Nonprofit producer board members must be New Mexico residents.
• Nonprofit producer boards cannot have more than two individuals who serve on another board, and individuals may not serve on more than two boards.

There are 2,250 active medical cannabis patients, and 1,022 are licensed to produce their own supply of medical cannabis.

To be approved for the Medical Cannabis Program, patients must have a physician certify they have one of the qualifying conditions. Certain conditions require additional medical certifications or medical records detailing the condition.
Qualifying conditions for medical cannabis: severe chronic pain, painful peripheral neuropathy, intractable nausea/vomiting, severe anorexia/cachexia, hepatitis C infection currently receiving antiviral treatment, Crohn’s disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, and hospice care.

The Department of Health’s Medical Advisory Board will hold a public hearing at 10 a.m. on Sept. 29 in the Harold Runnels Auditorium to review petitions for adding new conditions into the Medical Cannabis Program. The Department will accept petitions until Sept. 8 in the office of the Medical Cannabis program, Runnels Building Room S-1310, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505.

Please visit the Medical Cannabis Program forms web-page for petition requirements and further details regarding the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board meeting.

For updates or more information about the Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program, look up

New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program: Updates