I’ll also share my husband’s medical cannabis registration experience, just so you know it can also be really much easier for some people. He’s had Glaucoma in one eye for several years and had tried medication and a pressure reducing surgery, both of which changed nothing. His Opthamologist filled out his necessary forms, a bit reluctantly and with the caution of “you know you have to smoke it 4 times a day, don’t you?” Yes, he knows. But he filled out the forms anyway, we mailed it off to the New Mexico Dept. of Health, and several weeks later his card came enabling him to register with dispensaries of his choice to purchase medicine. It was that simple, for him. Note: His Opthamologist is considered one of the best in the state, yet he was not well informed in the area of cannabis use for glaucoma. He didn’t know there were strains that don’t get you high, nor that four times a day doesn’t mean a person is high all the time. He also didn’t know how effective small doses actually are at relieve pain and eye pressure. I just don’t think it was very important to him. He’d rather do surgery. Always with the best interest of the patient in mind? I don’t think so.
You may not need help with the forms. In New Mexico the forms are very simple and just a few of pages. If you have a history of chronic pain but have not been under a doctors care for your issue, you may need to find a doctor that specializes in Medical Cannabis, for help in determining which of the qualifying conditions applies to you. New Mexico doesn’t charge you to apply, so the only cost to you is the recommending doctor’s fees running on average about $250 to $300. There is a fee, however, if you wish to apply to grow your own cannabis medicine, and right now that is a non-refundable $30, and is pending on approval of your grow plan. You must re-apply every year for both the Medical Cannabis Program user card as well as grower cards.
Mileage may vary in different states. As each new state considers coming on board with medical marijuana they glean info from other states that have successful programs for a model. California certainly makes it very, ridiculously easy. All you need to do is see a doctor that will say you have an ailment that medical pot will alleviate. but many states, like New Jersey, are not making it as easy to qualify at all, never mind find a place (at this time only 2) to legally purchase cannabis medicine. The laws are all fairly new and evolving, and that is being kind to NJ lawmakers because their program is a joke and many people there are being made to suffer needlessly. New Mexico is proud of their implementation plan and hopes to be a model for other states as they come on board with legalization marijuana for medicinal use.
The qualifying conditions to become a Medical Cannabis user in our State of New Mexico are as follows.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, (ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease)
- Cancer, (must specify what type)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Glaucoma (Ophthalmologist diagnosis required), (with proof of current anti-viral treatment)
- Hepatitis C infection (currently receiving antiviral treatment)
- Hospice Care
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inclusion Body Myositis
- Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis, (Board Certified Rheumatologist certification required)
- Intractable Nausea/Vomiting
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Painful Peripheral Neuropathy, (medical records with diagnosis required)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (with current documentation confirming the diagnosis by a Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner)
- Severe Chronic Pain, (this condition must be accompanied by two medical certifications – one from a primary care provider and a second from a specialist with expertise in pain management confirming unremitting severe chronic pain.)
- Severe Anorexia/Cachexia
- Spinal Cord Damage with Intractable Spasticity
- Spasmodic Torticollis, (Cervical Dystonia)
- Ulcerative Colitis
Qualified and registered patients re-registering every year have no guarantees the state will accept your qualifications every time but as long as you play by their rules you will do fine. There is also no guarantee that a Medical Cannabis specialist will agree that you qualify, but the good ones don’t charge if they don’t believe you will, and won’t fill out your paperwork “in hope” you’ll be accepted, because they know what works and what doesn’t. I have reviewed the qualifications for medical cannabis/marijuana in other states that have adopted medical marijuana laws, and the lists are very similar to New Mexico’s with some differences. You must find the list of qualifications in your own state to proceed. The only really different state is California, and I’ll talk a bit more about California in the next posting. A few others do not accept PTSD yet, but it’s just a matter of time before they come around too, because there is much a-buzz in the psychiatric community about Medical Marijuana and PTSD. Personally, I know PTSD patients for whom medical cannabis is the only way they can lead fairly normal life, as if the weed can tame a waiting dragon, making it more contented and less likely to show up. Sure, there is a DRUG for that, there are lots of them, but the side effects can be just as horrible or worse to live with than the problem it’s fixing. Pot doesn’t do that. Sorry for ranting again.
The NORML website has a pretty good list of all 22 medical marijuana states (as of 10/23/13), as well as a descriptive summery of the medical marijuana laws in each state that has a program, up and running or in the works. The list is updated frequently, so check it out for info in your state.