Today I’m posting a response to the feedback obtained from the Licensed Non-profit Producers of medical cannabis in New Mexico. In our state, these LNPPs are licensed to be growers and producers of cannabis and cannabis derived products, (such as edible medicine and concentrates), as well as being dispensary owners. LNPPs are not required to open dispensaries. From here on in LNPPs will be referred to simply as “producers”. Here is the response from the group of New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program patients and caregivers who reviewed the producer responses. This is not the personal opinion of cannagramma.com.
From the Patients
The first thing we would like to do is gratefully thank the twelve producers who took the time to respond and answer the questions posed to them by New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program patients. As to why the other eleven producers chose not to participate in this survey is unknown. Perhaps it got buried on someone’s desk, or they just didn’t want to answer. We may never know, but no matter what their reasons are for choosing not to participate, they appear to be pretty uncaring as to what patients think. Many of the producers who did respond gave very intricate answers and obviously took a lot of time out of their day preparing a response, and the patients thank them for considering us to be important.
A recurring theme among may of the producers was that if the state mandates testing of cannabis and cannabis products, this would force them to raise prices. Patients believe this is a cost of doing business and they should not be forced to shoulder the cost of testing when many of the producers are expanding their non-profit businesses with ancillary products, new locations and increased production. Such expansion already come at a cost to the patients who have been waiting four years for prices to come down to where they should be – well below the black market. Some producers have better prices than others, and have already made the choice to lower prices to help more patients before expanding their business. Some of them have not, choosing to utilize their profit differently. Many patients ARE very grateful for expansion of dispensaries to the more rural parts of the state.
Many producers support some mandatory testing of cannabis and cannabis products, but not all the tests that the State of New Mexico now mandates, (as of February 27, 2015). Some have been testing for various contaminants and cannabinoid content ever since a testing lab opened in Albuquerque a few years back, but the lab is now closed and now all the patients and producers have to wait for new full service labs to open in New Mexico if they want to test products legally.
Some producers feel they should be exempt from testing for certain contaminants because they feel their particular growing/drying/curing process is already safe enough. Patients believe all produces need to comply to all the testing requirements no matter how they claim to grow and process their plants, considering that they were trusted in the past with regard to cannabinoid content in bud and other products, and it was found that many could not live up to their claims when their products were tested. (SF Reporter, June 3, 2014)
Some producers stated that they believe that testing for moisture content was not needed in an arid state like NM, and some patients agree. Some patients don’t agree and believe these tests are just as important as testing for molds and other contaminants. Patients are disturbed by over dry crumbling buds that are sold to them by some producers, but are more concerned with proper curing and testing of their medicine, which brings up the next bone of contention that patients have with some producers; that what patents are purchasing is medicine, not food.
Patients strongly feel that safety requirements in the food industry are not equal to safety requirements in the medical cannabis industry, and are surprised that any producer would even suggest that. Patients are not being sold food, they are purchasing medicine. When the producers can all cross over into the recreational market, then they can perhaps sell that line to the recreational users, who may be fine with it. Patients are not.
Pleading ignorance is not ok with patients either. It wasn’t ok when some producers were creating and selling edibles with little or no cannabinoids in them and it isn’t ok with regard to testing. Patients expect every New Mexico producer be well informed and familiar with the most stringent of medical marijuana testing in America, and be leaders in their chosen field. Most patients understand the outcome of bad medicine that does not meet or exceed requirements, but are unsure if the producers understand.
Patients understand that the NM DOH doesn’t know exactly what kinds of tests and requirements to impose, but in reality no one knows for sure at this time. This is new territory for everyone involved, and patents are unsure of who to believe when the producers are at odds with each other on what is important to test for. Patients believe a testing laboratory with experience in the cannabis industry is needed right now in New Mexico to help create a healthy model for testing that works for all patients and producers, and ensures a bright future of our medical cannabis program.
Patients also wish that all the New Mexico producers would jump on board to get a workable testing program for New Mexico with the same eagerness patients had, in great numbers, when they rallied for the producers in petitioning the DOH to increase plant counts in order to address shortage issues and reduce the cost of medicine.
Once again, patients are rallying to get a workable medical cannabis program in New Mexico, and this survey was their first step. Many thanks again to the LNPPs who participated. While patients don’t always agree with producers, and producers don’t even agree with each other, this input was very much needed and appreciated. This a new frontier for everyone; the State of NM, the producers, and especially the patients for whom the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act was created. Unfortunately, the reefer madness legislation and new rules that have been added to the program in New Mexico are designed to hinder access to medicine, and less than compassionate producers don’t appear to put patients first either. Patients are at the bottom of the unworkable hierarchy of Medical Cannabis in New Mexico.