From Drug Policy Alliance
Last November, we delivered a petition of more than 1000 signers, like you, asking Health Secretary Gallagher to approve the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board’s recommendation to add opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis. The Senate (SM55 sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn) and the House (HM67 sponsored by Reps. Joanne Ferrary and Deborah Armstrong) have now followed by passing formal requests to the Dept. of Health to approve it. There was a tremendous amount of media around this issue, which is just the kind of attention we need to keep the pressure on! Secretary Gallagher could issue a decision any day now and we’re hopeful she will do the right thing so that people suffering from opioid dependence and addiction can access medical cannabis.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Memorial 107, sponsored by Sen. Benny Shendo, seeking support from New Mexico’s Congressional delegation to ensure that medical cannabis patients who are tribal citizens and others living on reservation land have equal protection under the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment which prevents federal interference in activities allowed under state medical marijuana laws. We’ll be working with our colleagues in Washington, D.C. to move this forward.
The Senate also passed Senate Memorial 105, sponsored by Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, asking the Drug Policy Alliance to convene a group of stakeholders to make recommendations about accessibility, cost burden, collective cultivation, and intergovernmental agreements between the state and NM Indian nations, tribes and pueblos related to medical cannabis.
Criminal Justice Reform
In 2014, Santa Fe was one of the first places in the country to adopt a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, which diverts people who otherwise would have been arrested for problematic opioid use away from jail to social services and support. The results have been positive and Las Cruces and Albuquerque are already working toward replicating the model. Senator Nancy Rodriguez introduced a bill which resulted in $400,000 being added in the final legislative budget (HB2) to support LEAD efforts in Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Albuquerque and we’ll be working diligently to make sure Governor Martinez does not line-item veto this appropriation.
New Mexico is now positioned to be one of the first states to open an injectable opioid treatment program. The House passed House Memorial 56, sponsored by Rep. Deborah Armstrong, that charges the NM Legislative Health and Human Services Committee to take testimony on injectable opioid treatment as a feasible, effective strategy for reducing drug use and drug-related harm among long-term heroin users who have not been responsive to other types of treatment. Injectable opioid treatment is the administering or dispensing of pharmaceutical-grade heroin, diacetylmorphine, or another injectable opioid, such as hydromorphone, by medical practitioners under strict controls in a clinical setting to select heroin-dependent persons. The medication is required to be consumed on-site, under the watchful eye of trained professionals. This enables providers to ensure that the drug is not diverted, and allows staff to intervene in the event of overdose or other adverse reaction.
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