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THE GOOD HERB

Confusion surrounds medical cannabis reciprocity rule

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The following information may be a bit confusing, but I will do my best in presenting what I know.

In my previous column, I wrote about the reciprocity rule for medical cannabis patients coming to New Mexico from other states. The New Mexico Department of Health’s (NMDOH) medical cannabis program had stated that medical cards bought online were not legitimate and dispensaries statewide were not to accept them. The dilemma is that recreational users could use online cards as a loophole, and right now, during COVID, this has become more of a concern. An October 2020 judge’s ruling prompted NMDOH to allow patients with cards acquired online to purchase cannabis in New Mexico dispensaries

To qualify, an out-of-state visitor must present a government-issued ID and proof of a medical cannabis program card from another state with a medical cannabis program. state including California medical cannabis cards acquired online. California has a reputation for selling cards to anyone who can pay for one.

There is a great deal of concern as to the legitimacy of online cards issued with no established relationship between a medical practitioner and the patient, with no follow up care. This reciprocity issue is important in that medical patients are the ones being left in limbo. Apparently, there are recreational users capitalizing on this confusion and acquiring online cards.

The DMDOH limits medical conditions that the patient must meet to qualify. There are now more than 100,000 certified medical patients in New Mexico, but there are resident patients living with legitimate medical conditions who do not qualify under the existing state limitations conditions. Some patients look for a medical card from another state, and the reciprocity mandate gives them an in to New Mexico dispensaries.

Many mental health practitioners remain concerned about PTSD patients acquiring a medical cannabis card and not having an established relationship with a mental health practitioner for follow-up care.

PTSD is a serious mental health condition and often requires counseling and follow-up care. Based on my experience with PTSD patients, not all PTSD patients experience the same symptoms. Some PTSD patients have other conditions such as bipolarism, depression, psychosis, etc. There is not enough research on the long-term effects of cannabis use with severe cases of PTSD with other conditions. Cannabis can be one tool in the overall treatment and care of PTSD patients, with follow-up care being critical, especially with COVID.

Litigation continues as NMDOH looks at the situation. In the meantime, effective Dec. 10, out-of-state medical cards are being accepted in New Mexico cannabis dispensaries. All this litigation is happening as New Mexico considers legalizing cannabis. Thoughtful feedback from the community is vital. I encourage my readers to consider writing to the governor.

Mental health practitioners in New Mexico can email the NMDOH MCP program to share their views on this topic while the reciprocity rule is being litigated.

Visit https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2020/08/30/some-raise-concerns-about-out-of-state-reciprocal-patients-in-the-time-of-covid-19/ or https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/10/13/2107880/0/en/New-Mexico-Judge-Orders-State-Agency-to-Enroll-Reciprocity-Patients.html.

Hilda Luz Chavez is a traditional naturopath, healer and medical cannabis expert, with more than 40 years’ experience. Reach her at (915)-204-5440 or chavezhl@aol.com or www.nmmcpconsulting.com.