Don’t expect DEA raids on N.M. medical marijuana dispensaries

Don’t expect DEA raids on N.M. medical marijuana dispensaries


ALBUQUERQUE — The nation’s top cop said Friday that marijuana dispensaries participating in New Mexico’s fledgling medical marijuana program shouldn’t fear Drug Enforcement Agency raids, a staple of the Bush administration.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking in Albuquerque during a meeting focused on border issues, including drug trafficking, said his department is focused “on large traffickers,” not on growers who have a state’s imprimatur to dispense marijuana for medical reasons.

“For those organizations that are doing so sanctioned by state law, and doing it in a way that is consistent with state law, and given the limited resources that we have, that will not be an emphasis for this administration,” Holder said.

Friday was not the first time that Holder has said state-sanctioned marijuana dispensaries shouldn’t worry about DEA raids that occurred under the Bush administration, especially as several states passed laws that legalizing medical marijuana.

But Holder’s statement comes at a time when New Mexico’s nascent medical marijuana program nears operation and at least one producer has indicated a concern about federal raids.

The Santa Fe Reporter ran a story this week in which it quoted a representative of the only nonprofit the state has approved to dispense marijuana — Santa Fe Institute of Natural Medicine Inc. — as saying it would likely “pull up stakes” if the Reporter published its name in this story. Margaret Schulze argued that naming the non-profit would attract the attention of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as well as criminal elements.

Schulze could not be reached for comment by the Independent despite two phone messages and an e-mail.

Deborah Busemeyer, a state Department of Health spokesperson, would not name the Santa Fe Institute as a producer in an interview this week. But she acknowledged there was only one producer and that more than 10 other applicants were awaiting approval.

“I know we are working on scheduling site visits for them,” Busemeyer said. “That’s one of the final steps.”

Busemeyer said it was hard to say how long before another dispensary is approved for the state’s medical marijuana program. Some applicants are farther along than others.

The Department of Health began development of New Mexico’s Medical Marijuana Program in 2007 and, so far, 372 patients are authorized by the state to participate.

“We have approved 61 patients to grow their own marijuana,” Busemeyer added.

But questions remain as to when the program will produce enough cannabis to meet demand.

Busemeyer said the state approved the application of the lone producer in March. “They are estimating they could have a supply by the end of summer,” she said.

Despite the worry, there are many investors still looking to invest in Marijuana stocks.

Marijuana could be an exit drug, Will this help Marijuana stocks?

Marijuana could be an exit drug, Will this help marijuana stocks?

An often heard assertion about marijuana is that it’s a “gateway drug,” one that leads young people into using more dangerous drugs over time. But new research and programs are now examining its potential as an exit drug.

A recent study of a medical marijuana patients group found that a significant number of them were using the drug as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs

Forty percent have used cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, 26% as a substitute for illicit drugs and 66% as a substitute for prescription drugs. The most common reasons given for substituting were: less adverse side effects (65%), better symptom management (57%), and less withdrawal potential (34%) with cannabis.

The study reported in the Harm Reduction Journal focused more specifically on the use of marijuana as a treatment for alcoholism. A study of 92 medical marijuana patients using the drug as a substitute for alcohol found that marijuana was an effective treatment in 100 percent of the cases:

When addressing the efficacy of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, all participants reported cannabis substitution as very effective (50%) or effective (50%). Ten percent of the patients reported being abstinent from alcohol for more than a year and attributed their success to cannabis. Twenty one percent of patients had a return of alcoholic symptoms when they stopped using cannabis. Reasons for stopping the cannabis use ranged from entering the armed forces to being arrested for using cannabis.

The use of marijuana as a “harm reduction” strategy in addiction and mental health services is being tested at the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, CA., in a program funded by the area’s largest medical marijuana dispensary. Harm Reduction Clinical Consultant Jennifer Janichek explained to the East Bay Express that harm reduction philosophy is that people will engage in risky behavior, so a focus should be on reducing the harm associated with those risks. Examples are needle exchanges, condom disbursements, and seat belt laws. And now, maybe “a little pot over a lot of OxyContin.”

This is yet another reason that there will be a push to legalize Marijuana. Most people believe it is just a matter of time. This may be why so many people are looking into investing in Marijuana stocks in hope to cash in big once it is legalized.

There are plenty of reason why people love pot stocks and love marijuana stocks. Don’t be surprised if Marijuana Stocks are next years bitcoin!