New Mexico OKs Fees for Medical Marijuana Program
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New Mexico OKs Fees for Medical Marijuana Program
Posted by CN Staff on December 17, 2010 at 17:45:22 PT
By Tim Korte
Source: Business Week
Albuquerque, N.M. -- The state Department of Health announced several changes to New Mexico's medical marijuana program Friday, including fees to finance the effort despite concerns that smaller producers could be forced out of business.The new annual fees will be based on how long a grower has operated, ranging from $5,000 for producers licensed for less than a year up to $30,000 for those licensed for more than three years. Until now, other agency programs had financed medical marijuana.
Meanwhile, in another change that was welcomed by advocacy groups, Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil agreed to license eight new growers, boosting the state total to 25 in a push to increase plant production and serve more patients.Since the program started in 2007, the state has faced problems ensuring a steady supply.Vigil also agreed to allow growers to produce 150 mature plants and seedlings. Under earlier regulations, the limit was 95 plants."What we heard from patients is that they are still having trouble getting the medicine," Vigil said.Attorney Paul Livingston of Placitas, who represents the three-month-old New Mexico Medical Cannabis Producers' Guild, said he was encouraged by the increases.However, he questioned whether state officials had adequately analyzed how the fees will affect smaller growers. Some producers have suggested a fixed dollar amount would allow larger, well-capitalized producers to continue but could harm small operations."There is a great deal of concern over whether this model will work, but we are hopeful the state will continue looking at these things," Livingston said.Sheila Lewis, acting director for the Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico, called the changes "a victory for the most seriously ill and vulnerable New Mexicans" because they address the marijuana shortages."The increased number of suppliers will help to solve that problem," she said. "The department needed to increase fees to pay for the costs of administering the program, but the higher fees are only economically feasible for the suppliers if they are allowed higher plant limits."State health officials are planning to visit prospective new growers. Agency spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer said selections will be identified by Dec. 31 and patients will receive contact information within the next two months.Gov.-elect Susana Martinez takes office Jan. 1 but Busemeyer said the change in administration won't affect implementation of program changes.There are more than 3,000 medical marijuana patients in New Mexico, including about 1,400 who are licensed to produce their own supply.To qualify for New Mexico's medical marijuana program, patients must have a physician certify they have one of 16 qualifying conditions. Vigil rejected a proposal to list depression as a condition, going against an advisory board's recommendation.Source: Business Week (US)Author: Tim KortePublished: December 17, 2010Copyright: 2010 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.URL: bwreader businessweek.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by charmed quark on December 18, 2010 at 17:51:45 PT
NJ fee
NJ is going to charge dispensaries $20,000 a year. I imagine this will be passed on to what I think will be a relatively small number of medical marijuana users, increasing the cost of medicine. And the patients and their caregiver, whose only purpose is to pick up medicine for the patient from the dispensary, both have to pay $200 every two years.
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Comment #4 posted by paulpeterson on December 18, 2010 at 10:01:53 PT:
The higher the fees, the more legitimacy this gets
PHARMACY COMPANIES HAVE TO SPEND UPWARDS OF $200 MILLION for new drug ROLLOUT, and it might be 10 times that by now.Looked at differently, the higher the fees, the more citizens start to appreciate that REGULATION AND TAXATION will bring cash into government coffers, and that keeps them coughing up approval ratings for us, and our cohorts, and that's that.And just remember, progress on ANY controversy, takes 3 steps:1) A "fiction" is invented, by a judge, by referendum, by "caveat", or "fiat", or "edict"2) The fiction is then used as a vehicle for regulations, or judges cite it as "precedent", things like that3) Then, legislative action "codifies" the change, or a second or third generation of "regulations" are crafted, or drafted, and once we get to the setting of "FEES" or "ZONING", the cat is in the bagAnd, as I told top cops out in Illinois, in 2001, when I started the cop-based ADMINISTRATIVE DECRIMINALIZATION programs, which have now rooted in about 100 Illinois cities and towns, from top to bottom there, WHATEVER YOU FOLKS DO THE FIRST TIME OUT, will need to be retooled right around the corner-IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THEY DO FIRST TIME OUT-nobody can even see around the corner until the round that first bend, get it?This one cop said after he got my initial letter under the letterhead "NORTH SHORE HARM REDUCTION", he COULDN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE-and then he said HE HAD ALREADY RECOMMENDED AN ORDINANCE TO THE CORPORATION COUNSEL. It was then, I realized, I had changed the world-because I took the usual negative, reactivity, of most cops, who would always say NO TO CHANGE, knee-jerk reaction style, and I had changed the direction of that cog and wheel system. BECAUSE WHEN THE TOP COP ASKS THE TOP LAWYER WHAT HE THINKS ABOUT CHANGE, NOBODY IS GOING TO SAY NO (if is seems safe because the cop is the one that made the call, get it?)This cop said I would be MAD AT HIM, for choosing a low limit, ie: 5 grams or something like that. I TOLD HIM, NO, I'M NOT MAD-AT LEAST HE THOUGHT ABOUT IT. And that was good. Then I said, "and you know what else is good about this?" "What?", said he. Says I, "WE are talking", and he said, "YES, that is good". And the rest is history.Bring on those fees, and let them know there are MILLIONS OF CITIZENS, AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, JUST ITCHING TO PAY TAXES, FOR A CHANGE, and a good change at that, right?Over and out.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on December 17, 2010 at 21:03:16 PT
This increase concerns me.
I've understood that the reason for that is that a hundred plants is usually where the DEA takes greater interest in the growers in medical states."Vigil also agreed to allow growers to produce 150 mature plants and seedlings. Under earlier regulations, the limit was 95 plants."
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on December 17, 2010 at 20:36:49 PT
I was wondering that, myself, GCW.
I imagine liquor license fees are pretty stiff and have to be renewed regularly. I don't know though.Pharmacies? There's educational and license requirements, I'm sure.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on December 17, 2010 at 18:28:53 PT
This doesn't seem right
"""The new annual fees will be based on how long a grower has operated, ranging from $5,000 for producers licensed for less than a year up to $30,000""" Those number seem large. And they're based on artificial black market cannabis prices.What do Pharm companies pay for annual fees for a licenses? What does a brewery like Miller / Busch pay? 
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