All 50 States Ranked By The Cost Of Weed (Hint: Oregon Wins)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/frankbi/2015/05/12/the-most-and-least-expensive-states-to-buy-marijuana/

The map says the cost for an ounce in New Mexico is $286, “according to PriceOfWeed.com, a site where users can anonymously submit the cost of weed in their area purchased either from the black market or legally through a dispensary.”

I’d say that was closer to the underground market price.  For instance, New MexiCann’s price is $320 an ounce, and at Medzen, it’s $364.

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Consolidating and cashing in on medical marijuana

http://nmpoliticalreport.com/3522/consolidating-and-cashing-in-on-medical-marijuana/

Marijuana legalization is likely far off in New Mexico, but you wouldn’t know it from the way some businesses are acting…

Colorado, here I come.

Consolidation isn’t limited to out-of-state companies looking for a stake in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. Reynold Greenleaf & Associates, an Albuquerque-based business formed last year, currently manages both Medzen Services and R. Greenleaf Organics…

When McCurdy became a patient, he had what he called a rough experience with marijuana from Compassionate Distributors in Ruidoso, the only medical marijuana producer in the area. He soon wrote a formal complaint about the quality of Compassionate Distributors’ marijuana.

“When it began to burn the cannabis started to pop, crackle and tasted harsh and like chemicals,” McCurdy wrote. “I knew then that the medicine was not flushed properly.”

Despite the fact that McCurdy’s letter wasn’t completely critical—he also wrote praises of one of the nonprofit’s clerks for being “always so friendly and just a pleasure to purchase from”—Compassionate Distributors stopped letting him buy marijuana.

“We will be removing you from our list of patients,” Mandy Denson, an attorney for Compassionate Distributors, wrote back to McCurdy. “While we appreciate the feedback, we run a very small operation. When it becomes clear that a patient relationship will only cause stress and negativity for those who work here, especially when unfounded, we exercise our right to refuse service policy.” …

Likewise, Shortes said that the deal will allow Sacred Garden to lower prices for patients…

And we’ll be watching to see if that happens.

As a part of the deal, Nutritional High will create a company called Zephyr to take over management of Sacred Garden. Shortes, according to an official announcement released last month, will be employed by Zephyr and make $180,000 a year…

Under comments:

Christopher Hsu · University of New Mexico
Just an FYI Tim Scott is pretty much in Willie Fords back pocket.

My review on Sacred Garden:  http://forum.nmcannabisreview.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=8

My post on Mandy Denson:

http://forum.nmcannabisreview.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=181&p=1702&hilit=mandy+denson#p1702

“How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?”

This song (Dear Mr. President by Pink) is dedicated to the members of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis program — patients, patient associations, producers and dispensaries, doctors, and the Department of Health.  And to the New Mexico State Medical Board and every politician in this state.

While all of you enjoy your holiday weekend, take a moment to think about those who can’t afford this program and have to suffer, and suffer, and suffer, without any pain relief.

“How do you walk with your head held high?  Can you even look me in the eye?”

https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/how-do-you-sleep-while-the-rest-of-us-cry/

Do NM Cannabis Producers Support Mandatory Testing for Medical Cannabis?

Wow, to get actual responses from producers… that’s amazing.  I wonder who I have to sleep with to deserve the same kind of treatment?

http://cannagramma.com/2015/03/10/do-nm-cannabis-producers-support-mandatory-testing-for-medical-cannabis/

Under comments:

March 18, 2015
WILLIAM FORD said:

I think it is wrong to assume that because we did not respond to your generic solicitation that we are against testing. Many producers understand the importance of testing and look to our state regulators to create an environment where testing will be available, affordable and mandatory. That environment does not exist now and we have been advised by the DOH and MCP not to test our products with unapproved laboratories. Perhaps a better use of your time may be to put political pressure on the DOH and MCP to test through the state labs. We, as producers, could subsidize the cost and patients would reap the benefits. I founded your organization – the NM Medical Cannabis Patients Alliance and funded it’s inception in order to create a political arm for the patients to express their wants and needs to the government – not so that you could waste your time polling the producers as to how we feel – how we feel is unimportant – how we are regulated is what matters.

William Ford, Executive Director
R. Greenleaf Organics, Inc
Medzen Services, Inc.
Healthy Education Society

Since SWOP mentioned in their response that they use the state lab at NMSU, I don’t understand why the Department of Health has to mandate this option for R. Greenleaf to take advantage of it.  Mr. Ford, are you trying to distract us from the issue at hand?

On the other hand, there’s the NMMCPA — a so-called patient’s alliance — that is pushing for testing, which will undoubtedly raise the price of the medicine, especially with the smaller producers.  You see, the members of SWOP, a small producer, are part of the NMMCPA…

And SWOP believes in 100% testing — whatever that means — and their prices reflect that extra expense.  SWOP has some of the highest prices in the state, if not the highest.  And if you’re a patient who can afford to pay those prices, I guess that’s great.

As for the tone of Mr. Ford’s response, well, perhaps he’s having a bad day.  Any producer who believes that exercises like this are a waste of time must have something to hide.  (Hence, the distraction.)  Aren’t the concerns and questions of patients important, Mr. Ford?  (Don’t worry, I don’t expect a response.)

I guess transparency isn’t important to the big players in this state’s medical cannabis industry — that’s why there’s no push to publish producer’s accounting records.  I mean, wouldn’t you like to know why your medicine costs so much?

The little information provided by the DOH every quarter doesn’t tell patients much, so perhaps it’s time for the NMMCPA to push for publicizing the accounting records from dispensaries.  Let patients really see what’s going on.  Maybe secrecy was important when this program started, but really, what’s the point of it now?

And for a patient’s organization, the NMMCPA certainly has made a mess of things.  Their members are in the middle of this new lawsuit against the DOH, by 19 of the 23 producers.  It will be interesting to see which producers didn’t join in the lawsuit and their reasons for not doing so. Unfortunately, the media coverage for this state’s program is almost nonexistent.  Which is why patients have to do so much research and make extreme efforts to navigate this expensive, exclusive, and secretive program.

It’s been almost a year since I was unable to renew because of the expense (and stress), and it’s taken all that time for the DOH to finalize the new regulations.  Now comes this lawsuit… just one of many that have been filed against the DOH regarding the Medical Cannabis Program.

I’m not sure how a lawsuit will change the fact that Retta Ward from the DOH gets the final say on everything to do with this program. The work that the Medical Board performs for the program doesn’t appear to affect the decisions Ms. Ward has made, and neither does all the negative responses from patients to the rule changes.

The whole business, the public hearings and comments, the set-up and procedures, the secrecy and lack of transparency, the cost — it all adds up to a program that doesn’t work for a lot of really sick people.  How many patients have died waiting for the ability to join the Medical Cannabis Program?  Do you know how expensive it is to obtain the records needed to qualify under “severe chronic pain”?  Do you know how many patients don’t qualify because they suffer from a mental disability?

The answer is to stop fighting over this program — the answer is to legalize.  Or alternatively, keep calm and move to Colorado.

New Medical Marijuana Rules Adopted

http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-9982-new-medical-marijuana-rules-adopted.html?utm_content=buffer78f8c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

The average price for a gram of pot is $10…

Liar, liar, pants on fire…  That’s not the average price here in New Mexico — but sure, if you wanna dream, I can’t stop you.

Optimistic about his [David Romero White’s] chances to be licensed this time, he says, “This is definitely a huge step in the right direction. We all can now breathe a collective sigh of relief and move forward,” he says…

You breathe a sigh of relief Mr. White, while I sit here IN PAIN, unable to afford the renewal costs.

And if you rent your living space, you’ll need to get your landlord’s approval…

In most cases, that’s just not going to happen.  And I think the Department of Health knows that. This agency is working very hard to get smoking restricted in more places than it already is, including apartments.  And since most medical cannabis patients smoke their bud, the DOH is actually working against this program.

In conclusion, the new rules benefit producers, not patients.  But then, I’m not surprised.

Well, Mr. White (and his cohorts in the NMMCPA) must be pretty happy about this news.  Good for them.

My review of Medzen (2/2/2014)

(As posted on nmcannabisreview.com.)

Medzen is located in Rio Rancho and was the first dispensary I registered with after obtaining my card. They also have a website that is mostly kept updated now. Some months after I began frequenting Medzen, they moved their office to a bigger space. Good thing, because the waiting room was usually pretty crowded, sometimes with standing room only.

Medzen’s new office space is professional and comfortable, ironically next to a Walgreens (and the inevitable CVS). Compared to the bright lights and negative energy at my local Walgreens pharmacy, Medzen’s waiting room was like a breath of fresh air. The other patients were friendly and there was usually an interesting conversation going on in the waiting room. Patients were assisted with their orders one-on-one, behind a closed door, always with a nice young man. Once in a while I would see the manager, who was always friendly and nice. After they moved into the new space, they hired a few more people.

Although everyone at Medzen is very nice, the employees were not very good at answering questions, especially for a patient new to the program. A couple of times, I was given a possible THC percentage on a strain, but Medzen doesn’t test it’s products. Asking the employees questions would usually result in a non-answer or none at all, including questions about harvest dates for different strain batches. When I was unable to get answers from the employees, I tried to meet with the manager, but was unable to do so.

Over the course of the six-month period that I was a customer at Medzen, the dispensary always seemed to have medicine available. I tried 22 different strains (listed below), a few waxes, one alcohol tincture, and some edibles. One of the great things about Medzen was its willingness to sell me small amounts of new strains, and these usually came in a small plastic container, but any amount over 2 grams came in a child-proof prescription container.

Here is a list of all the strains I tried:

AK47
Big Bang
Bubba Kush
Blue Dream
Blue Moon
Critical-1
Da Purps
E.S.D.
Green Crackle
Hash Skunk
Hindu Kush 2
Kush White Russian
Lemon Kush
Mazar
OG Kush
Panama Red
Purple Kush
Shishka Berry
Super Lemon Haze
Trainwreck
White Russian
Willy Frost

Looking back over my receipts, I see that I paid from $13 to $15 per gram for these strains. After six months, I had spent over $6,000 — say it with me, holy cow! I haven’t returned to Medzen since the end of November, but I am just now analyzing all the information I have. During this time, I did not keep the kind of detailed notes I keep now, so my analysis for this dispensary is not as complete as my other reviews.

I can recall three different purchases from Medzen that were above average, specific batches of the OG Kush, Shishka Berry, and Green Crackle strains. Unfortunately, there was no consistency within the strains, so I could not predict from purchase to purchase what strength I was going to get. Most of my purchases ended up being the OG Kush strain, while trying out different strains as they came into the rotation.

I tried a variety of edibles from Medzen, but I didn’t obtain any noticeable effects. However, I have read some internet reviews that indicate there are patients who are having luck with the edibles and waxes at Medzen. As for the wax, it was pretty messy to deal with and I didn’t notice any benefit from these purchases.

Since I was a new member of the program during my experience with Medzen, I didn’t feel comfortable asking that many questions. They keep print-outs of articles from The Weed Blog website in the waiting room, so I obtained a lot of my education through this resource.

It wasn’t until close to the end of my Medzen experience that I was told I could return medicine for an even exchange if I wasn’t happy with it. Before then, I had been afraid to ask. I made one return after that — and did not feel comfortable doing it. Just like on previous occasions when I made mention of my dislike of one strain or another, when I made this one return, their attitude was surprise. It was like, “You mean you don’t like it? Really? How is that possible?” I never figured out how to respond to that attitude.

Most of Medzen’s customers appear happy with this dispensary, but it is my opinion that a lot of their customers don’t have an adequate comparison to Medzen. I mean, I read one review that said: “They have a reputation of having some of the best medicine in New Mexico.” Another one raves, “I have found the best thing going in New Mexico. The medication is always of top quality and Medzen is consistant. You get top grade everytime you go in.” Okay, I don’t know who these reviewers are talking about, but it appears that they have no frame of reference for comparison.

My general sense is that most people try out 2 or 3 different dispensaries, and are either happy with this kind of selection or don’t think that any other products in the market would be an improvement. Of course, I’m sure many patients have just given up trying to find the right medicine and just settle for what’s available, if that.

I also have to wonder about conflicts of interest when it comes to Medzen, as I understand that they are involved with a business for licensed growers.

Since I heard that the Department of Health was going to require testing soon, I emailed Medzen recently to see if and when this dispensary was going to start testing. I received a one-sentence, unsigned reply indicating that they would begin testing when required to do so.

When I can see actual test results prior to purchase, I will consider returning to Medzen.