If you shop at dispensaries, you’re being ripped off

In my search for bud, I recently met another chronic pain patient who is a current member of the Medical Cannabis Program. For the sake of this story, let’s call this patient Mary.

Mary hasn’t been in the program very long, but she’s tried a handful of different dispensaries and was mostly disappointed in what she found. Mary likes purple strains to treat her chronic pain, which she has trouble finding. She says she likes the Purple Kush at R. Greenleaf and she brought some to my place for me to try.

The label says the Purple Kush is an indica and has 20% THC and 0.27% CBDs. It had a strong smell, but was so dried out, it crumbled between my fingers. That condition is nothing new, as I found the same problem with all of Greenleaf’s bud when I was in the program years ago. Mary wondered if they microwave it, which is one way some growers use to dry the bud as quickly as possible and to kill germs. But no grower worth his or her salt would even think of curing bud with a microwave. I told her the smell was almost artificial, as if they added it in at some point during the process.

When Mary told me she paid $20 a gram for this bud, I was shocked. Shocked, I say! Not only is this bud not worth that much, it’s not even worth half that much. I told her truthfully that Greenleaf was ripping her off. Poor Mary, she didn’t know there was better bud out there, and at a better price. But not at the dispensaries, which is not only sad, but rather tragic.

Mary says she tried The Verdes Foundation, but they have a problem with running out of bud. And she said they close down a lot, too. (That was also a problem with High Desert when I was in the program.) You can only buy in certain quantities at New Mexican dispensaries, like at Greenleaf, just 1.5 to 3 grams at a time. Then you have to keep going back to buy more, almost every other day for Mary. Because there’s not enough supply for the demand, so the bud has to be rationed. And this, even when more dispensaries have been added since I was in the program.

I told Mary that the Purple Kush from Greenleaf was proof that I made the right decision to stay in the underground. Crappy bud for $20 a gram? Shameful. Just shameful that the dispensaries are ripping off patients like that.

From Greenleaf’s website: “The quality of our medical cannabis rivals that of any you will find in the United States or across the world.”

Bullshit. Total bullshit. Don’t be fooled.

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/

Voices of MMJ patients in NM

https://www.facebook.com/nmmcpa

Kevin Nelson
March 25 at 4:05pm
I am Very upset with the way I was treated at R. Greenleaf in Albuquerque! I was sold a domeless ceramic nail that I was assured would work with my setup. When I got home I was to small so I returned to the dispensary & you can imagine my disappointment when I was told by the staff & R. Greenleaf when I was told they wouldn’t exchange it for something that would work for me & that sense it has not been used I should try to sell it on the street to someone! Now I’m out the money & cannot use my medicine. I am completely baffled by the way this was handled by them & the ridiculous solution they had for me. Never again will I return to R. Greenleaf.

Shawn Gentry
March 25 at 5:11pm
::ALERT:: So I go to assist a patient in possible conflict resolution with R. Greenleaf and I find another HUGE issue over the already stupidity they found themselves in…. Not only did they flat refuse to refund a patient for an unused product that was “guaranteed to work.” It didn’t and the patient made another huge trek to get something to work and was refused return or exchange (according to the patient). 100% satisfaction guarantee huh? Anyway on to the more insane issue that effects everyone that uses their website…. So they are selling ads on their website now. A website for patients ONLY. So to make money from those ads, you have to usually submit to an “inventory” of IP addresses and “soft data” to verify that a person visited so they can get paid for the traffic. This is a very good case for a HIPAA Violations… Someone with some more tech savvy sense in this matter should look in to this matter with a quickness. If they are disclosing our IP or any data is “unauthorized disclosure of personal identifiable information.

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 MexiCann’s Newsletter (3/15/2015)

As you may have heard R.Greenleaf has suspended their delivery system. It was a quality service and it is unfortunate that it has stopped running. New MexiCann is going to do it’s best to continue delivering to our rural patients. New MexiCann is hiring a driver to deliver to the Southeast part of the state the first weekend of every month. This is the same service that has always been there, but now the driver is a New MexiCann driver and not an R.Greenleaf driver. We may be able to implement other routes over time, but for now all other parts of the state will need to be accessible for Hot Shots Service deliveries…

We now have two Nurse Practitioners scheduled to see Patients at the Taos Store.  Naomi has been seeing Patients 1 day a month at our Santa Fe store for the past several years and has agreed to come to Taos and do the same. She will be in Taos on April 16 and again on May 21. She can re-certify for all conditions and offer new certifications for most.

Lori is new to New MexiCann. She is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner so she can not only re-certify, but she can recommend initially for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She will be at the store on April 3 & 4 but those days are already completely booked. She will be back again on April 17 & 18. She works with Psychiatrist Dr. Florian Birkmayer who many saw on the three days he was at the store seeing Patients.

Call the Taos store to schedule and get info on what you may need to bring with you for your recommending doctor’s visit.  Just to be clear, these practitioners do not work for New MexiCann and we receive nothing from them…

Two more counties without legal Cannabis distribution are about to have their own New MexiCann stores. Our Española store will be right on the main drag, N. Riverside Drive and our Las Vegas store will be on 7th and Mills…

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.