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.

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“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 email to Verdes re: batch differences

(As posted at nmcannabisreview.com.)

From: Painkills2
Sent: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 12:54 PM
To: Verdes Foundation
Subject: Questions

Hi Cindy,

If you don’t mind, I’d like to continue our conversation from this morning. We were talking about the differences in the recent batches of Blue Dream and OG Kush.

I mentioned the smell as being “stale,” and I really can’t come up a better description. You asked if the buds were fluffier, and I agreed that they were. Usually, fluffier buds don’t have a lot of resin, and that was the case with these new batches of Blue Dream and OG Kush.

But a batch doesn’t need to have resin to have strength, as evidenced by your Grandaddy Purple strain. So, it was not the smell or lack of resin that was the real problem, those were just symptoms of a loss of strength for both strains.

We both agree that every batch is different… and yet, I’ve purchased Blue Dream numerous times when that has not been the case. This strain has been fairly consistent, with the exception of the anomalies discussed here.

And you mentioned something about each “mother” being different — does that mean Verdes uses clones like R. Greenleaf?

As you know, I will depart this program on May 22nd — so, at this point, you have no reason to answer any of my questions. But this is not just about Verdes and your products — this is about my choice of treatment for pain, and my need as a patient to understand my medicine enough to make the best choices.

What was the difference in growing and curing the last batch of Blue Dream in March, and how it was produced in April? This was not quite like the difference I experienced in strengths between this strain when I first purchased it, and subsequent earlier purchases.

Back then, you concluded my experiencing a loss of strength was due to my using only one strain for too long. And your solution was for me to switch strains. While I agree that many patients prefer a variety of strains, that does not describe my needs as a patient. I would be more than happy to stick with the Blue Dream most of the time if it retained its level of medicinal strength.

The difference between the batches was a lot starker this time. In fact, these new batches of OG Kush and Blue Dream were very similar in strength and smell — so much so, that I almost got them mixed up.

Can you tell me when Verdes started using the gel packs for curing? Specifically, which batches of Blue Dream were cured with the gel packs?

While I will no longer be an MMJ patient in New Mexico after 5/22/14, I hope to eventually move to Colorado, and will need this kind of information moving forward.

Blue Dream was one of my favorite strains during the year I spent in the program, but the loss of its resin (on more than one occasion), is something I would really like to understand.

So, will you help me?

Only response from Verdes on: Wed, May 7, 2014 3:52 pm

I will look in to the questions you have asked and get back to you on this information.

__________

As of this date, no further communications to report (and none expected).