April 18, 2016

NM health provider at center of push to change federal pot policy


A New Mexico health provider and cannabis advocate is at the forefront of the possible massive change to how marijuana is treated in the United States.

MarijuanaBryan Krumm, a nurse practitioner and director of Harmony Psychiatric, filed a petition in 2009 to have cannabis taken off Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Substances in Schedule I are considered to be the most dangerous, have no medical use and have a high potential for abuse.

Krumm’s is one of three pending petitions.

Earlier this month, the Drug Enforcement Administration sent a letter to the U.S. Senate indicating a decision on marijuana will be made sometime this summer.

“DEA understands the widespread interest in the prompt resolution of these petitions and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016,” the agency wrote.

Krumm said he thinks there is a good chance the federal government will reschedule cannabis extracts, but not cannabis plants themselves.

Still, Krumm is glad to see that the DEA is making moves to release their recommendation.

“I’m positive in terms of they’re saying they’re going to release something,” Krum said.

Krumm is also “feeling good” that the DEA is not dragging its feet or holding onto a recommendation as they have in the past.

Krumm advocated for the full legalization of marijuana for more than two decades, but said he “refocused” his efforts to medical cannabis in 1997.

Krumm said he took active roles in drafting cannabis legislation for Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, on the state level and filing rescheduling petitions on the federal level.

In 2002 a group of advocates filed a rescheduling petition. Krumm said the DEA “sat on” the recommendation and did not announce cannabis would not be rescheduled until 2010.The legal battles to force the federal government to release the medication motivated Krumm to file his own petition in 2009.

He’s still not sure what the final outcome will be but he’s already looking at the possibility of appealing the DEA’s decision.

“Once they’ve denied it, I can finally go back to the Court of Appeals and counter this,” Krumm said.

He said he thinks he will fair better in front of the court than lawyers have in the past.

“It might be time for someone who’s not an attorney to step into that realm,” Krumm said.