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Natural Medicine Advisory Bulletin #3: August 2023

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The meeting of the full Natural Medicine Advisory Board began administratively. DORA program director Sam Bahrami gave a brief update on the department’s hiring of additional staff to support the natural medicine program. Following the resignation of Katina Banks from the board, Lundy was appointed acting chair of the board to complete the current term. A new chair will be elected by the board in October. Stacie Loucks, not in attendance, was added to the board to fill Katina Banks’ seat.

The Department of Revenue gave an update on the department’s upcoming listening sessions. These initial sessions will be focused on gathering information from stakeholders to inform DOR’s work. The one-hour sessions will be recorded and open to the public. The first session, an introduction to the natural medicine program, is scheduled for September 5th. Individuals interested in presenting or sharing information at a listening session are asked to reach out to Allison Robinette at allison.robinette@state.co.us. At this time the department has scheduled the following five listening sessions:

Tuesday, September 5th, 11:00 – 12:00 MST: SB 23-290 Overview and Introduction to Natural Medicine DivisionTuesday, September 12th, 2:00 – 3:00 MST: First & Multi-Responder Training Meeting #1Friday, September 22nd, 2:00 – 3:00 MST: Public Education Campaign Meeting #1Wednesday, September 27th, 10:00 – 11:00 MST: Testing Program Meeting #1Tuesday, October 3rd, 10:00 – 11:00 MST: Cultivation & Manufacturing Practices Meeting #1

Several NMAB members were eager to attend the listening sessions. While board members are allowed to listen in to the meetings as members of the public, participation in the sessions by board members must comply with Colorado Sunshine Laws requiring notice of any meetings where board members discuss board-related business. Towards the end of the meeting the board moved to a private executive session to discuss board members participating in the listening sessions. Upon returning, the board voted to delegate one member, plus a backup, to officially participate in each listening session.

Next, each subcommittee chair updated the board on their progress. The Emergency Response, Safety, and Ethics subcommittee has a working draft of healing center regulations based on modified OHA regulations. DORA program director Sam Bahrami indicated there is still work to be done to account for facilitation taking place outside of healing centers. The board briefly discussed camera and security requirements related to healing centers. Points raised included cultural sensitivity to recordings, difficulty anonymizing videos to comply with participant data requirements, and cost inflation. DOR intends to solicit feedback from the public on camera requirements in their listening sessions. Regulations adopted by the department are designed to be operable such that licensees are able to comply with them reasonably.

The board then engaged with Lundy’s updated equity initiative list with members supporting the idea of Indigenous reciprocity. A need for subcommittees to work more collaboratively was identified, such as integrating Dr. Tina Gonzales’ work from the Public Health and Health Equity subcommittee into Lundy’s work.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés from the Indigenous and Religious Use and Outreach subcommittee reiterated the subcommittee’s desire to have long-term practitioners integrated into the licensing model without requiring them to go back to school. She also shared the subcommittee’s desire for additional perspectives and the possibility of sending a delegation to meet with tribes in-person.

Dr. Bradley Connor gave a brief update that the Products, Research, and Data subcommittee is still working through additional priority questions. The subjects of grow kits and value of including an Indigenous perspective in cultivation regulations were raised but not discussed at length.

Qualifications, Licensing, and Training chair Dr. Alissa Hannum shared that the subcommittee is working on defining the facilitator license scope of practice and training requirements, using OHA regulations as a starting point. She also requested an executive session to discuss the subcommittee’s legal questions around medical and mental health professionals treating conditions with natural medicine.

William Dunn reported that Harm Reduction and Public Safety did not have any major updates. This led the board to their final administrative task of amending the NMAB bylaws to dissolve the Harm Reduction and Public Safety Subcommittee and moving its members to Emergency Response, Safety, and Ethics. Adding the newest NMAB member brings the ERSE subcommittee to nine members. The board then moved to change the date of the next full NMAB meeting to Monday, September 25th at 1pm.

Before adjourning the board entered a private executive session to receive legal advice on the following subjects:

Questions raised by Dr. Alissa Hannum regarding licensed medical and mental health professionals treating mental health conditions with natural medicine.Questions regarding NMAB delegates to DOR listening sessions.

The executive session lasted 86 minutes. Information shared in the executive session was not disclosed publicly and the NMAB promptly adjourned after the session.

Next meeting: September 25th, 1pm MST

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