Protecting Traditional Medical Systems & Practices In New Mexico.
In the late fall of 2005, I was asked to help develop language for a bill to be introduced to the New Mexico Legislature in its early session for 2006. In the spirit of "two heads is better than one", I located Charlie Jordan from Dragon River Herbals, who also participated, and discovered key language which helped with specific terms applied to various traditional practitoners from the Southwestern United States region.
The head of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, Boards and Commissions Division, Kathleen O'dea, then revised the language and drafted a document in legal language, found a willing New Mexican Senator to carry the proposal to the New Mexican Legislative session, in January, 2006. Though the bill arrived just after the opening of the Legislative session, we were able to place it on the agenda. The bill was heard late in the session, and easily passed, since it merely called for a study to discover if these traditional practices were jeopardized (along with other alternative healing modalities), and then formulate a way to protect them from unnecessary interference.
In the following year,(2005) various meetings were supposed to have been taking place within the state, involving several state agencies, and groups of interested citizens around the state. These meetings, to my knowledge would have been aimed at discovering whether present laws provide enough protection for alternative practitioners and their methods of practice, and what if any further protections are needed to protect and preserve these traditional practices.... but I am unaware of ANY of these types of meetings having been conducted.
We missed a huge opportunity to pass in the January 2007 session of the New Mexico Legislature, but subsequently, in the 2009 session, we were successful in passing the "New Mexico Unlicensed Health Care Practice Act" after Dr. Wynn Werner, of the New Mexico Ayurvedic school Institute, and I continued to talk to potential sponsors, and other stakeholders, (such as any licensed, alternative practitioners), to agree on subtle points regarding language, ( Dr. Werner did most of this work ). Ever since then, all the different traditional healing practices,
New Mexico Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Project (http://www.nmcaamp.org)
Providing these practitioners protection under the law, will help preserve the old healing traditions which serve their communities, and are so much a part of the historical landscape, and which contribute to the atmosphere of diversity, here in our great state. I encourage you to become involved in this process by using the services and products of local herbalists.
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