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New Mexico Considering Expanding Medical Cannabis Program



Medical marijuana patients in New Mexico may soon be able to purchase a larger amount of cannabis. 

That was the recommendation offered up on Monday by a panel that included doctors and other health care professionals in the state. According to the Associated Press, the advisory board voted “in favor of nearly doubling the limit to 15 ounces over 90 days,” a move that supporters say would bring New Mexico in line with neighboring states Arizona and Colorado. In addition, the AP reported that the panel “recommended expanding the list of qualifying conditions to include anxiety, attention deficit disorders, Tourette’s, and some substance abuse disorders.”

As it currently stands, New Mexico’s medical marijuana law includes nearly 30 qualifying conditions, and eligible patients are able to purchase eight ounces of cannabis over the course of a 90-day period. Qualifying conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe chronic pain.

Unlike those aforementioned neighboring states, however, New Mexico has not yet joined the ranks to legalize recreational pot use. Colorado, along with the state of Washington, voted to end pot prohibition back in 2012, while voters in Arizona did the same in this month’s election. That isn’t to say there is a lack of political and public support in New Mexico, however.

Changes in Marijuana in New Mexico

Last year, the state’s Democratic governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill decriminalizing up to a half an ounce of marijuana, a move that changed the penalties to a mere $50 fine as opposed to actual jail time. In January, Grisham signaled that she was ready to go even further, unveiling a proposal to legalize recreational pot use. The reform, she said, would be an economic boon for the state.

“The Legislature has the opportunity to pass the largest job-creation program in New Mexico in a decade,” Grisham said in a statement. “Skeptics have been right to preach study and patience. I agree with their caution — and that’s why we haven’t rushed into this issue. But if we are clear-eyed about the risks, we have to be clear-eyed about the opportunity.”

In the statement detailing the proposal, Grisham highlighted public polling showing large majorities of New Mexico voters support legalization. But the legalization bill taken up in the state legislature was tabled in February, and advocates have shifted their focus to getting it done next year instead.

After the legislative effort failed, Grisham said she was “disappointed but not deterred,” and that “[l]egalized recreational cannabis in New Mexico is inevitable.”

“The people of New Mexico have said they want it. A diversified state economy demands it,” Grisham said. “Poll after poll has demonstrated that New Mexicans want a 21st century economy and want cannabis to be part of it: New Mexicans want more chances to stay here and build a career here; we want justice for those convicted of low-level, harmless cannabis-related offenses; we want an industry with firm and clear regulations that will keep our roads and places of business and children safe.”


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