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 ALBUQUERQUE – The state Department of Health is accepting applications from
 nonprofit businesses that want to produce and distribute medical marijuana to
 certified patients in New Mexico.  Qualified patients also can apply to produce 
 medical marijuana for themselves.


   New Mexico ARTICLE 2A [26-2A-1 to 26-2A-7 NMSA 1978] Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act (CURRENT)

                Return To OnlinePot’s Legal Section Main Page       



                                      Pubdate: Fri, 09 Jan 2009
                                    Source: Denver Post (CO)

The department announced Friday it has finalized regulations for identification cards and a production and distribution system under the state medical marijuana program that went into effect in 2007.

"Now patients now can get medical cannabis for their chronic health conditions in a way that is safe and legal under state law," Health Secretary Dr.  Alfredo Vigil said.

The law allows people to be certified to use marijuana for pain or other symptoms of debilitating illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV-AIDS and certain spinal cord injuries.  The agency has approved 207 applications from chronically ill patients to receive medical marijuana.

A spokeswoman for the department, Deborah Busemeyer, said it has had inquiries-but no applications-about the distribution and production process.  The health secretary will determine the number and location of licenses.

"There’s a lot of hoops a nonprofit would have to jump through.  …  That’s because we want a quantity of medical cannabis that is sufficient and a quality product," Busemeyer said.

The regulations also have a section to protect a patient in the program from arrest or prosecution by the state of New Mexico.

In August 2007, agents with a regional drug task force raided the home of a southeastern New Mexico man certified to use medical marijuana, and seized several marijuana plants from him.

The regulations let the Health Department verify for state law enforcement officers that someone is eligible to have marijuana under the program.  "We have done that, and then there has not been an issue," Busemeyer said.

The rules also allow the state to monitor to make sure people are following the law-for example, that a patient licensed to grow marijuana for personal use has only the amount allowed.

Public comments prompted some changes before the regulations became final.

The department revised rules on verifying applicants’ information and changed application fees for patients who apply to produce marijuana, allowing the state to waive the fee depending on a person’s income.  The final rules also allow patients to possess more than 6 ounces of medical marijuana if a medical practitioner explains why a larger dose is needed.

The law that established the program lets people petition to add other medical conditions.  The Health Department’s Medical Advisory Board plans a a public hearing in Albuquerque on Jan.  15 to review petitions for additional conditions.

The department also will put together an annual report to the health secretary about whether patients’ needs are being met and whether a state-run production and distribution facility might be needed.

"We wanted to put something in our regulations that provided for an assessment of how the program is working," Busemeyer said.  Officials want to make sure it not only meets patient needs, but also protects public safety, she said.