New Mexico's New Pot Law Becomes Effective

  New Mexico's New Pot Law Becomes Effective

Posted by CN Staff on June 28, 2007 at 07:34:53 PT
By Phil Parker 
Source: Albuquerque Tribune  

New Mexico -- Marijuana becomes legal for a handful of New Mexicans next week - provided the proper paperwork has been filed.Starting July 1, the New Mexico Health Department will accept applications from patients who want to use marijuana to ease the pain from debilitating diseases. Those approved will receive a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card.
"We receive the application, along with certification from doctors," said department spokeswoman Debra Busmeyer, "then we verify the information in up to 30 days. If the application is approved, then the patient gets an ID card that will make him immune from prosecution of state law for possessing marijuana."Processing of applications will begin July 2.Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico Director Reena Szczepanski worked for three years on the bill, which passed the Legislature earlier this year. She said she has seen patients die in that time who could have been helped by the drug."It's really an incredible feeling to see the bill become a law," she said.The law is very specific about who can be approved for the card. Patients with the following conditions are eligible: cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, HIV or AIDS, and "damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with tractable spasticity.""We don't want people applying because they have backaches," Busmeyer said.Additional ailments can be submitted for approval. Other states allow marijuana to be prescribed for symptoms like chronic pain or nausea."The conditions we included have all been demonstrated by research to be benefited by marijuana," Szczepanski said.Based on how many patients received legalized marijuana when Colorado began a similar program in November 2000, Szczepanski said between 50 and 250 people will be affected."That's really a small number," she said.The card will also make it legal for a patient to grow the drug (up to four mature plants and three immature seedlings) and possess, at most, a three-month supply.Applicants won't have to wait longer than a month to know whether they can toke legally, but then the question might become: Where do we get it?"They'll still have to get it on their own," Busmeyer said. "We're not distributing, just certifying that people are eligible to receive it."For now. The law established an Oct. 1 deadline for New Mexico to form a plan for distributing to patients."I think some patients will attempt to grow their own plants," said Szczepanski. "Some will find a dealer or a friend. It's difficult. I had a conversation with a patient wondering, `Where am I supposed to go?' "New Mexico is the 12th state to legalize marijuana, but it will be the first to establish a means of producing and distributing the drug, Busmeyer said."There's no other department of health that has allowed distribution," Busmeyer said.What that means isn't clear yet. Shops? Pharmacies?The Health Department is consulting with the attorney general, Busmeyer said, asking for an opinion on how to proceed.Szczepanski said she hopes the state will opt for a phase-in approach."We have to be cautious," she said.The ideal might be if licensed growers sell out of their homes come Oct. 1, rather than shops.Putting marijuana in stores, Szczepanski said, "confuses the issue because this is supposed to be just about helping patients."Resources:Applications for permission to use medicinal marijuana will be available starting July 1 at the New Mexico Department of Health.Anyone with questions about the state's medicinal marijuana program can call 827-2321, also starting July 1.Source: Albuquerque Tribune (NM)Author: Phil Parker Published: Thursday, June 28, 2007 Copyright: 2007 The Albuquerque TribuneContact: letters abqtrib.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance Signs Medical Marijuana Bill Lawmakers for Medical Pot Bill 

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Comment #9 posted by RevRayGreen on June 28, 2007 at 14:40:28 PT
Regarding Govt IND
They receive a 300 joint supply, roughly 2.5 ounces per month, I can e-mail George and find out exactly how much weight it is..........
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 28, 2007 at 09:22:02 PT
A Question
How much by weight do the people that get cannabis from the government's Mississippi farm get per month?
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 28, 2007 at 09:20:17 PT
Three-Month Supply
How much cannabis can a person have in their possession?Excerpt: The card will also make it legal for a patient to grow the drug (up to four mature plants and three immature seedlings) and possess, at most, a three-month supply.
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Comment #6 posted by Storm Crow on June 28, 2007 at 09:03:00 PT
Where will the patients get their cannabis?
On the streets,or grow it themselves....just like they are doing right now! No big change there! Now I want to see how well it goes when NM sets up their dispensaries run by the Health Department! Will the Feds bust (state) government-run dispensaries? Will Richardson be arrested for facilitating drug trafficking? It ought to be quite a show!
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Comment #5 posted by Christen-Mitchell on June 28, 2007 at 08:39:45 PT:
Land of Entrapment - The State to Watch
Here is the most fascinating story yet. New Messico is a very up-tight drug state. It is the only state I've seen DEA agents and dogs inspect Greyhound buses. And here we have the state MMJ laws making the biggest confrontation possible with the Feddies. They are going to grow and distribute to patients. Who will they bust? State employees? Contractors. This is the show to watch.
Hemptopia - Our Greener Future
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 28, 2007 at 08:33:45 PT
Just Obama's Marijuana Comment
I read this and it made sense to me. This is one of the reasons that I believe it can help with PTSD. Excerpt: In his first book, “Dreams from My Father,” Barack Obama described the marijuana that he smoked as a young man as “something that could flatten out the landscape of my heart, blur the edges of my memory.”
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on June 28, 2007 at 08:14:45 PT

Wow,..... Of, By and For the Poeple
What a courageous and compassionate step on the part of New Mexico's government!Imagine, politicians willing to risk their political careers to do what they know to be right for the people!
That, my friends, is the spirit we need in public service!Sincere kudos to Gov. Richardson, DPA's Ms. Szczepanski, and all of the legislators who stepped up with courage and conviction to make this happen.It's enough to give one hope that someday, perhaps, the federal and state governments of the U.S. could attain the spirit and intent that was the charter of our founding.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 28, 2007 at 07:53:56 PT

Governor Richardson
I just want to say thank you one more time!
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