The Success Of New Mexico’s Medical Marijuana Program
Joe | Dec 09, 2011 | Comments 0
It seems that the medical marijuana program introduced 4 years ago in New Mexico is working so well, the Governor who was against the program now wants to expand it.
(AP) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — More than 1,000 New Mexicans have applied for medical marijuana licenses since Republican Gov. Susana Martinez took office in January, prompting the administration that had advocated repeal of the law to instead propose taking the program outside of the public health department.
Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres said in a telephone interview this week that she will ask lawmakers for authorization to create a new, self-supporting unit with seven full-time employees to administer the program.
Asked whether that meant Martinez had changed her stance against the legalization in 2007 of medical marijuana, Torres said only that “the governor and I are following the statutes.”
With the constant drumbeat of federal raids and legal confusion that accompanies most stories about medical cannabis nowadays, it’s refreshing to see a good program still unmarred by federal destruction or state lawmaker “tinkering.”
New Mexico in 2007 became the 12th state in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. Its program differs from most in that the state oversees the production and distribution of marijuana. A medical advisory board determines what medical conditions qualify a patient for the program. Doctor’s do not prescribe medical marijuana. They certify that patients have one of the approved conditions and that standard treatment doesn’t work for them. Patients then apply to the state, and, if approved, receive a registry card with information on how to contact nonprofit growers licensed to supply marijuana.
Since post-traumatic stress disorder and several other conditions were added to the list of qualifying illnesses, applications have soared
“When I started in January in 2011 there were 3,613 apps. And now there’s over’s 5,000,” Torres said, noting that most are cancer patients or people suffering from PTSD.
Sick people using medical cannabis to find relief. That is the purpose of medical marijuana. With the stigma surrounding medical marijuana and all the demonization it is subject to, sometimes it’s easy to forget that.
And be sure to check out our Open Letter on Behalf of 30 Million Cannabis Users and join us in our fight!