New Mexico Governor Signs Medical Cannabis Enhancements Into Law

Updated Act adds access for school children, 3-year cards, employee protections, reciprocity

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., April 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 406 into law on Thursday, April 4, effectively overhauling the state’s medical cannabis law for the first time since the inception of the program 12 years ago.

The sweeping enhancements to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act support the New Mexico Legislature’s public policy effort to define the use of medical cannabis as the equivalent of any other medical treatment.

“For the purpose of medical care, including an organ transplant, a qualified patient’s use of cannabis pursuant to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act shall be considered the equivalent of the use of any other medication under the direction of a physician and shall not be considered to constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualified patient from medical care,” the statute reads under Section 14, Item D.

The updated law allows school children to be administered medical cannabis while on school-grounds, adds workplace protections for patients, lays the framework for out-of-state medical patients to access the program, and extends the lifetime of patient registry cards to three years with no program fee.

Other new additions to the law include guidance for medical cannabis consumption areas, removal of potency caps, continued enrollment via telemedicine, patient eligibility for anatomical gifting, and access to medical cannabis for those who are under supervision or in custody of a state or local government.

The Senate passed the bill by 33 to 2, while the House passed it by 55 to 15.

“The historic passage and signing of an expanded medical cannabis law is truly something to celebrate,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “While the expansion of the program will provide access to even more potential patients, we recognize producers will be expected to cultivate and manufacture a broader range of cannabis and cannabis products. Guaranteeing an uninterrupted supply of quality cannabis statewide to current and future patients at prices they can afford remains the top priority.”

As of February 28, 2019 there were 70,109 qualified patients in the program. With the addition of these statutory improvements, total active participants in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program are projected to swell to nearly 150,000 by June 30, 2020. 

This number is in line with survey results from May 2018, which found 16 percent of adults in New Mexico said they would likely apply for a cannabis card in the next two years. Given New Mexico’s adult population of roughly 1.6 million adults, this translates to an excess of 200,000 enrollees.

Contact: Marissa Novel 480-404-6699