Susana Martinez, the Governor of New Mexico, speaking at a Bureau of Reclamation event.

Bureau of Reclamation

New Mexico Governor Vetoes MMJ Expansion Bill

New Mexico Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has vetoed her third cannabis-related bill this session, striking down a bill that would have expanded the state’s medical cannabis program. Last month Martinez vetoed two pieces of legislation that would have allowed for industrial hemp production in compliance with the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.

The measure would have allowed registered medical cannabis patients in New Mexico to receive organ transplants – an issue that has recently sparked controversy after reports emerged about a 32-year-old in Maine who was denied a kidney transplant due to his cannabis use. Additionally, the legislation would have added 14 qualifying conditions to the medical cannabis program, including post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder, and chronic pain. The law would have also permitted reciprocity in the program for non-residents.

Although Martinez offered no explanation when she vetoed the hemp bills, she did include a statement with the rejection of the medical cannabis reforms. In that executive message, Martinez said it is the responsibility of the Department of Health and the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to add conditions to the qualifying conditions list and that adding conditions via legislative action “would eliminate an important responsibility of the Board.”

The governor opined that adding opioid use disorder was redundant because people who have chronic pain conditions are already allowed access to medical cannabis, adding that adding the addiction disorder would “likely cause a rapid increase in program enrollment which the program is currently unable to sustain.”

Martinez said that allowing reciprocity “may erode program integrity” because states have different rules and not all states require identification cards.

“Maintaining the integrity of our medical marijuana program is vital,” Martinez wrote in the message to lawmakers. “While House Bill 527 contains many positive changes to the program, it also contains several aspects that may dilute the program and erode its intent.”

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