New Mexico Officials Mulling ‘Consumption Areas’ for Cannabis Patients

New Mexico may approve social-use locations for licensed medical cannabis patients in the state. The changes also address out-of-state reciprocity.

Full story after the jump.

The New Mexico Department of Health has proposed changes for the state’s medical cannabis program including reciprocity for patients from other states and guidelines for social-use “consumption areas,” according to NM Political Report. Under the rules, only current operators would be allowed to have consumption areas.

Under changes to the program approved during the 2019 session, consumption areas are “licensed premises approved by the department where cannabis may be consumed that complies with rules as established by the department.”

The health department rules would require those areas to be “located on the premises of licensed non-profit producers” and patients who used the areas would need to have a designated driver or “other lawful means of transportation” when leaving the site.

If approved by DOH Secretary Kathyleen Kunkel, it would mark the first time a state has approved social consumption for medical cannabis patients.

The reciprocity rule is not the same as recent changes to allow non-residents to obtain a New Mexico medical cannabis ID card but would allow out-of-state cardholders to purchase cannabis at New Mexico dispensaries. The non-resident patient plan has not come into fruition in the state as health officials have mostly refused to issue cards to non-residents since the law was signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham earlier this year. According to Department of Health figures, as of September, 12 out-of-state patients had been granted New Mexico patient ID cards.

Under the plan, an out-of-state patient would only need to provide identification and a medical cannabis card from their home state and could purchase up to about 8 ounces of dried cannabis flower or extracts in a rolling three-month period – consistent with what New Mexico patients can buy. Dispensaries would be required to enter the patient information in a DOH-run patient tracking system.

As of September, there were 77,168 medical cannabis patients in New Mexico.

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