New Mexico lawmakers have approved a bill to end the issuance of state medical cannabis cards for out-of-state patients, the Associated Press reports. Officials had reportedly already been withholding the cards since last year, despite a court order telling the Department of Health to issue the cards following previously-approved medical cannabis reforms.
After the new law took effect, state attorneys argued that the change allowing out-of-state residents to access New Mexico’s program was a drafting error and not designed to allow non-residents to obtain medical cannabis cards in the state. Officials argued that, if allowed, the changes would encourage cannabis transport across state lines, which is illegal under state and federal law.
Following the court’s ruling, the Health Department did issue ID cards to three individuals who were included in the lawsuit against the state.
The law will not change the state’s reciprocity policies that allow patients with out-of-state medical cannabis cards to access New Mexico’s program. All of New Mexico’s border states have medical cannabis programs but in Texas, only low-THC products are allowed.
The 2019 reforms also led to some confusion for individuals in the custody of the Corrections Department, namely inmates and those awaiting trial. The law includes language stating that persons “serving a period of probation or parole or who is in the custody or under the supervision of the state or a local government pending trial as part of a community supervision program shall not be penalized for conduct” allowed under the state’s medical cannabis law. The new law does not clarify these policies.
The measure still requires the signature of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) before they become law but she has expressed support for closing the loophole and is expected to sign the legislation.
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