Dramatic Changes to New Mexico’s MMJ Program Need One Signature

Passed by the New Mexico legislature last Friday, a new bill could make dramatic changes to the state’s medical marijuana law. Allowing for the inclusion of opioid addiction as a qualifying condition for NM’s MMJ program, Gov. Susan Martinez might soon make history with one simple signature.

In addition to adding reciprocity and opioid addiction to the list of qualifying conditions, HB 527 would protect New Mexico’s lawful MMJ participants from interference by Child Protective Services. Also high on the list of positive changes, the bill would mandate “employer or insurer payment for the reasonable use of medical marijuana pursuant to the Worker’s Compensation Act.”

If signed into law by Gov. Martinez, HB 527 would position New Mexico on the frontline of America’s ongoing struggle with opioid addiction. Becoming the first state in the country to allow qualifying individuals to legally treat their opioid dependency with medical marijuana, the bill would also add a number of other qualifying conditions and safeguards.

Authored by Rep. Nate Gentry (R) and passed by the House and Senate, HB 527 would include Huntington’s disease, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy and Crohn’s disease to New Mexico’s growing list of qualifying conditions.

Administered by New Mexico’s Department of Health, the new legislation also would mandate regulators establish reciprocity guidelines for patients from other medical marijuana states.

Historically, an outspoken opponent of legalization and the marijuana reform movement, Gov. Martinez recently vetoed a pair of measures that sought to establish a hemp research program through New Mexico’s Department of Agriculture.

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