New Mexico: Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill
By Derrick Stanley
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed her third marijuana-related bill this session, stopping a bill that would have expanded the state’s medical cannabis program. Last month she vetoed two pieces of legislation that would have allowed for industrial hemp production in compliance with the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.
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. The measure would also allow medical marijuana patients to be eligible for organ transplants, an issue that has created controversy after a recent Maine medical marijuana patient was denied a kidney transplant because of his use of cannabis.
Martinez included a statement with the rejection of the medical marijuana reforms. In that message, she 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.”
She said 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.”
“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.”