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Judge Affirms NM Medical Cannabis Program Can Allow Out-of-Staters

Recreational Marijuana State

The New Mexico Department of Health requested a review of a new law allowing out-of-state patients to access the state’s medical marijuana program. A state judge has specified to the department to issue cards for those that qualify. The Health Department still hints that it will “hold off” on enrolling non-residents in large numbers.

The Court of Appeals is being asked to review the case again, according to the Albuquerque Journal. In August, Judge Bryan Biedscheid ruled that the state must allow non-residents access following a change in the definition of qualifying patients under a new bill signed into law by Governor Grisham. So far, only 3 nonresidents have been issued medical marijuana cards. Others have been denied and have been told that no more nonresident cards would be issued for now.

Spokeswoman for the New Mexico Department of Health Mari Anixter said, “The New Mexico Department of Health stands by its original position that the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program is an intrastate program that was never designed for nonresidents. DOH maintains that it is not required by law to enroll non-New Mexico residents as qualified patients in the program.”

The judge reiterated that the ruling should be followed and that those that do qualify under the standards for the New Mexico medical marijuana program should be issued cards.

Requests have been denied to review the ruling as well as pausing on enforcing the ruling.

Judge Biedsheid said, “I think the law is clear. I look to the language of that statute first and foremost to determine legislative intent.”

It’s unknown whether the legal battle will continue or if the New Mexico Department of Health will decide to abide by the affirmed ruling.