State says NM’s medical cannabis cards only for residents

The New Mexico Department of Public Health has made it clear—only New Mexico residents  can enroll in the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. “Persons who are not residents of New Mexico cannot be enrolled in the NM Medical Cannabis Program,” the department said in a statement to NM Political Report Friday. The statement came after the […]

State says NM’s medical cannabis cards only for residents

The New Mexico Department of Public Health has made it clear—only New Mexico residents  can enroll in the state’s Medical Cannabis Program.

“Persons who are not residents of New Mexico cannot be enrolled in the NM Medical Cannabis Program,” the department said in a statement to NM Political Report Friday.

The statement came after the CEO of a prominent medical cannabis producer said he believes a change in the law allows for out-of-state patients to enroll in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of Ultra Health, previously told NM Political Report he bought radio ads in the southeast part of New Mexico to inform those in west Texas they can now apply to become a medical cannabis patient. Cannabis is illegal in Texas for all uses, including medical.

Related: Does NM cannabis law extend to non-residents?

A major update to New Mexico’s medical cannabis law included the removal of the term “resident of New Mexico,” replaced with “person,” in the definition of “qualified patient.”

“The Department of Health does not interpret this edit to mean that the Legislature intended for persons out of state to be able to enroll in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program,” the statement from the department said.

The statement went on to say that the addition of “person” was because early drafts of the bill considered reciprocal patients, or patients who are part of another state’s medical cannabis program, to be in the “qualified patients” category. The final bill signed into law had a seperate reciprocation section to address already-qualified patients from other states.

The statement from the Department of Health also said adding non-residents to the list of New Mexico patients would encourage patients to break the law.

“To allow non-New Mexico residents to routinely access the New Mexico medical cannabis market would encourage the transport of cannabis across state lines, in violation of both federal law and the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, which emphasizes in multiple passages that the program must be operated within the boundaries of the state of New Mexico,” the statement said.

In response, Rodriguez said he’s confident his reading of the law is right and double-checked with his attorney, Brian Egolf, who also serves as New Mexico’s Speaker of the House. But Rodriguez stressed that Egolf’s advice came in his capacity as a private attorney, not one of the top elected officials in the state.

“[Eglof] said the matter is clear as day and I’m going to rely on my counsel’s advice and we’ll act accordingly,” Rodriguez said.

What’s still unclear is exactly what happens next after the dueling legal interpretations.

Rodriguez, who has taken the state to court a handful of times over medical cannabis, said Ultra Health is prepared to financially help in a lawsuit against the state.

“There is no question that Ultra Health will, if it has to, spend capital to make sure that patients are fully able to exercise their rights,” Rodriguez said.

He also accused the department of being disingenuous in their explanation for why the Legislature added “person” to the law.

“I think [the department is] simply trying to craft an answer that will help delay them meeting their legal obligation,” Rodriguez said.  

Ultra Health still has ribbon cutting ceremonies in Clayton, NM and Sunland Park, NM planned for Saturday and Rodriguez said he’s still telling potential patients that he thinks they can enroll.

But the Department of Health, its statement, reiterated that the Medical Cannabis Program will not accept non-residents.

“In accordance with this statutory interpretation, department rules continue to require that qualified patients be residents of New Mexico, and require that producers and couriers verify that patients have a valid New Mexico-issued photo identification card.”

We're ad free

That means that we rely on support from readers like you. Help us keep reporting on the most important New Mexico Stories by donating today.

Related

Politics Newsletter: LFC Budget report

Politics Newsletter: LFC Budget report

The Dec. 4 politics newsletter includes Legislative Finance Committe revenue tracking report, countdown to the legislative session and Meanwhile on the Hill.
Judge rules that congressional map is not an unlawful gerrymander

Judge rules that congressional map is not an unlawful gerrymander

A judge upheld the congressional maps that Republicans alleged included illegal gerrymandering, particularly in the case of the state’s 2nd Congressional District. Ninth Judicial…
Challenger announces she’ll run for Ivey-Soto Senate seat

Challenger announces she’ll run for Ivey-Soto Senate seat

Former New Mexico House Democratic Campaign Committee finance director Heather Berghmans announced her run for state senate District 15 on Thursday. She is running…
New Mexico’s environmental progress discussed at panel

New Mexico’s environmental progress discussed at panel

Panel topics discussed were legislative successes and failures, the Energy Transition Act, Gaming Commission reform, the state budget and its reliance on oil and…
Senators call removal of RECA from NDAA as ‘major betrayal’ and ‘injustice’

Senators call removal of RECA from NDAA as ‘major betrayal’ and ‘injustice’

The National Defense Authorization Act conference report leaves out a key provision that would have provided assistance to New Mexico “downwinders” who have become…
Efforts underway to bring a new national monument to Luna County

Efforts underway to bring a new national monument to Luna County

Luna County Commissioner Ray Trejo has witnessed first hand the economic challenges his community faces. Born and raised in Luna County, Trejo remembers when…
More learning time, free meals coming to students this school year

More learning time, free meals coming to students this school year

As children prepare to return to school for the new public school year, they will see some changes after legislation passed in the 2023…
Legislature hears about post-COVID impacts on education

Legislature hears about post-COVID impacts on education

Public education is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns. The state Legislative Finance Committee’s Public Education Subcommittee released a report Wednesday detailing…
ECECD hosts baby showers to let parents know about resources

ECECD hosts baby showers to let parents know about resources

Friday afternoon, a line of people formed outside a room in the Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum in Albuquerque.  The line was made…
Gov. Lujan Grisham tests positive for COVID

Gov. Lujan Grisham tests positive for COVID

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tested positive for COVID-19 for a third time. The governor’s office said that Lujan Grisham is experiencing mild symptoms and…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
Doctors encourage vaccinations for respiratory illnesses, including COVID

Doctors encourage vaccinations for respiratory illnesses, including COVID

Health officials from hospitals throughout the state encouraged New Mexicans to get vaccinated against three respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. After the U.S. Food and…
US Supreme Court expected to hear the abortion medication case this term

US Supreme Court expected to hear the abortion medication case this term

Two upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases  this term could impact abortion rights and victims of domestic violence. The high court has not set a…
Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Representatives from the abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising told members of the Interim Indian Affairs Committee on Monday that their monthly abortion fund…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
Senators introduce suicide prevention legislation

Senators introduce suicide prevention legislation

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary and Trends Report shows upward trends in the nation’s high schoolers expressing they felt hopeless, considered suicide…
Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Indigenous Women Rising: Abortion fund budget has doubled since Dobbs

Representatives from the abortion fund provider Indigenous Women Rising told members of the Interim Indian Affairs Committee on Monday that their monthly abortion fund…
Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Study: New Mexico had highest increase in abortion since 2020

Between January 2020 and June 2023, New Mexico saw a larger increase in abortion than any other state, according to a new report. The…
Local election results certified, with some recounts pending

Local election results certified, with some recounts pending

The New Mexico State Canvass Board met Tuesday in Santa Fe to certify the official 2023 local election results. The State Canvass Board is…
NM Supreme Court hears gerrymandering oral arguments, decision to come at later date

NM Supreme Court hears gerrymandering oral arguments, decision to come at later date

Attorneys for both the Republican Party of New Mexico and Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver delivered oral arguments on Monday in the case…
Voter education campaign begins as voting begins in local elections

Voter education campaign begins as voting begins in local elections

Tuesday marked the beginning of early voting for local elections throughout the state. It also marked the beginning of a voter education public service…
New Mexico’s environmental progress discussed at panel

New Mexico’s environmental progress discussed at panel

Panel topics discussed were legislative successes and failures, the Energy Transition Act, Gaming Commission reform, the state budget and its reliance on oil and…
Senators call removal of RECA from NDAA as ‘major betrayal’ and ‘injustice’

Senators call removal of RECA from NDAA as ‘major betrayal’ and ‘injustice’

The National Defense Authorization Act conference report leaves out a key provision that would have provided assistance to New Mexico “downwinders” who have become…
Efforts underway to bring a new national monument to Luna County

Efforts underway to bring a new national monument to Luna County

Luna County Commissioner Ray Trejo has witnessed first hand the economic challenges his community faces. Born and raised in Luna County, Trejo remembers when…

GET INVOLVED

© 2023 New Mexico Political Report