New Mexico House Passes Bill to Prohibit Non-Residents from Accessing Medical Cannabis Program
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New Mexico House Passes Bill to Prohibit Non-Residents from Accessing Medical Cannabis Program

The legislation gained Senate approval last week and now heads to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

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February 18, 2020

The New Mexico House has passed a bill that would prohibit non-residents from accessing the state’s medical cannabis program, sending the legislation to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

The House passed S.B. 139 in a 44-19 vote, according to an Albuquerque Journal report. The Senate approved the legislation last week.

Those backing the bill aim to reverse a change in a state law that was enacted last year and that allowed qualifying non-residents to enroll in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program.

During last year’s legislative session, lawmakers approved legislation that made substantial changes to the state’s medical cannabis law, including one that changed the definition of a qualified patient. This allowed any person with one of the state’s qualifying conditions who is certified by an in-state practitioner to enroll in the New Mexico’s medical cannabis program.

When the law took effect, however, the New Mexico Department of Health refused to issue medical cannabis ID cards to out-of-state patients, which caused petitioners who applied for medical cannabis cards and were denied to file a lawsuit against the state.

Last fall, a judge ruled that the Department of Health was required to allow non-residents into New Mexico’s medical cannabis program, but the sponsors of S.B. 139 believe this could cause unwanted consequences, such as the federal government shutting down the program if another state files a lawsuit, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

If the legislation is signed into law by Lujan Grisham, the more than 600 out-of-state residents who have enrolled in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program will be able to keep their ID cards until they expire, but then will not be able to renew them, the news outlet reported.