Today Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino (D-Bernalillo) introduced SB406 to expand access to medical cannabis in New Mexico. The bill includes the recommendations from the 2018 Senate Memorial 105 Medical Cannabis Affordability and Accessibility Task Force, which was convened by the Drug Policy Alliance and included more than two dozen members from around the state.
Statement from Jessica Gelay, New Mexico Policy Manager of the Drug Policy Alliance:
“This bill will help protect against the stigma that medical cannabis patients face, and it will expand access to safe and affordable medical cannabis for all New Mexicans,” said Jessica Gelay, New Mexico Policy Manager of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Even though medical cannabis is well established and supported by a large majority of New Mexicans, there are still barriers. Patients have problems doing everyday things like getting a job, going to school, and affording their medicine.”
SB406 makes changes to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (LECUA) and related statutes that include:
· Adding Civil protections and protection from discrimination from employment, housing, schooling, and medical care – including receiving an organ transplant;
· Expanding list of medical qualifying conditions to include autism, substance use disorder and neurodegenerative dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease;
· Streamlining the patient registry process and allowing multi-year registration;
· Creating reciprocity for patients from other jurisdictions;
· Establishing a formal patient and caregiver advisory board that will work with state and the patient and caregiver community to develop rules for collective cultivation for 2020.
There are more than 67,500 patients in the New Mexico medical cannabis program whose quality of life is improved with access to medical cannabis, often when nothing else works.
The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (LECUA) has not been updated since it was passed in 2007. A similar bill was vetoed by Susana Martinez in 2017.