SUMMARY: Governor Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 523, “Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act,” into law on April 2, 2007. The new law took effect on July 1, 2007. The law mandates the state Department of Health by October 1, 2007, to promulgate rules governing the use and distribution of medical cannabis to state-authorized patients. These rules shall address the creation of state-licensed “cannabis production facilities,” the development of a confidential patient registry and a state-authorized marijuana distribution system, and “define the amount of cannabis that is necessary to constitute an adequate supply” for qualified patients.
The medical use provisions in New Mexico do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.
AMENDMENTS: Yes. In January 2009, the New Mexico Department of Health finalized rules governing the production, distribution, and use of medicinal cannabis under state law. Patients registered with the state Department of Health and who are diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under these rules:
- Severe chronic pain
- Painful peripheral neuropathy
- Intractable nausea/vomiting
- Severe anorexia/cachexia
- Hepatitis C infection currently receiving antiviral treatment
- Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Multiple sclerosis
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity
- Hospice patients
Other conditions are subject to approval by the Department of Health. Patients may legally possess six ounces of medical cannabis (or more if authorized by their physician) and/or 16 plants (four mature, 12 immature) under this act.
State regulations also authorize non-profit facilities to apply with the state to produce and dispense medical cannabis. State licensed producers may grow up to 95 mature plants at one time. (UPDATE! The New Mexico Department of Health finalized revised regulations in December 2010 increasing the number of plants that may be produced at one time from 95 to 150. The updated regulations also allow licensed producers to obtain plants, seeds, and/or usable cannabis from other non-profit producers. The licensing fee for producers is: $5,000 for producers licensed less than one year, $10,000 for more than one year, $20,000 for more than two years and $30,000 for more than three years. For further information, please see: http://nmhealth.org/idb/medical_cannabis.shtml)
MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-31C-1 (2007).
CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary caregiver is designated by patient’s practitioner as necessary to take responsibility for managing the well-being of a qualified patient with respect to the medical use of cannabis. Primary caregiver must be a resident of New Mexico. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. N.M. Stat. Ann. §26-2B-3(F) (2007).