The 17th article in a series examining the nation’s medical marijuana programs, New Mexico is the next to be considered. These articles will be forwarded to each Utah lawmaker when they reconvene in January, 2014 when members of UtahCARE - Cannabis Awareness, Respect and Education - continue their campaign to educate Utah representatives about the many benefits of cannabis and why they need to support the efforts to legalize it throughout the state.
The new campaign, “Educate in order to Medicate” will include frequent e-mail blasts as well as phone calls to Utah politicians, as is the fifth year of such campaigns by local cannabis advocates.
Legalized medical cannabis came to New Mexico via Senate Bill 523, "The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act", which was approved March 13, 2007 by the House, 36-31 and then by the Senate, 32-3, therefore becoming effective July 1, 2007.
The law serves to remove state-level criminal penalties on the use and possession of marijuana by patients,
"in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments."
The New Mexico Department of Health designated to administer the program and register patients, caregivers, and providers.
Conditions approved for treatment with medicinal cannabis in New Mexico include: severe chronic pain, painful peripheral neuropathy, intractable nausea/vomiting, severe anorexia/cachexia, hepatitis C infection, Crohn's disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, and hospice patients.
Patients have the right to possess up to six ounces of usable cannabis, four mature plants and 12 seedlings. Usable cannabis is defined as dried leaves and flowers; it does not include seeds, stalks or roots. A primary caregiver may provide services to a maximum of four qualified patients under the Medical Cannabis Program.
The purpose of the The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.
The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) administers the MCP in accordance with the Act while at the same time ensuring proper enforcement of any criminal laws for behavior that has been deemed illicit by the state.
A Primary Caregiver (PC) may be designated by the Qualified Patient (QP) to take responsibility for managing the well-being of the Qualified Patient in the use of medical cannabis.
The production and distribution of medical cannabis is provided by Licensed Non-Profit Producers (LNPP) throughout the state.
A Qualified Patient may also obtain a Personal Production License (PPL) to grow medical cannabis for personal use.
The Medical Cannabis Fund was created to allow the Department to utilize fees to fund program expenses. This allowed the DOH to hire staff and finance the operation of the MCP as a self-supported program.
By sharing this type of article with Utah lawmakers, grassroots organizations such as UtahCARE will continue to provide momentum for the movement to legalize cannabis throughout the state.
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