Reciprocity has long been an issue in the state of New Mexico, and one that has been up for debate for some time. Now, a district court judge wants to make a change to current law, ruling that reciprocal medical cannabis patients should be able to access cannabis even if they have a recommendation to use medical cannabis from another state.
If this ruling passes, those with New Mexico medical cannabis cards will be able to get cannabis in other states that allow reciprocity, and those with cards from other states will be able to get cards in New Mexico. This will expand the industry and the patients flooding in to use medical cannabis in New Mexico.
“The court held that a reciprocal patient can have a proof of authorization and an ID from different jurisdictions, because the department was trying to say that, that you could only become a reciprocal patient if you had your proof of authorization, and your ID from the same jurisdiction,” said Jacob Candelaria, attorney for Ultra Health, a New Mexico-based medical cannabis producer who wants to see this change happen and filer to have this new order passed.
“It’s unclear to me why the department takes this view that’s so fearful of New Mexicans getting access to medical cannabis, while the administration, on the other hand, is saying they are fully behind recreational legalization,” Candelaria added regarding his decision to pursue this change. “The two positions don’t seem to make much sense.”
The Move Is To Benefit The State
The order was passed by First Judicial District Court Judge Matthew Wilson, earlier this week. In his ruling, Wilson made sure to clarify in his wording that the state Department of Health has been honoring identification cards from other jurisdictions for the most part, but last month, they instructed all dispensaries to only accept those from New Mexico. They did this through an emergency rule change, which this judicial ruling now overrides.
He also pointed out that this move will do the industry good, as it will keep business from patients in the state instead of turning to neighboring states that accept out-of-state identification and will hopefully increase the amount of revenue that the state is bringing in.
“In essence, a New Mexico resident could bypass or circumvent the more stringent requirements for becoming a ‘qualified patient’ and elect to participate in the program as a ‘reciprocal patient,’” Wilson wrote.
“The Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program has complied with the order,” David Morgan, spokesperson for the Department of Health, said. “All 323 people affected by today’s decision have been re-authorized to be served by the program.” He neglected to say whether or not the DOH will appeal the decision.
While it’s not clear whether this decision will be challenged, either by the DOH, the governor, or some other group concerned with cannabis restrictions becoming too lax, it is clear that this is a major step for medical cannabis in New Mexico, as the industry will now be able to retain more patients and bring in more revenue.