Thursday, September 17, 2009

Medical marijuana program may need revision if shortage goes on

ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico medical marijuana program, whose sole provider recently sold out of the drug, may need to be revised if patients can’t be guaranteed access to their medicine, critics say.

The state allows patients to grow their own supply of medical marijuana, but it prohibits caregivers from doing it for patients who may be too sick to do so. And that’s a flaw in New Mexico’s law, said Tamar Todd, staff attorney with the Washington D.C.-based Drug Policy Alliance.

Of the 504 approved medical marijuana patients in New Mexico, 109 have a license to produce their own plants, but the other 395 patients are reliant on one state-licensed nonprofit to provide their medicine, and that nonprofit—the Santa Fe Institute for Natural Medicine–is limited to growing 95 plants.

Moreover, as NMI reported last week, the nonprofit ran out of its product within weeks after finally announcing it had some ready for sale in August.

“It seems as of right now, there are a significant number of patients who aren’t growing their own and can’t obtain it from any legal source. The intent of the law isn’t for them to have to rely on the black market,” Todd said.

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