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Medical Pot Program Rule Changes Softened

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The state Department of Health will not be moving forward with two proposed rule changes to New Mexico’s medical marijuana program.  The program’s advocates say it looks like the Governor Susana Martinez's administration is finally starting to see things from the patient’s point of view.  

At an interim legislative committee hearing on Thursday a spokesman from the Department of Health surprised virtually everyone in the room when he announced they had decided to back off some proposed changes, including reducing the number of plants a patient could grow for themselves.  

Emily Kaltenbach, of the Drug Policy Alliance, said it's good news for patients who hold a personal production license.

"That’s very encouraging," Kaltenbach said, "especially for our patients who live in a rural area without access to medical cannabis producers.  Also, for folks who live on a fixed income, where growing their medicine is a lot cheaper then it would be if they purchased it from producers."

A rule that would have required anyone wishing to grow their own medical marijuana to go through a criminal background check is also off the table.

The Department of Health proposed the rule changes after a survey found that there was a shortage of medical cannabis in New Mexico.

There will most likely be one more hearing to gather public comment before the new medical marijuana rules are finalized this fall.


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