KUNM

Bill Would Expand Medical Cannabis Access

Jan 12, 2017

The state Department of Health has struggled to quickly process applications for the medical cannabis program, and supplies sometimes run short. Lawmakers have proposed a bill that could address those issues and improve access for patients.

Senator Cisco McSorley says the state’s medical cannabis law hasn’t been changed much since it was passed a decade ago, and his legislation would tackle some of the program’s problems. It would more than double the amount of plants licensed producers can grow, and increase the amount of cannabis a patient or caregiver can have at one time.

"It helps cancer patients, it helps PTSD patients," said McSorley. "This is as good as addressing some of the symptoms of these conditions as anything else."

As things stand, patients in the program have to renew their ID cards with the Department of Health every year. McSorley’s bill would also extend that to every three years. He says processing applications and renewals less often will end up saving the state money. DOH does not receive revenue for renewals.

The session starts on Tuesday.

The People, Power and Democracy project examines ethics, transparency and accountability in state government. It's a collaborative, multi-media partnership between KUNM-FM, New Mexico PBS, New Mexico In Depth and the New Mexico News Port. The project is funded by the Thornburg Foundation and by contributions from KUNM listeners.