|Marijuana in the Land of Enchantment: N.M. struggles with medical marijuana|
Earlier this year, New Mexico became the 12th state to legalize medical marijuana. On April 2, Gov. Bill Richardson signed into law the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, which allowed people with certain chronic medical conditions to receive medical marijuana to relieve their suffering.
“This law will provide much-needed relief for New Mexicans suffering from debilitating
diseases,” Richardson proclaimed at the signing. “It is the right thing to do.”
However, the federal government has not viewed New Mexico’s medical marijuana policy in the same light. Unlike other states, New Mexico planned to create a state-licensed marijuana growth and distribution system. In addition, many have criticized the Act as being too flimsy to withstand legal challenge.
Earlier this summer, the Office of National Drug Control Policy went on the offensive and threatened to prosecute state workers for providing and patients for receiving medical marijuana. Consequently, the N.M.
Health Department ceased operation of the medical marijuana program until Richardson ordered the department to resume on Aug. 17. In addition, the governor penned a letter to President Bush asking him to back down.
“At a time when the scourge of meth is coming across the border, and cocaine and heroin use continues to ravage our communities, the federal government should be cracking down on real criminals – not people who are trying to help those in pain,” he wrote.
– Will Sands