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New Mexico Legislation Would Add All Veterans to the State’s Medical Marijuana Program

Vets would be able to sign up for the medical cannabis program without a medical diagnosis.

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Since New Mexico passed their medical marijuana law 10 years ago there hasn’t been much change to them. That is, until now.  A bill just passed the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee that would not only increase the legal limit for marijuana possession and grow operations, but also make it easier for military veterans to access medicinal cannabis.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Senate Bill 8 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 7-3, falling right across party lines. But even some democrats who helped the bill reach the full senate still aren’t convinced of all the provisions.

Sen. Jacob Candelaria, D-Albuquerque, questioned the veterans’ portion of the bill, asking, “Aren’t we essentially legalizing recreational marijuana for all veterans?”

But for McSorley, who pioneered the state’s original MMJ bill a decade ago, the stipulation for veterans is necessary to help wash away stigmas about post-traumatic stress disorder. McSorley has suggested that veterans are often feel self conscious about asking for a PTSD diagnosis, and that allowing military vets to access the state’s cannabis program without that step could help prevent suicides.

In addition to the veteran stipulations, Senate Bill 8 includes language that would add “substance abuse disorder” to the list of approved conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. That would allow physicians and addiction professionals treat opioid addiction with the help of cannabis.

While states across the country have loosened their marijuana laws or adopted adult recreational use, New Mexico is taking some unique approaches towards medical marijuana in ways that allow more open access. If Senate Bill 8 passes we wouldn’t be surprised if New Mexico is able to pass an adult recreational use law in 2018.