NM judge calls for increased purchase limit for medical cannabis patients

CANNANNEW REPORT

NM Political Report writes… As New Mexico’s Regulation and Licensing Department works toward finalizing rules for non-medical cannabis sales, some unfinished business remains when it comes to the state’s medical cannabis program. A state district judge last week ordered RLD, the New Mexico Department of Health and the governor’s office to either change their policy for medical cannabis patient purchase amounts or present a compelling argument for not doing so. “Respondents’ purchase limitations violate equal protection principles because they will subject New Mexicans with debilitating medical conditions who are dependent on medical cannabis to lower purchase limitations than persons who purchase cannabis from the recreational (and taxed) market,” read the writ of mandamus signed by Second Judicial District Judge Benjamin Chavez. “Respondents’ unlawful rules also attempt to impose an illegal tax on any medical cannabis purchases in violation of the Cannabis Regulation Act.” The Cannabis Regulation Act, which went into effect on June 29 and is the framework for sales expected to start next spring, allows purchasers to buy up to two ounces of cannabis at a time. But the state’s Department of Health, which is RLD’s medical cannabis counterpart, has maintained that a DOH policy limiting medical cannabis purchases to roughly eight ounces in a 90-day period takes precedence over the new law. For years, New Mexico cannabis patients have been limited to 230 “units” in a rolling 90-day period. DOH rules define a unit as one gram of dried cannabis “flower” or 200 milligrams of cannabis extract or concentrate. Under the new law, however, non-medical cannabis purchases are limited to two ounces for each transaction. The new law also doesn’t limit how many purchases a person can make in a day. So, theoretically, a person could make eight trips to a cannabis dispensary in one day and purchase…

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