New Mexico Senate, Governor Endorse Medical Marijuana Bills

March 01, 2005

, The New Mexico Channel

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The state Senate has endorsed three separate bills that would allow patients with cancer and other debilitating diseases to use marijuana to ease their symptoms.


They each set up a program in the Department of Health to oversee the medical use of marijuana.


Gov. Bill Richardson's office released the following statement Wednesday regarding the medical marijuana legislation passed by the state Senate:


"For people who are living in a tremendous amount of pain as a result of life threatening diseases, this is a treatment that they should be allowed to have," the statement said.


This statement marks the first time Richardson has taken a position on medical marijuana.


Under one of the measures, the marijuana would be grown at licensed, secure facilities and then distributed to patients who were registered to possess and smoke it.


An alternative bill requires the medical marijuana to be pharmaceutical grade, which means it would be manufactured by a drug company and could be taken in various forms, but not smoked.


The third bill the Senate endorsed Wednesday would allow the use of marijuana only topically, such as in an ointment.


The three bills now go to the House.


Lawmakers have voted on medical marijuana bills for several years, but none has passed both houses.


The state had a medical marijuana program in the late 1970s that was connected to a research project, but it lost its funding.

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