NM medical pot bill moves ahead

February 02, 2007

Associated Press, Las Cruces Sun-News

SANTA FE — A Senate committee has approved a medical marijuana bill, which would allow certain patients to use marijuana under a doctor's supervision to relieve pain and the nausea caused by some medical treatments.

The unanimous vote Thursday by the Senate Public Affairs Committee gave the bill's backers some hope. In the past two legislative sessions, a nearly identical bill was approved by the Senate but stalled in the House.

Supporters of the measure say it could benefit an estimated 50 to 200 New Mexico patients

, with conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and AIDS.

The measure, called the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act after cancer patients, would give the state Health Department authority over the supply and distribution of marijuana.

Thyroid cancer patient Erin Armstrong, 25 — one of the patients named on the bill — said she remains optimistic. She sat in the front row during Thursday's hearing beside her mother, the secretary of the state Aging and Long-Term Services Department, Deborah Armstrong.

A Health Department spokesman, Chris Minnick, said the agency neither supports nor opposes the bill.



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