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Senate adopts changes to medical marijuana program

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Parents have urged lawmakers to allow their children to use medical cannabis, such as the oil above, at schools. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

SANTA FE — A proposal to allow medical marijuana at school — among a host of other changes to New Mexico’s medical cannabis program — won bipartisan support in the Senate on Thursday.

The legislation, Senate Bill 406, also prohibits firing an employee just because he or she is in the medical marijuana program. But the person would be prohibited from coming to work impaired.

“This attempts to protect both employer and employee rights,” said Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, an Albuquerque Democrat and sponsor of the bill.

The proposal also removes a six-plant limit on how much marijuana a patient can grow and instead allows the state Department of Health to establish the limit on its own.

As for students, the bill incorporates a proposal sponsored by Sen. Candace Gould, R-Albuquerque, that would allow the use of medical marijuana in schools, in certain circumstances.

Local school boards would have to establish rules for the storage and administration of the medicine. The student couldn’t self-administer the cannabis.

The proposal comes after lawmakers heard testimony in recent months about children and their parents having to choose between school or medicine. In one case, a child takes cannabis oil regularly to control severe seizures.

Senate Bill 406 won approval 33-2 and now heads to the House.

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