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Medical cannabis law change for out-of-state patients starts July 1

Duke Rodriguez, Ultra Health's president and CEO shown here in 2018, says there is some indication hemp plants prefer similar growing conditions to that of green chile.

Ultra Health president and CEO Duke Rodriguez. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Starting July 1, out-of-state medical cannabis patients will be able to purchase medical cannabis from New Mexico dispensaries.

Patients with proof of authorization from a medical cannabis program outside New Mexico, also known as reciprocal participants, may begin purchasing medical cannabis from New Mexico dispensaries in July, according to a news release from Ultra Health, which operates a network of dispensaries in New Mexico.

Access to medical cannabis for out-of-state residents has been a thorny subject in New Mexico in recent years. Previously, out-of-state residents were able to directly enroll in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program and would receive a one-year ID card for the program.

In 2019, a bill signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham changed the definition of “qualified patient” in part by removing an in-state residency requirement, according to earlier reporting.

Following the change, three out-of-state residents, including Ultra Health founder Duke Rodriguez, applied for medical marijuana cards but were denied, prompting a lengthy legal battle.

The recent legislative fix was signed into law in February. Under Senate Bill 139, enrollment in the New Mexico medical cannabis program is reserved only for state residents but reciprocal patients in out-of-state programs have access to the state’s medical cannabis program.

Now, out-of-state patients need only a proof of authorizations like a doctor’s recommendation. The law covers medical cannabis patients with proof of authorization from any state, the District of Columbia, a territory or commonwealth of the U.S. or a New Mexico Indian nation, tribe or pueblo, according to the release.

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