Santa Fe, NM: A New Mexico lawmaker has withdrawn legislation that sought to repeal the state’s four-year-old medical marijuana law. Newly elected Republican Gov. Susana Martinez said that she would have signed the measure, House Bill 593, had it reached her desk.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. James Smith, is now proposing a House Memorial bill that calls on lawmakers to study the state’s medical cannabis program.
Presently, over 3,200 patients are using cannabis legally in compliance with state law. In addition, state officials have licensed some 25 facilities to produce or dispense medical cannabis. To date, reports of abuses regarding the use or distribution of medical cannabis as authorized by the law have been minimal.
In Montana, members of the Senate Judicial Committee on Monday deadlocked 6 to 6 regarding a similar measure, House Bill 161, which sought to repeal that state’s six-year-old, voter-approved medical marijuana law. House representatives had previously voted, largely along party lines, 63 to 37 in favor of the repeal measure.
Senators may still elect to reconsider the measure, or they may call for a ‘blast motion,’ which is a procedure that allows measures to bypass committee and be debated by the full chamber.
According to a Public Policy Polling survey last month of 2,212 Montanans, 63 percent of respondents “support allowing patients … to have the freedom to use marijuana for medical purposes with their doctors’ approval.” Only 20 percent of respondents said that the law should be “repealed entirely.”
Also on Monday, federal law enforcement officials raided several Montana medical marijuana greenhouses and dispensary providers. Law enforcement officers confiscated various items of property, including marijuana, cash, and growing equipment, but failed to make any immediate arrests. The raids marked the first large-scale federal crackdown in the state since voters approved Montana’s medical marijuana law via initiative in 2004.
New Mexico and Montana are among the 15 states that presently recognize the physician-supervised use of cannabis. To date, no legislature has repealed such a law.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202 483-5500) or visit: http://montananorml.org.