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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Medical marijuana advocates concerned over recreational cannabis proposals

Nathan O'Neal
October 21, 2019 06:21 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Some medical marijuana patients are concerned the proposed framework for legalizing recreational marijuana could have a potentially negative impact on the medical cannabis program.

“It's something that will devastate the medical program in doing so,” said Jason Barker, a medical cannabis advocate with Safe Access New Mexico.

Medical marijuana advocates concerned over recreational cannabis proposals

A special task force delivered a list of recommendations to lawmakers last week to give them a jump start on legalizing marijuana.

Barker said he worries that intertwining recreational and medical businesses could compromise the medical supply.

“Fifty-five percent of our producers are having trouble meeting the demand for those products already and if over half of the people in the program can't produce that quickly enough, if we roll into a recreational law then it would be a great concern for me and a lot of the other patients,” Barker said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham previously said that any recreational program must be mindful of cannabis patients.

“We want to create a variety of economic engines, but it's been more about protecting medical cannabis, public safety and prevention,” Gov. Grisham said.

In the letter the task force presented to lawmakers, they are recommending an entirely new model.

"We Intend to protect patient access and affordability with a 'patient first' supply model," the letter read.

Barker said he thinks the state is rushing the legalization process.

“The state is seeming so desperate to get access to that green rush tax dollars that come with legalization that whatever they can get through and pass, they will and they'll fix it later,” he said.

Lawmakers will have to approve any recreational cannabis proposals during the next legislative session in January.

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