A leading politician has outlined why non-residents should be permitted to access New Mexico’s medicinal marijuana program in a strongly worded letter to its director.
Democratic Rep. Brian Egolf is the Speaker of the House in New Mexico and he also serves as an attorney for medical cannabis producer Ultra Health. He claims a straightforward reading of state law shows that the state’s program should cater to Americans that do not live there.
Last week the Department of Public health insisted that only New Mexico residents can enrol in the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. That did not go down well at Ultra Health, which has previously invested in radio advertising in the south-eastern part of the state to advertise to residents of west Texas.
An update to New Mexico’s medicinal cannabis law has replaced the term “resident of New Mexico” with simply “person” under the definition of who qualifies for the program. Yet the Department of Health does not read this as permitting out of state patients to access cannabis in the Land of Enchantment.
Now Egolf has written a 12-page letter to the medical cannabis program manager at the New Mexico Department of Health, Kenny Vigil, to address the eligibility of non-residents to gain medical marijuana cards.
He reminded Vigil that other states that have legalized medicinal cannabis allow sales to non-residents, including California, Colorado, and Nevada. He pointed out that many people crossed the border into Oregon from Washington State to buy cannabis before it was legalized there. It still receives visitors from Idaho who want to buy marijuana.
Egolf said state law prevents anyone from taking cannabis out of New Mexico, so consumption would take place within state lines. He has recently won two cases against the Department of Health by arguing it overstepped its authority in defiance of state law, and said state court would be likely to rule against it again in this instance.
“Our client wishes to resolve this matter amicably and expeditiously,” Egolf added. “Our client does not wish to seek the assistance of the courts to resolve a matter that it believes is simple and straightforward.”
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