Reefer Sadness

It has been reported that, as of July 17, 2010 New Mexico is running low on stockpiles of medical marijuana, which a 2007 state law permits it to distribute to approximately 2000 patients in the state. Currently, the only fairly severe conditions are approved for treatment in New Mexico, which include cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, spinal cord damage, HIV/AIDS, or those in hospice care for terminal conditions. While some question the scientific justifications behind using medical marijuana as a treatment, New Mexico’s list of approved conditions seems to be largely in keeping with those which are said to be responsive to the drug.

New Mexico is one of 14 states to permit medical marijuana under the direction of a physician to treat some conditions, though 8 more states and the District of Columbia also have pending legislations.

In New Mexico the suppliers are also fairly strictly regulated, with a limitation of 95 mature plants placed on growers. While one can also apply for a permit to grow the plant as an individual, most patients appear to rely on suppliers.

To help ease the supply bottleneck, New Mexico says that they have approved six new suppliers. However, given the fairly serious nature of the conditions that patients must have to qualify for the programs, patients may not be able to go without treatment if a supply problem does occur. For, as the original article notes, one grower in Albuquerque, New Mexico claims that he has five times the amount of patients that he is able to supply.

Since other states are not reporting similar shortages, however, it would stand to reason that one possible solution, instead of merely expanding the number of growers in New Mexico, would be for the state to attempt to arrange some sort of sharing system with other states. For example, Colorado, which borders New Mexico, has its own medical marijuana laws, which would mean that it might be possible to share that way.

This raise issues with interstate commerce. However, according to this link, the federal government has committed to end raids on medical marijuana on medical marijuana operations complying with state laws, despite the fact that marijuana is still a controlled substance on the national level. Therefore, this solution may well allow New Mexico to keep patients stocked, plus cope with the 200 or so patients new patients it is approving every month.