New York’s Cannabis Industry

In New Mexico, Non-Residents Can Now Get MMJ Cards

New York’s cannabis industry is expected to grow with new changes in the medical cannabis program. The state has started giving non-residents online medical marijuana cards.

A state district judge ruled that the New Mexico Department of Health must provide MMJ cards to qualified patients no matter where they live.

There’re various changes made in medical marijuana law such as protections from discrimination for patients and extending the life span of MMJ cards. Perhaps, the most important one is—who qualifies for a medical marijuana card. The definition of a qualified patient is now— “person”, previously it was “resident of New Mexico.”

New Mexico’s MMJ Policy For Non-Residents

According to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration, the changes in the medical marijuana program were for helping patients who hold MMJ cards in their home states to buy cannabis in New Mexico. It doesn’t mean that anyone can apply for the state’s program. 

Duke Rodriguez, the CEO of Ultra Health LLC and a resident of the State of Arizona, became the first Arizonan to receive an MMJ card in New Mexico. 

Rodriguez said that medical marijuana will help him in managing his post-traumatic stress disorder. His company is a leading cannabis distributor in New Mexico, but he hasn’t been able to get marijuana until now. 

In January, the state temporarily increased plant limits for producers to 2,500 from 450. Now, New Mexico is thinking of a permanent plant count—1750 for every producer.

According to Rodriguez, the patient number may double. This generates the question—if the proposed permanent plant count will be sufficient. However, it may be difficult for the state to meet the needs for patients when it’s allowing non-residents to buy cannabis and adding six new conditions in the qualifying conditions’ list.

The cannabis industry in New Mexico is booming. The state has 91 dispensaries and 2 million residents.

New Mexico’s new medical marijuana policy for non-residents allows patients (with MMJ cards) traveling to the state access cannabis products for alleviating their symptoms. Hawaii and Nevada already have such laws.

“It’s appropriate that if patients are legally allowed to get access to medical cannabis in their home state that when they’re traveling, they should be granted similar access.” Dr. Sue Sisley of Scottsdale Research Institute.

Effects on Arizona’s MMJ Laws

The new changes may influence the game for Arizona, providing limited access to dispensaries for residents along the border. Or, for patients who can’t receive medical cannabis approval in-state.

In Arizona, there’re about 130 dispensaries. And, for every two years, the state’s medical marijuana program requires a fee of $150. While New Mexico’s MMJ card is valid for three years and they don’t charge the fee.

In Arizona, MMJ patients from other states can legally use and possess cannabis, but they can’t buy it. 

Demitri Downing, Executive Director of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association of Arizona, said, “We’ve decided that our legislative agenda for 2020 will be to bring reciprocity to the state of Arizona. And, we will fight for reciprocity every year until we get it.”

Downing says one more thing on MITA-AZ’s legislative agenda will be—to provide doctors full power to determine the patients that should get prescriptions.

Is MMJ program changes a good move by New Mexico? What would be the effects of New Mexico’s medical marijuana rule changes on Arizona’s cannabis market? Share your views in the comment section below.