New Mexico has begun issuing medical marijuana playing cards to residents of different states, a transfer that might enhance New Mexico’s medicinal cannabis trade and in addition affect potential new legal guidelines in Arizona.
Duke Rodriguez, a Scottsdale resident and CEO of the cannabis firm Extremely Well being LLC, turned the primary Arizonan to get a New Mexico medical cannabis card on Friday after suing to enroll in this system alongside two Texan petitioners final month.
The three had demanded that New Mexico officers allow them to enroll after a 2019 change to that state’s medical marijuana legislation removed a residency requirement and as a substitute allowed any “individual” to register for a card.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration stated the change was meant to assist individuals with medical playing cards of their house states buy pot in New Mexico, to not enable any individual to register for the state’s program. Nonetheless, state District Decide Bryan Biedscheid dominated in favor of Rodriguez and the opposite petitioners in late August — a choice the state plans to attraction.
Rodriguez, who has been recognized with post-traumatic stress dysfunction, stated accessing medical marijuana in New Mexico will assist his well being. He spends about half his time in New Mexico as a result of his firm is a prime cannabis distributor there, he stated, however he hasn’t been in a position to buy marijuana within the state till now. He stated the ruling is a victory for others who will be capable to entry drugs once they could not earlier than.
However Rodriguez might additionally stand to learn financially from development in New Mexico’s cannabis trade, significantly if Texans with restricted entry to cannabis in their very own state flock throughout the border to acquire playing cards in New Mexico.
The court docket ruling, if it stands, might also change the sport for Arizonans, creating new choices for residents alongside the border with restricted entry to dispensaries, or for individuals who haven’t been profitable getting medical marijuana approval in-state.
Although Arizona has about 130 dispensaries, most are concentrated in cities, removed from the agricultural areas that border New Mexico. Plus, whereas Arizona’s medical marijuana program now requires a payment of $150 to the state each two years, (playing cards issued earlier than August 27 are nonetheless solely good for one 12 months), New Mexico’s medical card lasts three years and doesn’t cost that payment.
New Mexico’s cannabis trade already has skilled quick development. Although the state has simply over 2 million residents, it now has 91 dispensaries — almost as many as in Arizona, which has about 5 million extra individuals.
Arizona is “going to have to take a seat up and take discover of what’s taking place,” Rodriguez stated. “It’s going to make Arizona mirror on whether or not its payment construction is comparable and equitable.”
Whether or not or not the ruling stands, New Mexico’s altering marijuana coverage indicators a nationwide shift towards reciprocity, or permitting vacationers with medical playing cards of their house states to entry marijuana whereas out of state. Hawaii and Nevada, for instance, have such legal guidelines, in keeping with Scottsdale Analysis Institute’s Dr. Sue Sisley, who research cannabis.
“It’s acceptable that if sufferers are legally allowed to get entry to medical cannabis of their house state that once they’re touring, they need to be granted related entry,” Sisley stated.
That’s not but the case in Arizona, the place out-of-staters with medical playing cards can legally use and possess marijuana, however can’t buy it. Demitri Downing, government director of the Marijuana Trade Commerce Affiliation of Arizona, informed Phoenix New Instances that he hopes to vary that quickly.
“We’ve determined that our legislative agenda for 2020 might be to convey reciprocity to the state of Arizona,” Downing stated. “And we are going to combat for reciprocity yearly till we get it.”
Whereas New Mexico opening its medical marijuana program to nonresidents might imply some misplaced enterprise for Arizona’s trade, Downing stated there’s additionally an upside — it’ll educate legislators on why Arizona may wish to contemplate such a change.
“It’s incredible that New Mexico goes by means of this in a really public method,” he stated. “The an increasing number of individuals talk about it, the an increasing number of individuals perceive the nuances of what doesn’t make sense. And what doesn’t make sense just isn’t having reciprocity.”
Downing says one other merchandise on MITA-AZ’s legislative agenda might be to take away the federal government from doctor-patient conversations round medical marijuana, giving medical doctors, fairly than legislators, full energy to find out whether or not a affected person ought to get a prescription.
Past that, an initiative to legalize marijuana use for all adults in Arizona can be anticipated to hit the poll in 2020.