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Former Rep. John Delaney on the opioids crisis; a field organizer for Sen. Kamala Harris on campaigning in Iowa; and a President Donald Trump supporter who cares more about numbers than personalities.

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NM Expands Cannabis Options to Treat Opioid Addiction

About 73,000 New Mexicans have enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program since it was introduced in 2007. (health.harvard.edu)
About 73,000 New Mexicans have enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program since it was introduced in 2007. (health.harvard.edu)
June 10, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Opioid-use disorder tops the list of several new qualifying conditions for people in New Mexico who want to enroll in the state's Medical Cannabis Program.

David Morgan, public information officer with the Department of Health, said New Mexico has reduced its drug-overdose mortality rate from second-highest in the nation to 17th. He said the Health Department believes expanding the qualifying conditions for cannabis use could help continue the state's downward trend.

"We are hoping that being able to add opioid-use disorder as a qualifying condition to the medical cannabis program can help further mitigate drug-overdose deaths in the state,” Morgan said.

At least eight other states, including California, recognize opioid dependency as a qualifying condition that some choose to treat using medical marijuana. Other medical conditions that now qualify in New Mexico are Alzheimer's disease, autism spectrum disorder, and three degenerative neurological disorders, including spinal muscular atrophy.

Morgan said all the new qualifying conditions are based on recommendations from the state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

"To better help some patients out there be able to get some relief from their conditions that they may not be able to get otherwise through conventional medical means,” he said.

In their most recent session, New Mexico legislators again considered a bill to legalize marijuana for recreational use in the state, but it failed to gain enough support. Nonetheless, in April, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation to decrease penalties for marijuana possession from a criminal to a civil violation.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM