(courtesy NORML Foundation, http://www.norml.org)
Santa Fe, NM: Both a medical marijuana and a marijuana decriminalization bill were introduced in the New Mexico state legislature yesterday.
Sens. Cisco McSorley (D-Albuquerque) and Roman Maes III (D-Santa Fe) introduced Senate Bill 319 and Rep. Joe Thompson (R-Albuquerque) introduced House Bill 431, which would allow seriously ill patients to legally use marijuana as a medicine. The bills would cover patients suffering from such debilitating diseases such as cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy, and severe muscle spasms, including those associated with multiple sclerosis or Crohn's disease. The proposals would revise the "Lynn Pierson Act," a long dormant New Mexico medical marijuana law originally enacted in 1978 that allowed for the medical use of marijuana only in a research setting.
Sen. McSorley also introduced Senate Bill 315, which would decriminalize the possession of marijuana for recreational use. Anyone over 18 years old who possesses an ounce or less of marijuana would face a $100 civil fine enforced with a citation and no arrest.
Gov. Gary Johnson (R) proposed the two marijuana law reform proposals in January, based on a report prepared by the New Mexico Drug Policy Advisory Group, which called the "war on drugs" a failure, said that sick and dying patients should be allowed to use marijuana medicinally and called for decriminalizing minor marijuana offenses.
Over the past two weeks, NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, professor at the Harvard Medical School (Emeritus) and Dr. John P. Morgan, professor of pharmacology at the City University of New York Medical School, have traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico to meet with legislators and to build support for the two proposals.
"It's an exciting time to be working with the New Mexico legislature," Stroup said. "The individual members seem aware that current drug policies aren't working, and are interested in learning more about the governor's proposals. New Mexico has a short 60-day legislative session, so we'll know soon whether these proposals enjoy majority support."