New Mexico Medical Marijuana Update -- Richardson Says Full Steam Ahead Despite Attorney General's "Prank"

Late Thursday night we reported in the Chronicle that New Mexico's Dept. of Health had balked at supplying medical marijuana to patients following a warning from state Attorney General Gary King that he wouldn't defend state workers if the feds prosecuted them. Gov. Richardson, who is running for president in the Democratic primary, has ordered the Health Dept. to comply with the law, and has urged President Bush to stop the medical marijuana prosecutions. I'm not surprised by Richardson's stance, given how hard he fought to rescue the bill last spring when its demise had already been pronounced. Looking at the text of the law, I really have to say I think King is full of it. The law does not tell the Health Dept. to have its own employees grow or distribute marijuana; it tells the department to license people to grow it. Then those licensees will be taking their chances with the feds, for their own individual reasons. But that's not the same thing as state employees being subject to federal prosecution themselves. There have certainly been federal raids of medical marijuana providers in states that have licensed them, but not of the state agencies who have issued them licenses to protect them from state prosecution. Good for Bill Richardson, shame on Gary King, did he really think he could put that one over?
Santa Fe, NM
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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will these losers ever quit trying to scam americans

good for the govener a true man of vision sticking up for the voters .that attorny general should face a firing squad he is a traitor .to the people of newmexico

Governor Richardson

I look forward to seeing the response from the Bush Administration to a letter that Governor Richardson sent on friday urging the federal government to let states (like New Mexico) implement medical marijuana programs without fear of federal prosecution.

It is refreshing to see a Governor showing this type of leadership to support the citizens that could benefit from the use of medical marijuana.

May be it is time for less oversight by the federal government and more "home rule" for our states.

Governor Richardson

It's also refreshing to have a presidential hopful take this type of position. I'm going to donate to his campaign today and leave a message regarding why I'm doing so -- since he has taken a clear stand on compassionate care.

King may not be full of it...

California has asked State Attorney General Brown to clarify whether or not the counties are aiding in the illegal distribution of medical cannabis. Browns opinion should be coming soon...note #2.

RE: Opinion No. 07-306

We have received a request from Senator Sheila James Kuehl for an
opinion of the Attorney General on the following questions:

1. Is it possible for a store front medical marijuana dispensary to be
legally operated under the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Health & Saf.
Code, * 11362.5) and the Medical Marijuana Program Act (Health & Saf.
Code, ** 11362.7-11362.83)?

2. If the governing body of a city, city and county, or county
approves an ordinance authorizing and regulating marijuana dispensaries
to implement the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and the Medical Marijuana
Program Act, can an individual board or council member be found to be
acting illegally and be subject to federal criminal charges, including
aiding and abetting, or state criminal charges?

3. If the governing body of a city, city and county, or county
approves an ordinance authorizing and regulating marijuana dispensaries
to implement the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 and the Medical Marijuana
Program Act, and subsequently a particular dispensary is found to be
violating state law regarding sales and trafficking of marijuana, could
an elected official on the governing body be guilty of state criminal

4. Does approval of such an ordinance open the jurisdictions
themselves to civil or criminal liability?

5. Does the issuance of a business license involve any additional
civil or criminal liability for a city or county and its elected
governing body?

It is the policy of our office to solicit the views of all interested
parties prior to issuing an opinion. If you would like to submit
comments, a response by May 8, 2007, would be most helpful; materials
received after such date will nonetheless be considered. Views
submitted will be treated by our office as public records under the
Public Records Act. Please address your views to: Deputy Attorney
General Marc Nolan, 300 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013;
telephone (213) 897-2255; or via e-mail [email protected].

Information regarding the status of this opinion request and a copy of
the opinion when it is issued, as well as opinion research materials and
a description of our opinion writing policies, are available on the
Opinion Unit*s Internet website,


Senior Assistant Attorney General
Chief, Opinion Unit

Attorney General

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