A couple of important developments in the U.S state of New Mexico relating to medical cannabis occurred this week.
The first was a step towards adding opiate use disorder (OUD) as a qualifying condition for the state’s compassionate medical marijuana program.
As we’ve often mentioned on Hemp Gazette, cannabis and derived medicines are offering significant hope in tackling the USA’s opioid crisis, one that is killing dozens of Americans each day.
Slowly but surely the evidence is building and opinions changing on the issue; including in New Mexico, where a related House Memorial* was passed 65:0.
House Memorial 67 requests New Mexico’s Secretary of Health to add opioid use disorder under the Lynn And Erin Compassionate Use Act medical cannabis program. It also requests that the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee hears expert testimony on medical cannabis in the context of its use as an alternative to opioids in acute and chronic pain management; with view to preventing and treating opioid use disorders.
“Having Cannabis on the medical uses list for Opioid treatment will help many rural communities who don’t have access to other treatments for OUD,” said Rep. Joanne Ferarry.
The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act legalised medicinal cannabis use for cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord related intractable spasticity, epilepsy, HIV and AIDs, and other conditions as approved by the state’s department of health.
Another state considering adding opiate use disorder as a qualifying condition is New York.
In other related news from New Mexico, bipartisan legislation (HB 139) introduced by representatives Debbie Armstrong and Monica Youngblood to allow state residents access to FDA-approved cannabis medications (of which there are few) passed the state’s Senate yesterday.
“New Mexicans deserve access to all the safe and effective medications available,” said Ms. Armstrong said. “If a child suffering from epileptic seizures can be helped by an FDA-approved medication that is derived from marijuana, we must do the right thing by helping to ease that child’s suffering.”
To this point, the only allowed medical cannabis has been plant material.
Debbie Armstrong was also a co-sponsor of House Memorial 67, and her daughter is one of the namesakes of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.
HB 139 now awaits New Mexico’s governor to sign it into law.
*A “memorial” is an expression of legislative desire usually addressed to another governmental body in the form of a petition or declaration of intent.