Bill Richardson to Sign Bill Making Medical Marijuana Legal in New Mexico

The second time around the New Mexico state lawmakers passed a medical-marijuana bill, after only two hours of debate. Governor Bill Richardson is a strong supporter of the bill and is expected to sign it, making New Mexico the 12th state with medical marijuana laws. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have legalized marijuana for medical uses, according to a fiscal-impact report on the bill. Richardson had this to say about the bill, “I am pleased that the Legislature did the right thing, reconsidered this important bill and supported a humane option for New Mexicans who endure some of the most painful diseases imaginable.” Under the bill, the department would be required to create a system for distributing medical marijuana to patients by Oct. 1. The agency would issue identification cards to eligible patients and caregivers. The department also would license producers to grow the marijuana. Richardson has been behind this type of bill for some time, and he doesn’t see it as much of a issue, “I don’t see it as being a big issue,” Richardson said. “This is for medicinal purpose, for … people that are suffering. My God, let’s be reasonable.” Richardson also said the White House has tried to get him to not sign the bill.
In a related story, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Angel Raich, a lady in California who sued the federal government pre-emptively to avoid being arrested for using the drug marijuana. The drug was prescribed to help her with pain and to increase her appetite during her cancer treatment. In 2002 the Supreme Court ruled against her but left some things open for an appeals court to decide. Although sympathetic for her situation the appeals court decided against Raich. Her doctor has said it is a matter of life or death in her case. The appeals court ruled in a way that if arrested she might be able to argue that she possessed marijuana as a last resort to stay alive, in what is known as a ”medical necessity defense.” In other words she has to get arrested, or as Raich said, ”I have to get myself busted in order to try to save my life.” These are the people Bill Richardson is trying to help when he signs the New Mexico bill. It only makes sense. Kudos’s and scoobie snacks to Richardson.
Alan Cosgrove

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