State court judge rules to increase medical cannabis purchase limits for New Mexicans

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A judge in New Mexico has instructed the state Department of Health and the Regulation and Licensing Department to halt the enforcement of medical cannabis purchase limits. The order emerges as the new Cannabis Regulation Act goes into effect; thus invalidating a purchase limit rule that was featured in the old law.

The Cannabis Regulation Act was approved in March. Since June 29, when the law became effective, recreational cannabis consumption has been legal for people aged 21 and older across the state. Licensed adult-use cannabis stores in New Mexico are anticipated to open their doors in April. 

Prior to the Act’s adoption, registered medical patients were unable to purchase more than eight ounces of cannabis within a 90-day period. Previously, a tracking system was utilized by dispensaries to assess precisely how much patients were purchasing every three months. 

Once the limit was reached, medical cannabis retailers were expected to turn customers away until their new limit became valid. Under the terms of the new law, medical cannabis patients can now purchase two ounces per dispensary visit. 

State District Judge Benjamin Chavez responded to a medical cannabis patient’s petition

On Friday, August 20, a writ on the subject of medical cannabis was formally issued. The writ came in response to a July-filed appeal from registered Bernalillo County medical cannabis patient, Jason Barker. 

Barker contested that the outdated limits on medical cannabis in New Mexico prevented him from buying the necessary amount of medicine to provide symptomatic relief from a severe medical condition. 

Whilst awaiting the transfusion of medical cannabis regulatory responsibilities from the DOH to the Regulation and Licensing Department, he name-dropped employees and both state agencies as the defendants in his case. 

“My client is certainly encouraged and appreciative of the District Court’s order, which recognizes neither the Department of Health or Regulation and Licensing Department can take rights away from medical cannabis patients that they have under state law,” said Barker’s lawyer, Jacob Candelaria. The attorney also serves as a state senator.

State agencies are invited to argue in court if they don’t comply with updated rule on New Mexico’s medical cannabis purchase limits

In the event that a particular agency decides that they do not want to conform with the newly updated medical cannabis purchase limits in New Mexico, they will be encouraged to continue their argument in court. This is based on a segment of the writ, which was not commented on by a spokesman for the DOH

‘The Cannabis Control Division is reviewing the writ and does not comment on pending litigation. CCD is committed to ensuring that medical cannabis patients can get the medicine they need in accordance with the law,” reads an email written by a spokeswoman for the Regulation and Licensing Department’s Cannabis Control Division.

An update is expected to surface in the foreseeable future.