Pot patients hit street as DOH runs dry

By chillinwill · Sep 5, 2009 ·
  1. chillinwill
    Albuquerque - The state's only licensed distributor of medical marijuana is fresh out leaving some permitted patients to hunt for street dealers as an alternative source.

    Under New Mexico's medical marijuana law it's legal for permitted users to buy from drug dealers even though it's not legal for the dealer to sell.

    Robert Jones, who uses marijuana because of his cancer, told KRQE News 13 it's a crazy situation he doesn't think will get any better.

    “They pretty much did license the black-market system." Jones said.

    Jones was one of the state's first medical marijuana users in New Mexico. Since he got his permit in late 2007 he's always had a problem finding a legal, affordable source, he said.

    Last year he told a state Department of Health hearing sometimes he has had to turn to the street.

    The DOH has approved only one legal producer but has give possession permits to 540 patients.

    About 100 of the patients have permits to grow their own, but the others have to depend on that one producer. Other applications are pending

    “We are really carefully developing this phase of our program," Deborah Busemeyer of the DOH said. "It's the final part of our program, and it's the most complicated.

    "We are looking at other places based on where are they located, who can they serve and are patients getting what they need."

    Busemeyer said the lone producer who's currently licensed will have a new crop in October.

    But in the meantime the state is giving out more user permits, something Jones said is just making the problem worse.

    “By the end of the year we need 10 producers all over the state,” Jones said.

    He is now licensed to grow his own. However he said he knows seriously ill patients who are too weak to grow their own and are now out of options.

    “They are never going to get it," he said. "They don't go to the grocery store; they sure don't go out and meet long-haired people with beards in parking lots and buy marijuana and take it home and try to smoke it."

    The DOH said the number of new medical marijuana permits has more than doubled in the last few months.

    Alex Tomlin
    September 4, 2009

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