Medical Marijuana Patients Plead With Governor and House Speaker: “We Can

Press Release January 16, 2006

Santa Fe – Although polls show that 81% of voters in New Mexico support legal access to medical marijuana for those who need it, Governor Richardson is claiming that the issue is too “controversial” for this year’s legislative session.

During the 2005 legislative session, a medical marijuana bill flew through committees in both the House and the Senate, passed the Senate 27 to 11 with bipartisan support but was held up on the House floor. The bill faced very little opposition throughout the session. The bill was also endorsed by the 2005 Legislative Courts, Corrections, and Justice Interim Committee.

Despite a long list of items that the Governor has planned to message, in press coverage this morning Speaker of the House Ben Lujan singled out medical marijuana as one issue that state lawmakers don’t have time for.

“The Governor and the Speaker of the House say that they don’t have time to hear the bill this year, but my time is limited,” says Essie Debonet, who suffers from worsening side effects of AIDS medications. “I could be dead before the 2007 session rolls around. I can’t wait another year for this medicine.”

Legal access to medical marijuana has been endorsed by numerous local and national organizations, including the New Mexico Nurses Association, Health Action New Mexico, the Catholic Diocese of Gallup – Office of Peace, Justice and Creation Stewarship, POZ Coalition, the New Mexico HIV Prevention Community Planning and Action Group, the America Academy of Family Physicians, the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Nurses Association. For a complete list of all organizations who endorse legal access to medical marijuana, please contact Melissa Milam at 983-3277.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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