Medical Marijuana

New Mexico Approves Medical Marijuana


Add New Mexico to the list of states that permit the medical use of marijuana:

Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, poised to sign a bill making New Mexico the 12th state to legalize medical marijuana, said Thursday that he realizes his action could become an issue in the presidential race.

"So what if it's risky? It's the right thing to do," said Richardson, one of the candidates in the crowded 2008 field. "What we're talking about is 160 people in deep pain. It only affects them."

I don't get how Richardson can predict the number of patients who will qualify for marijuana, or why he thinks pain relief will be the only application. The Drug War Chronicle reports that "the bill will allow patients to use marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, certain spinal-cord injuries, epilepsy, HIV, AIDS,…and other uses approved by the state Department of Health. Unlike other medical marijuana states, patients will not be able to grow their own medicine. Instead, the state Department of Health will be required to set up a system to license providers and will distribute the marijuana to qualified patients itself."

And exactly how risky is it for Richardson to back medical marijuana? Polls indicate the policy has broad public support, especially among Democrats. It's hard to believe letting sick people use a medicine that helps alleviate their symptoms would cost Richardson many votes he otherwise would have gotten.

NEXT: Tyrone Brown Freed

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. too bad SIV
    chose cockfighting as his cause
    he’d like Richardson

  2. Each additional state that allows med-mj is one more slap in the face of the Feds. Happy times!

  3. Now the fighting cocks
    will be eaten because sick
    folks have the munchies.

  4. Yeah, it’s impossible that a Democrat might do something because he thinks it’s right.

    Project much?

  5. This has been a recent topic at Cafe Hayek, and it’s always the same thing that perplexes me.

    Why isn’t this argued on its principals of merit, instead of trying to convince the general public that marijuana is a valid medicine?

    I’m for the legalization of drugs for all kinds of reasons having to do with personal freedom to basic economics, but trying to back door the issue with a flimsy claim of medical uses will, in my opinion, ultimately lead to further discrediting the overall pro-legal position.

    If we stuck to the very strong and obvious facts that the war on drugs is a catastrophic failure, while comparing the effects of pot to alcohol, the ease of which pot can be obtained versus the relative difficulty for a young minor to obtain alcohol, etc, the argument would eventually be won on honest principal.

  6. medical MJ
    New Mexico’s right
    sorry feds, suck it

  7. Democrats do evil and
    eat babies. They’re idea of good
    would be hell on earth

    But seriously, when
    not politically a real
    problem. No repeal.

    Also, should not worry why
    liberty advances. Grandma won’t run
    amok. Legalization

  8. An answer for Ray
    If it feels good, then it’s bad
    the Puritan way

  9. Unlikely a pol
    does much for the right reasons
    more likely for votes

  10. Richardson could make
    me vote for a Democrat.
    But he has no chance.

  11. drug warriors’ mantra
    some collateral damage
    sends the right message

  12. Haikus on doobies
    are really harshing mellow
    Stop it all right now!

  13. grumpy realist
    He thinks Dems do the right things
    get real, realist!

  14. This is getting dumb. Can we get off the haiku and get serious?

  15. This is getting dumb
    Can we get off the haiku
    and get serious?

  16. New Hit and Run rule:
    No posts past 17 beats.
    Catch haiku fever.

  17. “the argument would eventually be won on honest principal.”

    That’s positing that reason will out over emotion. Given that most people are ahistorical hysterics, I won’t hold my breath.

  18. This must continue
    Throughout St. Patty’s weekend.
    Nick, Mon. morn: What the…?

  19. I have to agree
    No more over-long rants
    make your point quickly

  20. > but trying to back door the issue with a flimsy claim of medical uses will, in my opinion, ultimately lead to further discrediting the overall pro-legal position.

    I used to be more worried about this, but I think that the infrastructure set up to provide medical marijuana serves as an example of how marijuana can be openly pervasive without causing myriad social problems.

  21. [insert sarcastic noise here] Richardson killed his chances when he signed that law banning cockfighting.

  22. must change Hit & Run
    will be called haiku and run
    H & R read easy

  23. No drug war thursday,
    Balko. Politics and Haiku.
    Like police singing

  24. Hmm… good gun record, wants to end “don’t ask don’t tell”, legalizes pot, funded a spaceport, knows how to negotiate with the worst people on the planet, cut income taxes, has helped make New Mexico a bit less of an armpit…

    I’m liking Richardson better every day. I hope he gains some momentum, but that might be a little too much to ask for.

  25. “And exactly how risky is it for Richardson to back medical marijuana?”

    I guess the same way it’s risky for Dems in congress to do anything meaningful about the war in Iraq, which a majority of the public opposes.

  26. Why don’t you losers go post on a fuckin’ Haiku site

  27. Maybe he was talking about the risk of having DEA stormtroopers kick in his door at 3 am for letting those damn filthy hippies have free reign to help cancer patients in his state.

  28. why ihatehaiku?
    why the negativity?
    no need for f-bomb

  29. burnt a bowl of bud
    then I got really depressed
    cant watch cockfights high

  30. Maybe we should switch
    To lyric pentameter.
    Less annoying, posters?

  31. The pentameter is a satanic sign. I learnt that at church.

    actually I am ignorant of all poetry but haiku

  32. Right you are Crimethink
    I take up your fun gauntlet
    Iambs or troches?

  33. Looks like a goddam disaster area here with the disembodied remnants of haikus and dreams….

  34. This haiku is really a pain.
    Can I use MJ? To refrain
    would H&Rsh my mellow.
    This Richardson fellow
    Sounds likely to feel the same.

  35. Haiku posts quiet
    Randian shrieks about rat-
    ional self interest.

  36. Sestina…here you go Shelby. First two stanzas anyway:

    Resurrection Bay

    Diggin a new shit-hole and splitting wood, arms loaded

    With scraps of winter fuel, his wrists–webbed in veins–

    Throb in the mist. He rests a wedge upon a heart-

    Shaped seam on the stump, raises the axe in a grace-

    Full arc, let’s it fall, shatters shards and chips. We ease

    The creaky frame onto the shitless hole and return

    The tools we borrowed. Spent workers on glazed docks turn

    To a hole in the sky and a file of boats overloaded

    With halibut and black cod. The sun’s brassy rays ease

    Through coinslots in the clouds and backlit veins

    Set to glowing on the glaciers. The sun recedes, good grace

    retracted; an old packer feels a lull in hi beat-skipping heart. TBC

    ABCDEF FAEBDC or something like that.

  37. goddam disaster,
    with disembodied remnants
    of haikus and dreams

  38. “I don’t get how Richardson can predict the number of patients who will qualify for marijuana, or why he thinks pain relief will be the only application”

    I would think the governor of the state would be in a good position to get estimates from medical professionals.

  39. Pinko,
    Not too shabby, not too shabby….

  40. My wife an I are moving to NM in a few months. Wonder if she’ll ever write these scripts? Interesting thought.

  41. Lamar,
    Thanks, but shouldn’t you be blasting me for plagiarism?

  42. flimsy claim of medical uses

    Flimsy? Not really
    Research is blocked by douche feds
    Because they fear truth

  43. Now I’m wondering
    Will I get death threats at home?
    haiku haters near

  44. I sit here thinkin
    it has to be that douche fed
    is k feds brother

  45. Bans smoking in bars
    Then pulls this fast one on us
    Bill confuses me

  46. Maybe it’s time for secession, over the right to use medical marijuana. The States that allow it can form their own country..

  47. all these damn haikus
    guess we can’t control what our
    readers want to do

  48. Jesus fucking Christ
    Where is the haiku filter?
    Awful verse jumps shark

  49. Hail New Mexico!
    Strikes a blow against drug war!
    Hooray for our side!

  50. Hi, Ku,
    Excuse me, but “it only affects 160 people in deep pain” was such an ass-holish, PC, repulsive thing to say.
    How can anyone be other than a peaceful anarchist as is yours truly?
    In politics, only shit rises to the top.
    Shun politics with all thy might.

  51. I’ll skip the haiku.

    Yes, pot as a medicine is a flimsy argument. I’m for legalizing it, but I think we’re fighting our way into an empty building of sorts by using dubious arguments.

    Pot can be used to alleviate certain symptoms, but this doesn’t make it a medicine and very, very few people really believe that those like Raich actually “need” their pot to survive.

    On the feels good point, that is actually a very good point. For whatever reasons alcohol is legal, then we can use the same argument for pot. Likewise on the now obvious fact that prohibition was an unmitigated disaster, the drug war is that kind of disaster and then some.

  52. J. Walker ponders
    What to do about haikus.
    Too much of good thing.

  53. John C. Randolph
    doesn’t trust politicians
    to decide his fate.

  54. Oops, I missed it by
    one syllable in the non-
    haiku I just wrote.


  55. Yea! Freedom to smoke *SOME* plants! Wow!

    So, free to do pot and free to carry concealed. Jail for tobacco. Yes, how free how free.

  56. Pot can be used to alleviate certain symptoms, but this doesn’t make it a medicine

    Then what exactly is a medicine?
    Sure, it’s not a panacea and it’d be nice if dirty hippies would stop claiming it is and raising the bar of proof by association for us reasonable people. But it’s pretty easy for anyone who’s ever encountered pot to see how it might have some use as an analgesic, anxiolytic or anti-emetic. More importantly, actual people who are suffering and dying of horrible diseases (take Angel Raich, for example), claim it helps them and they’re willing to risk malicious prosecutions to prove it. I’m inclined to believe them.

  57. Some reading the blog, Hit & Run
    Post haiku, just because they’re fun.
    They do break the tension,
    But unless you mention
    Ma Nature, that’s senryu, old son.

    L? Fh?ile P?draig Sona Daoibh!


  58. Richardson backs medical marijuana, and then a few days later signs a bill to ban smoking statewide in bars and restaurants.

    Bill Richard, Moderate Liberal 50/30 by

    Rucy Giuliani, Moderate Libertarian 60/60 by

    I’ll go with the more consistent Libertarian. The 60/60 guy.

  59. Instead, the state Department of Health will be required to set up a system to license providers and will distribute the marijuana to qualified patients itself.

    I can see the headlines:

    Feds Arrest NM Dept of Health

  60. Dondero,

    Heh, they seem to have trouble finding info on Rudy’s stance on drugs.

  61. The funny part is watching Guiliani fans chastise Richardson for standing by his security people during the horrible Wen Ho Lee debacle.

    Yup, that was pretty bad, but the mayor of New York who went on TV mulitple times to defend the police after they repeatedly killed innocent citizens – even going so far as to slime one murdered security guard while his body still lay in the morgue – really have no one room to criticize anyone as overly authoritarian.

  62. Everybody have
    a happy Saint Patrick’s Day!
    (Haikus getting old)

  63. Why isn’t this argued on its principals of merit, instead of trying to convince the general public that marijuana is a valid medicine?

    Because politics is a game of emotional manipulation of public opinion.

    The issue also addresses the credibility of the government which persists in denying evidence of the medical uses of cannabinoids.


    The issue of suffering and relief via cannabinoids is legitimate on its own.

  64. In DC “anti-war” protest news, it appeard that counter-protestors outnumbered protesters by over 4 – 1.

    Slowest walking Commie hippies ever too.

    Not sure where they did their staged arrest, but if 700 were arrested as planned, the press would have outnumbered the remaining protestors.

    It appeared that they were staging a camera opportunity on the Memorial Bridge because they kept stopping for no apparent reason.

    They had a funny looking security detail at the front of the mob, holding hands, wearing bright green vests, “protecting” their group from, well, no threat other than the words of counter protestors.

  65. “I’ll go with the more consistent Libertarian. The 60/60 guy.”

    that sound you hear is the universe laughing, slapping its knee…tears running down its cheeks…and then breaking into sobs, weeping hysterically.

  66. I think that this med-mj legalization is actually an effort to win the drug war. How else to view government getting into the mj business — and locking out all free-market competition — but as a means to destroy the industry?

    Still, I am looking forward to Federal prosecution of the State of NM. Pitting one level of government against another, tying up energy and resources that would otherwise be used to micromanage the citizenry, sounds like the way it needs to be (if not exactly the way it OUGHTA be :-).

  67. Why the haiku hate?
    Haikus make Hit and Run fun
    Stop being so lame

  68. Just so everyone knows, Dondero is an idiot who can’t even copy/paste a url right. It is One would think that if you are trying to get people to go to a website in order to sway them to viewpoint, you would at least get the url right.


  69. It is

    You helped him?
    Why would you help him?

  70. Actually the website contradicts Eric. Compare Giuliani’s profile with Ron Paul’s.

    Eric must be the chasing the too-dumb-to-use-google vote for Giuliani.

  71. No, Dondero wasn’t comparing Giuliani/Paul, he was comparing Giuliani/Richardson. Dondero won’t compare Giulani/Paul, because would rather suck off Giuliani.

  72. Ray G,
    I doubt it’ll make you feel better, but this peaceful anarchist is with you 100 percent.

    If the Founders had had the slightest inkling there would eventually be Prohibition and a War on Drugs, they would have made the Second Amendment the right to put whatever substance one chooses into ones body. It would have followed naturally from the First Amendment which is the right to put whatever idea we choose into our mind.
    If the hoi polloi–or, at least, college educated people can’t grasp that–then we might as well give up.

  73. Efforts like OnTheIssues and Project Vote Smart are to be applauded, and they do a valuable service for evaluating candidates or potential candidates in circumstances where more direct info is lacking. However, when it comes to Giuliani we have excellent direct evidence of his performance as US att’y & NYC mayor. That overwhelms all the inferential material from statements that make up his OnTheIssues profile, and especially from the attempt to generate a diamond chart position from such statements, showing how misleading such methods can be. (Funny, but now I’m hearing what I just wrote in Giuliani’s voice in my imagination.)

    As to the feds arresting the Dept. of Health of NM, they can’t get them on a violation of any registration requirement if the Health Dept. employees involved can be shown to be officers enforcing a state law re marijuana. The state would be on better ground w.r.t. the federal statute if they had the state police do it, especially if the police also busted people who tried to obtain pot fraudulently. The police are allowed to manufacture & distribute controlled substances as part of sell-and-bust operations, for instance, without need to register with the DEA as distributors, and they’re not violating federal law any time they fail to bust someone they distribute to. However, the concerned Health Dept. employees may be considered officers enforcing laws too. I do know that when Oakland tried to delegate manufacture to a private party on private land, a federal judge did not agree that the person involved was such an officer enforcing such a law, so it probably does have to be a gov’t employee, not contractor.

  74. Ruthless,

    Everybody, even the college-educated, has their political blindspots. The Founders themselves are hardly an example of unblemished consistency, considering that many slaveholders among them signed a document proclaiming that all men are created equal.

  75. crimethink,
    I know.
    I say this as I prepare to comment on the topic above: gambling.
    Humans are hard-wired to be parents. Most of them cannot desist extending their parenting beyond their children.

  76. “Why isn’t this argued on its principals of merit, instead of trying to convince the general public that marijuana is a valid medicine?”

    Because it would require being able to reason logically, something the majority of the public doesn’t seem to be able to do. I’ve argued for legalization on the merits many times. The response I almost always get is “You’re probably right. You’ve made some good points. But you know . . . I just don’t think people should use drugs.” Emotion wins out again.

  77. Let’s an AG prosecute for her right ti clit ring!

  78. screw you drunky day

  79. “all these damn haikus
    guess we can’t control what our
    readers want to do”

    Snow falls in winter
    Give the people what they want
    A Friday Fun Link

  80. Guy, did you actually have a point somewhere hidden in your post? I didn’t see one.

    Blow darts at a few imagined hippy strawmen? If that keeps you goin’, so be it. Pretty pathetic stuff, though. Are you really that hollowed out?

  81. a – I’ve run into that myself. Some people are absolute sheep – I’ve met smokers who thought it should be illegal.

    If people can’t get around the emotions, use an emotional argument. I like to ask the “logical argument holdouts” just how long they think the prison terms for marijuana possession should be, and if they would prefer that murderers or rapists should be released to make room for them.

  82. False dichotomy: we can always build more jails.

  83. “Why don’t you losers
    go post on a fuckin’ Hai-
    ku site”? No thank you.

  84. False dichotomy: we can always build more jails.

    Yes, but not in the short term.

    Furthermore, that’s a good argument in itself – is spending $35,000 (or whatever the current figure is) a year to keep someone convicted of marijuana possession imprisoned a good use of taxpayer funds?

  85. What may hurt Richardson is that a lot of people don’t know that New Mexico is part of the US. New Mexicans are quite frequently told things like “Sorry, we don’t ship to foreign countries.” In fact, *New Mexico* magazine has a regular column on such episodes, entitled “One Of Our Fifty Is Missing.”

  86. Is marijuana illegal? Why?
    Give me at least one good reason please.

  87. ten billion dollars to imprison annually, 67 billion more to enforce. And we wonder why this country teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.