By Samantha Beck
According to the Associated Press, a law that went into effect on July 2 allows New Mexican farmers to grow marijuana for medicinal uses and requires the state to oversee its production and distribution.
New Mexico isn't the first state to allow medicinial marijuana to be legally grown on state soil-eleven other states, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington-have legalized the plant.
Although Maryland doesn't have a law that protects patients using medicinal marijuana from jail, if a judge can be convince that the defendant needed it out of medical necessity, that person will be kept out of jail. A bill regarding medical marijuana was recently vetoed by Connecticut's governor.
In all 50 states, distributing and using marijuana for recreational purposes are illegal.
New Mexico's marijuana law was passed in March and signed by Gov. Richardson, who is currently running under the Democrat ticket for the presidential nomination.
Though marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes in other states, New Mexico is the only state to officially license workers and facilities to grow marijuana.
The state will have to contact its Dept. of Health by Oct. 1 to receive official licensing to give to both marijuana farmers and in-state growing facilities and issues guidelines for a distribution system.
With that in mind, New Mexico's Attorney General Gary King was contacted by the state health department to determine whether state workers could be prosecuted under federal law for running a medicinal marijuana registry and licensing marijuana farmers and facilities.
Proceeding with care, the health department will be taking the whole process step by step as no other state that has legalized medicinal marijuana is involved in the production of it.
The main reason for legalizing the other otherwise illegal drug is to provide a safe way for ill patient to get their supply, one that doesn't involve drug dealers or growing their own.
Until New Mexico has finalized their plans for producing marijuana, patients in need of the drug must get themselves. Also, the state will start collecting applications from patients whose doctors sign off on the marijuana program.
Once approved, the patients or their caretakers will receive a card certifying that they are allowed to carry up to six ounces on their persons and have four mature plants and three immature seedlings. The health department says that's enough for a three-month supply.
The new law allows the use of marijuana to quell symptoms associated with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and HIV-AIDS