Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act

Friday, February 2, 2007

With New Mexico’s legislative session in full gear, the Drug Policy Alliance Network is working on five different drug policy bills that are rooted in compassion and science. The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, a medical marijuana bill, passed its first committee hearing yesterday.

The hearing took place before the Senate Public Affairs Committee, which unanimously passed the bill. If the bill maintains its current momentum, this could be the third year in a row for Senate approval of medical marijuana legislation.

The sticking point for medical marijuana in New Mexico in past years has been the House, where the legislative session ended in both 2005 and 2006 without a floor vote. Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico director Reena Szczepanski is optimistic about the bill’s prospects this year. “I am confident that our elected officials see that this is an important issue for New Mexicans,” she said. “I sincerely hope that they realize that the sick and dying should not have to wait any longer for relief.”

Other reform legislation is also off to a promising start in the legislature. A treatment bill and an overdose prevention bill both unanimously passed their committee hearings yesterday.
Another bill, to improve Medicaid coverage of substance abuse treatment, is being heard today before the Senate Public Affairs Committee. This legislation is sorely needed because New Mexico has one of the highest rates of unmet treatment needs for adults and teens in the country.

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