NM: Health Department Can Clear Medical Marijuana Backlog


Albuquerque, N.M. – New Mexico’s state auditor is investigating the state Department of Health for making chronically-ill patients wait for their medical marijuana cards.

Health officials admit that for the last several months, people have waited up to 60 days for their cards. By law, they’re supposed to process those within half that time.

The department has said they lack the staff to keep up with applications, but State Auditor Tim Keller said he finds that hard to believe.

Keller said after reviewing the department’s finances, it appears they have more than enough money to hire all the employees they need.

“If it’s not fixed, basically the department is just going to be subject to lawsuits, and all it takes is a couple of these patients to be able to demonstrate, you know, actual medical harm because they didn’t get their card in time, and then the state is going to be out a lot of money,” he said.

The Department of Health sent Action 7 News a statement.

“It was difficult to predict the program’s budget. Therefore we had to move cautiously with hiring,” spokesperson David Morgan said. “We will continue to monitor the growth in the program and make adjustments as necessary.”

Morgan said the department has hired people over the last several weeks, but the average wait time for the card is still 43 days.

Right now, there is close to 30,000 New Mexicans who depend on the department for their medical marijuana.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Health Department Can Clear Medical Marijuana Backlog
Author: Megan Cruz
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Photo Credit: Sarah L. Voison
Website: KOAT 7