Richardson Poised to Become First Presidential Candidate to Sign a Medical Marijuana Law; New Mexico on the Verge of Becoming 12th State to Legalize Use of Medical Cannabis <br>
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is expected to sign a medical marijuana bill into law on during a signing ceremony on Monday, April 2, according to a statement released by his office.
The bill would allow qualified patients suffering from certain illnesses, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy, to use medical cannabis for relief of their symptoms. Once signed, New Mexico will become the twelfth state to endorse the use of medical cannabis and only the fourth state Legislature to enact such a measure.
Once Richardson signs the bill, he will become the first presidential candidate to have supported medical marijuana by signing it into law. Richardson has consistently voiced his strong support for the bill and was a major proponent in ensuring its passage.
"By signing this bill, Gov. Richardson is showing his compassion for seriously ill people, and he is also reflecting the will of the majority of New Mexicans and the American people," said Reena Szczepanski, director of the Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico. "I hope that other elected officials take note: Americans will stand behind those that believe in compassion and mercy for our most vulnerable, our sick and dying patients struggling for relief."
The hallmark of New Mexico's medical marijuana bill is its strict controls and safeguards to prevent abuse. It will be one of the most tightly regulated programs in the country. The State Department of Health will develop the program's rules and regulations and also regulate licensed producers, ensuring that security and safety issues are addressed.
Following the New Mexico Senate's passage of SB523 by 32-3, the New Mexico House of Representatives passed the SB 523 by a 36-31 margin during the 2007 legislative session.