New Mexico health officials on Thursday expanded the list of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program to include opioid use disorder and several others, reports the Associated Press.
In addition to adding opioid use disorder, officials added Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder and three degenerative neurological disorders.
First-year Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), a former state health secretary, campaigned on a pledge to open up the medical marijuana program to people struggling with opioid use and addiction after the previous administration rejected petitions for the change.
Lujan Grisham said Thursday’s decision was long overdue.
“We need to explore and pursue every available means of responding to the health and wellness needs of our neighbors here in New Mexico,” the governor said. “Compassion must guide our decision making.”
In 2017, New Mexico had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths west of Tennessee, at 24.8 per 100,000 people. The mortality rate has leveled off as New Mexico adopted a series of pioneering policies aimed at combating opioid addiction.
At least eight other states — from Maine to California — along with Washington, D.C., already recognize opioid dependency as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana use, either explicitly or within