Lawsuit against NM seeks marijuana license

Lawsuit against NM seeks marijuana license

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A Santa Fe man is suing New Mexico health officials to address what he says is a severe medical marijuana shortage.

The Albuquerque Journal reports Mark Springer filed a lawsuit Monday against the state Department of Health.

In the suit, filed in state District Court, Springer, who owns Medical Marijuana Inc., requests that the department reopen the application period for eligible marijuana growers and permit them to grow more of the plant.

Brian Egolf, Springer’s attorney, says his client has met all the requirements for a license but has been rejected with no explanation.

“Mark has spent a lot of time and effort to get the department to talk to him and they keep telling him ‘We’re not going to discuss this with you,’” Egolf said. “This was Mark’s last resort.”

Springer, who has been trying for five years to get licensed, says the rigid application process is causing a hardship for patients who are in pain. He argues in the suit that the number of patients who qualify for medicinal marijuana jumped by 10 percent in 2013. According to him, the number of people in need has gone from 3,000 to 10,000. Furthermore, the state is obligated to make sure there is an adequate supply to treat qualified patients under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, Springer said.

Department of Health spokesman Kenny Vigil said Friday the agency was not aware of the lawsuit.

Last year, the department granted 23 licenses for new growers or those renewing licenses. The criteria to get one include filling out an application that touches on eight categories, including criminal history and distribution methods. The growers’ licenses last for a year and enact a limit of 150 mature plants.

Egolf said the court could possibly give a writ ordering representatives of the Department of Health to appear in court and address their denial of a license.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal

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