New Mexico adopts new rules for medical marijuana producers

FILE - In this June 17, 2015 file photo, marijuana plants grow at LifeLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn. Minnesota health officials will allow residents with chronic pain to buy medical marijuana starting in August, they announced Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in a long-awaited decision that could expand enrollment in the state's struggling program by thousands of patients. (AP Photo/Jim Mone,File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Department of Health says the names of licensed medical marijuana producers in the state will become public under new rules taking effect next week.

The confidentiality surrounding producers was challenged last year in a lawsuit filed by freelance journalist Peter St. Cyr and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

They argued the Health Department was violating public records law by keeping producers’ names secret.

The agency had previously defended the confidentiality rules as necessary for the security of producers and patients, but Gov. Susana Martinez in July ordered officials to revisit the regulations.

The changes apply only to producers and producer applicants, not the more than 21,000 patients certified in the state Medical Cannabis Program.

The agency plans to publish the new rules in the state register next Monday.

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