New Mexico has begun issuing medical marijuana cards to residents of other states, a move that could boost New Mexico’s medicinal cannabis industry and also influence potential new laws in Arizona.
Duke Rodriguez, a Scottsdale resident and CEO of the cannabis company Ultra Health LLC, became the first Arizonan to get a New Mexico medical cannabis card on Friday after suing to enroll in the program alongside two Texan petitioners last month.
The three had demanded that New Mexico officials let them enroll after a 2019 change to that state’s medical marijuana law got rid of a residency requirement and instead allowed any “person” to register for a card.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration said the change was meant to help people with medical cards in their home states purchase pot in New Mexico, not to allow any person to register for the state’s program. Still, state District Judge Bryan Biedscheid ruled in favor of Rodriguez and the other petitioners in late August — a decision the state plans to appeal.
Rodriguez, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, said having access to medical marijuana in New Mexico will help his health. He spends about half his time in New Mexico because his company is a top cannabis distributor there, he said, but he hasn’t been able to purchase marijuana in the state until now. He said the ruling is a victory for others who will be able to access medicine when they couldn’t before.
But Rodriguez could also stand to benefit financially from growth in New Mexico’s cannabis industry, particularly if Texans with limited access to cannabis in their own state flock across the border to obtain cards in New Mexico.
Duke Rodriguez, CEO of Ultra Health, is the