New Mexico Governor Expanding Medical Cannabis Program to Include Opioid Dependency

Newly elected Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced this week that she’s directing her health officials to add opioid dependecy as a qualifying medical cannabis condition.

The directive allows those with opioid dependency to legally purchase, possess and use medical cannabis if they receive a recommendation from a physician, and register with the state. The move represents a strong departure from the position of former the previous governor, Susanna Martinez (R), who vetoed legislation to expand medical marijuana access to those with opioid-related dependency.

Once the move takes effect, New Mexico will join several other states, including New Jersey, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania which allow cannabis to be used medically for those who are addicted to opioids.

Studies have repeatedly shown that cannabis use is associated with greater retention rates in patients seeking treatment for opioid dependence and that, in some cases, it reduces opioid-related cravings.

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Emily Watkins is a PhD student majoring in public policy. Emily has been a freelance editor for multiple websites, and has spent hundreds of hours volunteering to help legalize marijuana. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, and can be reached at