“I’m a high school teacher and I have a very close tie to the children, our most vulnerable citizens,” said Rep, Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park when asked Monday why he introduced House Bill 593. “I’m just concerned that they’re getting the wrong message from this (law) that marijuana is actually good for you because it has a purported medicinal use. … it has real potential for abuse.”
Smith teaches science and technology at East Mountain High School, a charter school.
He pointed out that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug and still falls under the federal Controlled Substance Act. The Obama Administration in 2009 announced that it will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws.
New Mexico, which passed the law in 2007, is one of 16 states that has an active marijuana program.
Gov. Susana Martinez during last year’s campaign said she didn’t support medical marijuana. But shortly before the beginning of the session she told reporters that repealing the program was not high on her list of priorities.
“I haven’t talked to Susana Martinez, but I talked to her deputy chief of staff, Brian (Moore),” Smith said. “He said they’d support (HB593), but it’s not a priority that they’re going to waste a lot of effort on.”
A spokesman for Martinez said in an email Monday, “ … we have not reviewed the bill, but she would support repealing the medical marijuana act if it made it to her desk.”
Asked about specific document problems with the state program, Smith said. “I’m still researching some of that. I could give you anecdotal sort of things about kids abusing marijuana. The DEA mentions that marijuana is the number one reason teenagers are in rehab.”
The bill would have to clear two House committees — the Consumer & Public Affairs and the Judiciary committees –before it gets to the House floor.
Asked about his chances of getting his bill through the Legislature, Smith said, “It’s going to be tough. (Rep.) Moe Maestas is on CPAC and he’s the one who sponsored it in the House.”
Smith also noted the Senate voted 32-3 for the bill in 2007. A majority of both parties in the Senate voted for the bill.
Maestas, through a spokesman, indicated Monday he backs the program.
“Moving marijuana for medicinal purposes out of the criminal realm is a tough pill for some to swallow. The fact remains that the program is a huge success in treating a number of conditions including (post-traumatic stress syndrome) for our soldiers returning home.”
Despite the odds, Smith said, “I want to get awareness out there though. I want to raise awareness of the issue.”
via : Cibola Beacon
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