Originally published on KOAT.com on December 7th, 2022
New Mexico’s Department of Health has approved anxiety disorder as a qualifying condition for its medical cannabis program.
“By adding this [anxiety disorder] to the list of qualified conditions, we expand that toolbox available to the medical providers and most especially to the patients to be able to treat their condition,” said Dr. Dominick Zurlo, the director of the Medical Cannabis Division for the New Mexico Department of Health.
“Patients who are purchasing medical cannabis do not need to pay the tax that is currently on recreational cannabis, which is approximately 20%.”
Jacob Candelaria, a cannabis attorney and medical cannabis user, thinks this decision, is too little, too late.
“The sad reality is that more and more low-income New Mexicans who are dealing with debilitating health conditions, including psychological conditions are just not able to afford their medicine,” Candelaria said. “If you don’t have the money doesn’t really matter that marginal cost of tax.”
Candelaria says cannabis helped him through the traumas of living through rape and childhood abuse. He uses cannabis as a tool to lead a happy life.
“Now cannabis was not the reason for that,” he said. “But did it help me in dealing with those deep dark sources of pain and trauma and provide me some relief as I was going through that? One-hundred percent.
The state hopes the tax exemption and the ability to work directly with doctors will drive the 1 in 4 New Mexicans who experience anxiety, to enroll in the medical cannabis program.
Candelaria thinks otherwise.
“It doesn’t matter if you have a doctor who prescribed you something and who is there to manage you if you cannot afford the medication to begin with,” Candelaria said.