Friday, August 28, 2009

Medical Marijuana Patient Can Smoke, Not Grow in New Mexico

Pot patient told to smoke, not grow

Reporter: Alex Tomlin
Web Producer: Bill Diven

August 27, 2009

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque woman says she's doesn't know what
to do now that police have seized her medical marijuana plants.

She has a permit to possess the drug, but not grow it.

"I'm devastated." Alana Bonaccorsi told News 13. "I am
anorexic, and I only have a little bit at night to help me eat."

She told KRQE News 13 she thought she could grow it too. But Wednesday
officers ripped up her plants after she called to report that some
teenagers tried to steal the plants from her backyard.

"I don't have the money to buy it, and I thought I was able to grow
my own," Bonaccoris said.

But she doesn't have a grower's permit. Now investigators are trying to
determine if she should be charged.

Vashti Lowe with the district attorney's office said this isn't a
typical drug case.

"We are going to look at the law very carefully," Lowe said. "We are
going to prosecute those people who are in violation of the law and
attempt to safeguard the rights of those individuals who have legitimate
illnesses and a valid license to either possess or grow marijuana."

Debra Busemeyer with the state Department of Health said the number of
medical marijuana permits has increased in the last few months.

"We have 540 active patients in our program, and of those a little
over a 100 have a license to produce for themselves," she said. Patients
are informed from the beginning of the limits of their permits, she

The permits limit possession to no more than 6 ounces, and growers can
only have 12 plants.

For those not allowed to grown their own, there is a non-profit group
permitted to distribute in the state. But Bonaccorsi said it's too
expensive for her.

"Seven grams will be close to $90, and there's 28 grams in an
ounce." Bonaccorsi said.

The health department said it is fairly easy to upgrade someone with a
user's permit to allow them to grow marijuana. The DOH said it's
happy to help with that.

The district attorney's office said it expects review Bonaccorsi's case
in the next few weeks.

Growing marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor while growing enough
for distribution can draw 18 months in jail.

http://www.krqe. com/dpp/news/ health/health_ krqe_albuquerque _pot_patient_ \
told_to_smoke_ not_grow_ 200908272235

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