Is a Medical Marijuana|License a Public Record?

     ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – A freelance reporter sued New Mexico, challenging a regulation that conceals the names and addresses of state license-holders for medical marijuana.
     Under New Mexico Department of Health regulations the names, addresses and phone numbers of license-holders and applicants are confidential, except for certain Department of Health employees, state and local regulators and law enforcement.
     Peter St. Cyr and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government challenged that rule, saying a state agency cannot exempt itself from that state’s Inspection of Public Records Act “by administrative fiat.” They sued the state Department of Health on July 9 in Bernalillo Court
     When the plaintiffs requested a list of all medical marijuana producer and distributor licenses issued since 2007, the Department of Health cited confidentiality rules, and added that some licenses are for patient’s “personal production” and use.
     The state eventually provided copies of applications, with names and contact information redacted, and without information about pending licenses.
     The plaintiffs claim they are entitled to see the records thanks to the Inspection of Public Records Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the First Amendment.
     They seek declaratory judgment, invalidation of the confidentiality rule except for personal production licenses and applicants, and costs and damages for IPRA violations.
     They are represented by Charles Purcell, with Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb.
     Neither side was available for comment after business hours Monday.

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