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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Medical Marijuana User Demands Delivery

SANTA FE, N.M. (CN) - A medical marijuana patient sued the New Mexico Department of Health for refusing to deliver medical cannabis to patients.

Raymundo Marrufo lives in Deming, but has to drive 60 miles to Las Cruces to pick up his prescribed marijuana.

Marrufo sued the Border Patrol in Federal Court on Nov. 20 last year, claiming it violates the Rohrabacher Amendment, a federal law that precludes any federal agency from using federal funds to enforce any laws that interfere with state medical marijuana laws.

In both lawsuits, he claims that when he passes through a Border Patrol checkpoint after picking up his pot, he is asked, "Are you carrying any illegal drugs?"

By answering 'Yes," he says, he exposes himself to charges of drug smuggling, and by answering "No," he could be accused of lying to a federal agent.

Marrufo's only option for avoiding this situation, according to Monday lawsuit in state court, is to pay a delivery driver $40 to meet him in a store or restaurant parking lot, which would expose both of them to dangerous conditions and possible legal repercussions.

Marrufo says the state's Department of Health could have prevented this in its implementation of its medical marijuana program.

"All the N.M. Dep't of Health needed to do here was to look at a map, and then ensure that in regions where it chose not to license nonprofit dispensaries, there would be safe, quality delivery service to patients," Marrufo says in the new complaint.

Neither he nor the Department of Health could be reached for comment after business hours Tuesday.

Marrufo seeks damages for negligence, breach of confidentiality and violation of due process, and an injunction forcing the state to provide safe and private delivery of medical cannabis to patients.

He is represented by Jason Flores-Williams of Denver, who told Courthouse News, "There are people in this country who fear progress. It is our job to use the Constitution to minimize their impact."

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