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New Mexico Denies Pot to PTSD Patients

(CN) - New Mexico unfairly denies post-traumatic stress disorder patients access to medical marijuana, a Santa Fe psychiatrist claims in court.

Dr. Carola Kieve sued the New Mexico Department of Health and the state's Medical Cannabis Advisory Board Santa Fe County Court.

"The defendants have imposed conditions and requirements that are not authorized by law and are outside the defendants' statutory authority," the 10-page complaint states.

"Furthermore, the defendants have employed as a director of the [New Mexico Medical Cannabis] Program a physician who is irreparably conflicted in the performance of his duties and whose employment and official decisions and actions are in violation of the New Mexico Governmental Conduct Act because of his conflict of interest."

Kieve claims Dr. Steven Rosenberg - part-time executive director of the board - is illegally withholding medical marijuana from patients unless their physicians submit detailed proof why other commercially available drugs failed to treat the disorder.

Rosenberg is not named as an individual defendant.

Kieve claims one of her patient's applications patients was rejected and she has been informed that more applications will be subjected to the same requirement.

"Dr. Kieve stated that such information would not be provided because it did not exist; in Dr. Kieve's medical opinion there were no commercial pharmaceuticals that would have been appropriate for the patient and therefore none had been attempted," the complaint states.

"Dr. Kieve further stated that it was inappropriate for Dr. Rosenberg to demand such information in a PTSD case because such information was not demanded by him or the defendants to support application for the treatment of other debilitating diseases."

Kieve claims that Rosenberg went as far as threaten to take action against her medical license due to her refusal to submit the records.

Kieve claims that information is not required because PTSD is not listed under conditions that require such information under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act of 1978, the law that created the medical marijuana program in New Mexico.

The law does not require submission of medical records with an application and there is no requirement that other treatments be attempted prior to granting of a medical marijuana license, the complaint states.

Rosenberg runs Albuquerque Integrated Medicine, a private clinic which, among other things, evaluates patient eligibility for the medical marijuana usage.

Kieve claims that Rosenberg has a conflict of interest, as he "performs essentially the same function in his private practice as well as in his state-employee position."

"Dr. Rosenberg is routinely placed in a position of approving or denying applications by his economic competitors, namely other physicians whose patients did not choose Dr. Rosenberg for certification," the complaint states. "The GCA states that a state employee 'shall be disqualified from engaging in any official act directly affecting the public officer's of employee's financial interest.'"

The board did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Kieve seeks declaratory judgment invalidating the rules and finding violations under the New Mexico Government Conduct Act regarding the hiring of Rosenberg.

She is represented by Brian Egold with Egold Ferlic in Santa Fe.

Follow @davejourno
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