Regional
3:50 pm
Fri July 16, 2010

Medical Marijuana Shortage

New Mexico – New Mexico has been so cautious in licensing and regulating growers under its 3-year-old medical marijuana law that the small number of providers can't grow enough, creating a shortage that has forced some patients to the street buy illegal drugs.

The dilemma could have ramifications elsewhere because the state's program has been held up as a national model, with other states looking to replicate its strong regulatory structure to avoid the chaos that has prevailed in places like California.

State Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil says he must balance patients' needs against preventing so much legal pot from being grown that it ends up in the illegal market.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.