State Marijuana Program Expands

New Mexico – Medical marijuana advocates are hailing New Mexico's decision to increase the number of licensed growers in the state.

Among other changes made to New Mexico's program Friday, the state has agreed to license eight new growers, boosting the state total to 25.

Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil also agreed to increase the number of mature plants and seedlings growers are allowed to produce from 95 to 150.

Sheila Lewis of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico calls the changes "a victory for the most seriously ill and vulnerable New Mexicans" because they address marijuana shortages.

The state Department of Health is also instituting fees to finance the effort. Producers licensed for less than a year will pay $5,000, while those licensed for more than three years will be charged $30,000.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.