Medical marijuana program sees few rejects

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — People applying to become part of New Mexico's 6-year-old medical marijuana program are seldom rejected.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that of the 12,977 applications submitted to the New Mexico Department of Health since the program began in 2007, only 25 resulted in flat-out denials.

The newspaper also reports that some patients approved for the program may not have met the criteria to legally use medical marijuana to ease debilitating pain or illness.

A family-practice physician in Albuquerque, Dr. Nicholas Nardacci, approved 98 percent of the patients whom he evaluated for the cannabis program.

As of Aug. 1, 9,607 people were approved to use the drug under the program overseen by the Department of Health, which relies on physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners around the state to screen and determine initial eligibility of patients. The Department of Health reviews the certifications submitted and make the final decisions.

Over the past 15 months, the state Medical Board has initiated disciplinary proceedings against two providers who allegedly violated the standard of practice in certifying patients for the program.

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