Hearing officer: Delay medical pot rule changes

From the Santa Fe New Mexican - By Phaedra Haywood, The New Mexican - A hearing officer hired to make recommendations on proposed changes to the state’s Medical Cannabis Program has advised the Department of Health to hold off on implementing the changes.
      After listening to comments from about 140 people and reviewing about 1,000 written comments — most of which were critical of the changes — hearing officer Susan Hapka recommended the department not alter the rules until the Medical Cannabis Program’s Medical Advisory Board has met and issued recommendations and another public hearing is held.
      More than 240 people attended a July 14 hearing on the proposals, which include increasing fees for patients and nonprofit producers, adding more testing of medical marijuana and reducing the number of plants patients can grow. Many who spoke said the proposed new regulations would unfairly limit patient access to legally grown marijuana.
      About 11,200 patients — each with one or more of 16 qualifying conditions — are enrolled in the program. More