- Associated Press - Thursday, July 16, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The names of state medical marijuana dispensaries and their employees will soon be made public, Gov. Susana Martinez announced.

The governor’s announcement came Wednesday, less than a week after a lawsuit was filed in an effort to strike down the regulation allowing the names of medical marijuana producers to be confidential.

The decision will only apply to producers and their employees, and not the nearly 16,000 patients certified in the state’s Medical Cannabis Program, the Albuquerque Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1f6NdHN ).

The Department of Health, which previously defended the confidentiality rule as necessary for the security of medical pot producers and patients, will now have to formally change the rule. It’s unclear how long that process would take.

“The governor has taken a close look at this issue over the past several weeks, and she does not believe this information should be confidential any longer,” Martinez spokesman Chris Sanchez said. “In a move that will provide better transparency, the governor has directed the New Mexico Department of Health to change the rule, which would now make that information public for the first time.”

A Health Department spokesman said in 2013 that the release of producer information could lead to the disclosure of production locations, and patient information could be compromised.

In the lawsuit filed last week, a freelance journalist and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government argued that the secrecy regulation wasn’t permitted under the state’s open records law.

New Mexico’s medical marijuana program was created in 2007. Patients can apply for a medical marijuana card under 22 conditions. Chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder account for the largest segment of certified users.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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