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New Mexico Group Protests Use of ‘Pharmaceutical’ by Local Dispensary

A local anti-drug group in New Mexico is protesting the use of the word “pharmaceutical” by a cannabis dispensary in Carlsbad, NM.

As first reported by the Carlsbad Current-Argus, the Carlsbad Anti-Drug/Gang Coalition wrote a letter to the New Mexico Medical Board and New Mexico Board of Pharmacy, objecting to the use of the label “pharmaceutical” by cannabis dispensaries in the state.

In the letter, the coalition reminded the Medical Board that the group has a long history of opposing the use of marijuana as a medical substance or for recreational use, while also mentioning that they cannot think of any controlled substance that has dual use.

The coalition’s main concern though, was the appearance of the word “pharmaceutical” in the name of licensed dispensaries around the state.

“Our first concern is the use of the word “Pharmaceuticals” in the name of NM Dept. of Health licensed dispensary, in the state of New Mexico. As you are no doubt aware, marijuana is the most widely abused illicit drug in the nation. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 52% of adolescent treatment cases in 2003 were for marijuana abuse.”

They would go on to add:

“The fact that these dispensaries can use a term, which makes them equal to legal Pharmacies, can be confusing to young people of the potential harm from marijuana use. All the while, pharmacies are strictly prohibited from distribution of a schedule 1 narcotic. We strongly feel they should be prohibited from using terms that may mislead or appear to be Pharmacies.”

The coalition also questioned how one would go about becoming trained to be a medical marijuana pharmacist.

“Our second concern is that these NM Dept. of Health Licensed dispensaries, we found no qualifications, as there are for Pharmacist, for a person conducting the consultation on use, dosage, etc. Where does one get trained to be a Medical Marijuana pharmacist?”

Woody Houghton, former member of the board and author of the letter, said the letter was a result of a concern expressed by a citizen of Carlsbad, where there is a single dispensary—Pecos Valley Pharmaceuticals—that uses the word in its name.

“I did research to see if there were any regulations that prevented them from using the word pharmacy,” Houghton told the Current-Argus. “I also came across a number of other concerns in letters written in other states.”

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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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