During the 2021 Legislative Session, New Mexico legalized recreational marijuana, which will likely see a boom in the usage of the drug across the state.
According to KOB 4, “From 2014 through 2016, the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center averaged about 70 calls of people consuming too much marijuana. Those numbers doubled from 2017 through 2019.”
Marijuana-related poisonings have already been on the rise in New Mexico, and with the new law taking place in April of 2022, there will be an even greater boom.
Dr. Susan Smolinske, director of the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center, says the current rise is a combination of availability and acceptability by the public.
“We’re trying to look at our data more closely, we think that our double jump occurred when Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, and we started to see more pediatric accidental exposures,” said Dr. Smolinske.
Kids are at risk of being poisoned by the substance. “We had four severe cases last year and children aged one to two who needed a ventilator,” according to Dr. Smolinske.
Dr. Smolinske urged, “These need to be treated as medications and kept out of reach and locked up away from the kids.”
The report comes as the State of New Mexico is still formulating rules regarding the implementation of the recently passed recreational pot bill. It is unclear if concerns related to child safety will be put on the docket as items necessary to address in the rollout of the new legal marijuana law.
One marijuana proposal during the 2021 Legialture had a loophole giving minors access to the drug. “ “It is not a violation of the Cannabis Regulation Act when: a parent, a legal guardian or adult spouse of a person under twenty-one years of age serves cannabis products to that person under twenty-one years of age on real property, other than licensed premises, under the control of the parent, legal guardian, or adult spouse,” read the passage.
As marijuana becomes more readily available on the open market in New Mexico, time will tell if preventative measures by the state will help stave off poisonings.