CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) - A mix-up that permitted a Carlsbad man to grow nearly 100 potplants in his backyard now has health officials changing how theyissue licenses under the state's medical-marijuana program.
“They had made a mistake and sent me the wronglicense,” Randy Mazur told KRQE News 13.
Mazur, who legally uses marijuana to treat pain, had been issuedthe program’s nonprofit producer license. That license allowsa grower to raise up to 95 mature pot plants to distribute amongother patients registered with the program.
Earlier this year Mazur had between 40 and 50 plants growingbehind his house.
Someone grew suspicious and called police. Eventually members ofthe local drug task force showed up to investigate.
Mazur told News 13 he was cleared after showing officers hisnonprofit producer license. That wasn't the end of it, however, asthe attention sparked by the police presence led to otherproblems.
“People started hopping my fence and ripping (the plants)off right and left,” Mazur said.
Mazur then voluntarily surrendered the plants to the drug taskforce and contacted the New Mexico Department of Health.
That’s when he learned he had the wrong marijuanalicense.
“It’s unfortunate that we had this onemistake,” DOH spokesperson Deborah Busemeyer said.“We’re confident we can continue to keep this programstrong for our patients.”
It turned out Mazur was supposed to receive only a statepersonal-production license, which limits a patient to just fourmature plants strictly for their own use.
According to state health officials it was a simple mistakebased on the two different licenses looking so much alike. The onlyreal difference was a sentence clarifying how many pot plants wereallowed.
Whoever issued Mazur the wrong license printed his name on thewrong certificate.
“That’s when we took a closer look at our cards andmade sure that we changed them so it can’t happenagain,” Busemeyer said.
The two licenses now have very different looks with new layoutsthat make it very clear which is which.
“We do recognize that it was a clerical error,”Busemeyer said. “It was unfortunate, and we’re makingsure that it won’t happen again.”
The state law that allows medical marijuana use passed in2007.
According to DOH figures the number of registered patients hasmore than tripled over the last several months to more than 800people.
There are still just a handful of licenses issued to nonprofitproducers. Mazur, who founded the nonprofit group “Veggies,Inc.,” would like to be one of them.
“I can out-produce anybody in the state, handsdown,” Mazur said. “That’s what I do. I grow.
"God gave me the gift.”
His application is still pending with the health department.
In the meantime he’s growing on a much smaller scale underhis personal-production license.
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