FARMINGTON, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico man with a Colorado medical marijuana card was pulled over and arrested near Farmington for having pot. He wants to know why and the deputy who arrested him is now the subject of an internal investigation.
“I don’t get why I was brought to jail over a petty misdemeanor that according to everything I’m reading was legal to begin with,” said Vinny Amato.
While driving back from Colorado earlier this month Amato was pulled over for speeding in San Juan County.
“When I got pulled over, it was like, have you been smoking tonight? And I was like no. And he was like that’s bulls*** I smell it, and I was like well I’m not breaking any laws, New Mexico reciprocates, and the cop was like I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Amato said.
He has as a Colorado medical marijuana card.
“I literally use it because I have a spinal cord injury that makes my nervous system start shaking, like I actually need it,” he said.
The Farmington man says he purchased the marijuana in Colorado because it’s cheaper there. He also says he had about 112 grams on him, which is less than the legal limit of 230 for medical marijuana patients.
“It wasn’t any big quantity or anything, it was maybe a months worth of marijuana and it’s all personal use,” he said.
He says the officer began searching his car and then arrested him for possession. According to New Mexico medical cannabis law, patients with cards in other states can possess marijuana here.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office says Amato’s complaint is now with internal affairs, and their administrators are reviewing it. A spokesperson says there could have been confusion because New Mexico didn’t use to have reciprocity for out of state cards, but says the law changed last year.
“It seems like nobody’s aware of the law. If there’s that much grey area for them being misinformed, why am I taking the brunt end of it,” Amato said.
Amato was let out of jail, but one of his conditions of release is that he can’t do drugs which he says includes medical marijuana. The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office says they are in touch with Amato and have let him know they are investigating what happened.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the Department of Health Thursday morning, they just got back to us, saying the issue here may, not that he possessed marijuana but transported it across state lines, which according to them is not allowed.
When reading the medical marijuana law that is not explicitly explained.