Should New Mexicans automatically qualify for a medical marijuana card when they turn 65? That was the debate Friday at a State Health Department hearing before the state rejected the idea.

At the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board meeting, New Mexicans can petition changes in the conditions that qualify for medical cannabis. Medical marijuana users in New Mexico have to be diagnosed with certain conditions for the treatment—everything from cancer and Parkinson’s disease to PTSD. 

For Michael Robbins, he wants to make senior citizens automatically qualify for the program.

“The idea for this petition is that they will have a number of conditions that are degenerative, they’re not going to get better,” said Robbins.

In Robbins’ plea, he said people 65 and older are on the “downside of life” with medical problems are happening more frequently.

“They should have easier access to obtain a medical card other than having to go through the process of finding doctors, getting tested, you know, having transportation, having the funds to do that,” said Robbins.

Robbins’ petition was shot down quickly, however.

“I’m not sure if I can vote for this at this time without more evidence behind it,” said a board member.

Board members said some of the pains and conditions senior citizens face are already qualified conditions for the program, and that the board has reservations about allowing seniors to skip seeing a doctor to get marijuana.

The board rejected the petition by a 4-0 vote.

“As much as I salute this petition being brought forward right now, I think the timing is premature,” said another board member.

Right now, New Mexicans have to get a doctor’s approval to get a medical marijuana card. Patients also have to see a doctor every year to renew it.