ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque family that promised to continue fighting for their daughter is now fighting for thousands of New Mexicans who are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program.
KRQE News 13 first featured their story in February. Now, that same Albuquerque mom, Nicole Nunez, who turned to medical marijuana after her 2-month-old baby girl was diagnosed with a rare case of epilepsy, is suing the New Mexico Department of Health. But she’s not in on the fight alone, one of the state’s medical marijuana producers is backing her up.
Ernie and Nicole Nunez’s daughter, Amylea, was just cleared for her medicinal marijuana card a few weeks back and it didn’t take long for the family to then file the lawsuit.
“I’m not stopping because it saved my daughter’s life,” Nicole said.
Amylea and her mom stayed nearly five months at the Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. Nicole spent those months looking for alternative medicines to help treat Amylea’s seizures. That alternative ended up being a controversial cannabis oil. Amylea returned back home to Albuquerque this summer after doctors noticed improvement and gave the okay. Now the family has another fight.
“I’m going to continue to keep fighting because it’s not only my daughter but I to help other patients that are having issues and unable to get their medication,” Nicole said.
Nicole, along with Ultra Health, one of the state’s medical marijuana producers with six dispensaries around New Mexico, filed the lawsuit against the state. In part, the lawsuit claims the strict plant count producers are allowed to grow cannot meet the needs of all the patients here in the state.
“We’re 600 percent short of the required medication that we would need to be able to ensure that patients would be provided with an uninterrupted adequate supply,” Ultra Health’s director of New Mexico operations, Leonard Salgado, said.
The Department of Health said it can’t comment on pending litigation but said the program has increased its number of licensed producers in the state, adding 12 this year for a total of 35. It has also increased the number of plants producers are allowed to grow from 150 to 450. There are currently 28,927 patients enrolled in the program.
Right now the Nunez family travels back and forth to Colorado to buy their hemp oil, even though Salgado said he’d be able to make enough to meet their needs if the state allowed him to.