By Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE — The names of licensed nonprofit medical marijuana producers and those seeking licenses from the state will become public under new rules taking effect next week, the New Mexico Department of Health announced Monday.
The confidentiality surrounding producers was challenged last year in a lawsuit filed by freelance journalist Peter St. Cyr and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. They argued the health department was violating public records law by keeping producers’ names secret.
The agency has been reworking the rules since July, when Gov. Susana Martinez ordered officials to make the information public in the interest of transparency.
A public hearing was held in January and a hearing officer delivered the final recommendation to the department earlier this month.
The agency on Monday outlined details of the new rules on its website, saying the changes will take effect next Monday after being published in the state register.
The changes in confidentiality apply only to producers and producer applicants, not the more than 21,000 patients certified in the state Medical Cannabis Program.
The department plans to post the producer information it gives patients on its website, said agency spokesman Kenny Vigil.
There will be some information that the department will not release, including the home addresses and personal phone numbers of employees and board members, Social Security numbers, income tax returns and any information that identifies a person as a qualified patient enrolled in the medical marijuana program.
There are 35 licensed producers in the state, including 12 that were selected for licensure last year.
The revamped rules will also allow couriers to deliver from producers to manufacturers and laboratories. They were previously limited to ferrying items just between producers and patients.