Using medical marijuana to help veterans' mental health has been a hot topic in the last few years. Pictured: U.S. military veterans set up 1,892 American flags on the National Mall March 27, 2014 in Washington, DC to represent the number of veterans and service members who committed suicide in 2014. (Win McNamee, Getty Images)

All vets would automatically qualify for medical marijuana in New Mexico under new bill

While the bill's sponsor says the provision for veterans addresses the stigma associated with PTSD, others says it stereotypes veterans

SANTA FE, N.M. — Extensive revisions to New Mexico’s medical marijuana program that would automatically allow all military veterans to qualify as patients are advancing in the state Legislature.

The Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed the proposed legislation on Wednesday despite objections from members to the veterans’ eligibility provisions. The bill’s next stop is the full Senate.

Other proposed changes to a 2007 law legalizing medical cannabis would add treatable medical conditions including substance abuse disorder. State registry cards for approved patients would require renewal every three years instead of annually.

Senate bill sponsor Cisco McSorley of Albuquerque says the provision for veterans addresses the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Republican Senator and former Navy Rear Admiral William Payne called the provision offensive because it paints all military veterans as presumptive marijuana patients.