First medical marijuana producer in NM approved

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) _ The state Department of Health has licensed a nonprofit business to produce medical marijuana.

It's the first business approved under a state program that allows patients with specified conditions to have and use small amounts of marijuana.

The department won't release the name of the business or where it is located, however. Department spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer says that's to ensure that the supply is safe and that patients visiting the producer would not be put in jeopardy.

She also says no one challenged the secrecy aspect in public hearings over regulations the department drew up to implement the medical cannabis program that went into effect in July 2007.

The Health Department will tell patients how to contact the producer. Patient privacy requirements prevents the department from giving patient information to the producer.