A new class-action lawsuit in the state of New Mexico argues that certain patients are eligible to have their cannabis covered by their health insurance, including Medicaid.

The New Mexico Department of Health reported 135,388 patients were enrolled in the medical cannabis program as of May, of whom 55 percent are seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder as their primary qualifying condition.

A group of medical cannabis patients, including a state legislator, joined the state’s largest medical cannabis producer and retailer in filing a complaint in New Mexico’s 2nd Judicial District, seeking damages and a declaration by the court that medical cannabis is a behavioral health service that must be fully covered by insurers without copays, deductibles or coinsurance.

Plaintiffs include state Sen. Jacob Candelaria, an independent state legislator from Albuquerque, who is a medical cannabis patient and an attorney who has been involved in cannabis litigation previously.

Most of the plaintiffs list PTSD as their primary qualifying condition under the state’s medical cannabis program, with some stating they have other conditions as well.

The complaint rests its claim on a New Mexico statute enacted in 2021 that barred insurance companies from imposing cost-sharing for behavior health services covered by individual or group health plans.

The bill was sponsored by Democratic state Sens. Martin Hickey of Albuquerque and Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces.

Ultra Health, a producer of medical and non-medical cannabis products with dispensaries throughout New Mexico, is the single producer among the plaintiffs.

CEO and president, Duke Rodriguez, said, “The idea of health insurance plans paying for medical cannabis may seem like an impossible dream, but all the foundational elements have already fallen into place.”

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