In a development that could boost the medical marijuana market in New Mexico, a district court judge ordered the state to begin issuing cards to qualified MMJ patients regardless of where they live.

The crux of the issue, according to NM Political Report, is a change in the state’s medical cannabis law that generically defines a qualified patient as a “person,” while the past definition specifically stated that an individual must be a New Mexico resident.

Here are the basics of the situation:

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  • New Mexico regulators argue the law wasn’t intended to allow nonresidents to participate in the state’s MMJ program and said they would respond to the judge’s decision.
  • The bill’s sponsor said the language originally was intended to open up the program to reciprocity – meaning qualified patients from other states with legal MMJ programs.
  • The judge indicated he believed the law also is intended to expand the program to individuals who aren’t New Mexico residents but spend a great deal of time in the state, such as college students or visiting scientists.
  • The litigation was initiated by nonresidents.