When medical marijuana is legal statewide but illegal under federal law, things get tricky for patients.
Once a week, 50-year-old Raymundo Marrufo drives 22 miles from Deming, New Mexico to the state’s second largest city, Las Cruces. It’s the medical marijuana dispensary that brings him there, the closest place to his home where he can fill a prescription for cannabis to treat PTSD.
The drive isn’t bad, a straight shot down a desert highway in Southwest New Mexico, but it lands him in the middle of a Border Patrol checkpoint. There he waits in a line full of cars to be questioned. Some of the ones he’s asked (“Do you have proof of citizenship?”) are easy. Others, like this one, are not: “Do you have any illegal drugs?”
It’s a standard question from a Border Patrol agent, a key part of their effort to secure the nation’s borders. But for those in possession of a drug that’s legal in the state but illegal under federal law, it’s one with no right answer.