By Jill Galus
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Thousands of New Mexicans smoke marijuana, legally, for medical purposes.
But are these same rights still upheld in jail?
A Las Cruces man said certified medical marijuana patients, like himself, should be allowed to smoke in jail, and without weed, he said, he is not going. He must report to jail to serve a four-day sentence for driving without a license.
"I'm not gonna come in here without this medication," Greg Fernandez said. "I need my medication."
He said he smokes one or two blunts a day, and never leaves home without a bag of weed.
"A lot of people judge me because of it, they think of me like a drug addict when all I'm trying to do is stop my seizures from happening," Fernandez said.
A scar along the inside of his left arm is a painful reminder of why he said he needs pot.
Fernandez said he has suffered from severe seizures since a rattlesnake bit him 15 years ago.
"I sometimes stop breathing; I turn blue and I fall on the floor," he said.
Fernandez says prescription medication has not suppressed his illness.
"I've been able to only find one thing, and that's marijuana," Fernandez said. "It has helped me out a lot and that's why I need the jail to allow me to bring it in here also."
Fernandez says the court is leaving the final decision up to the Dona Ana County Detention Center.
"My understanding is marijuana is not permitted within the facility; it's considered contraband," Jess Williams, spokesman for Dona Ana county, told ABC-7.
"The facility has a complete medical unit and we'll make sure anybody who is in there gets the medical care they need," said Williams.
ABC-7 even asked former prosecutor and now New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez her opinion on the issue.
"The defendant has broken the law and he has four mandatory days to be served in jail, and unless the court allows that to take place I am in complete agreement with that judge that says that marijuana is not allowed within that facility," she said.
Fernandez has a card issued by the state of New Mexico as proof that he can legally smoke the herbal supplement for medical reasons. He said he wishes he did not need to smoke weed but says it is the only thing that helps.
"My fear is having a seizure and dying," Fernandez said. "They don't consider it a medication and it angers me, it does bother me because I fought hard to try to get this."
He is scheduled to report to the detention facility on Friday and will find out at that time if his marijuana will also be permitted.
Fernandez said he wants to set a standard for others who encounter a similar situation.
Republished with permission from KVIA