Medical marijuana: Governor calls bill ‘right thing to do’

Presidential candidate Bill Richardson has signed a medical marijuana bill:

Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson, poised to sign a bill making New Mexico the 12th state to legalize medical marijuana, said Thursday that he realizes his action could become an issue in the presidential race.

“So what if it’s risky? It’s the right thing to do,” said Richardson, one of the candidates in the crowded 2008 field. “What we’re talking about is 160 people in deep pain. It only affects them.”

The legislation would create a program under which some patients — with a doctor’s recommendation — could use marijuana provided by the state Health Department. Lawmakers approved the bill Wednesday. The governor is expected to sign it in the next few weeks.