ALBUQUERQUE — A panel of doctors and other health care professionals on Monday recommended increasing the amount of marijuana that can be purchased by participants in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. But the debate over whether the state has an adequate supply has yet to be settled.
The state Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted in favor of nearly doubling the patient purchase limit to 15 ounces over 90 days after hearing from supporters that New Mexico has trailed other states when it comes to the accessibility of medical marijuana. Producers and patients noted the higher limit would at least put New Mexico on par with Nevada and Arizona but that many other states allow for patients to buy significantly more.
It will be up to the state health secretary to make a final decision on the recommendation.
The petition seeking the higher purchase limits comes as participation in the program has ballooned, even amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
State officials reported Monday that just over 100,000 people now have medical cannabis cards, marking a nearly 30 percent increase over the past year. That total doesn’t include those patients with cards from programs in other states who are allowed to purchase from New Mexico producers, the officials said.
The number of participants is expected to continue growing steadily. It could get an added boost if the panel’s recommendations for expanding the list of qualifying conditions to include anxiety, attention deficient disorders, Tourette’s and some substance abuse disorders are approved by the health secretary.
The board has made similar recommendations in the past, only to have them rejected. With new leadership at the Department of Health coming on board, it’s unclear how soon a final decision could be made.