Despite record milestone, cultivation limits prevent adequate supply and increase costs of medicine for patients
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Nov. 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Patient enrollment in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program reached 100,021 patients as of October 31, 2020, according to data released by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). This represents an increase of 21,659 patients or 28% over October 2019 enrollment. Patients choose Ultra Health as their preferred cannabis provider 5 to 1. The operator has 21 locations statewide.
New Mexico currently has a patient penetration rate of 6% of all adults. Enrollment in the program has substantial room to grow, as neighboring Oklahoma has a patient penetration rate of 12% of adults statewide.
Despite reaching a record milestone, New Mexico’s medical cannabis industry continues to struggle to produce adequate supply to meet demand and lower the price of medicine due to arbitrary plant caps not found in the statute.
On November 1, 2018, then District Court Judge David K. Thomson ruled the previous NMDOH cap was arbitrary, capricious, and frustrated the purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. At the time, there were just 14,700 plants licensed for 62,889 patients equating to a ratio of less than ½ plant per patient.
As of October 31, 2020, the 34 producers licensed 51,950 plants in total, equating to only ½ plant per patient. In comparison, neighboring Colorado licenses a full 9 plants per enrolled medical cardholder. The medical cannabis programs in Nevada, Arizona, and Oklahoma do not mandate any plant production limitations.
“After all the effort to achieve adequate supply and Judge Thomson’s order, there has been practically zero increase in available medicine per patient,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “The program’s growth and patient demand have quickly outpaced the arbitrary increase