By Morgan Lee, Associated Press.
(AP) — State-commissioned surveys of New Mexico medical cannabis producers and patients show that many dispensaries are encountering difficulties in meeting demands for marijuana and related products.
The Department of Health commissioned the surveys as it considers changing its limits on medical marijuana cultivation and per-patient consumption.
In results obtained Tuesday, 55% of producers said they have been unable to keep pace with patient demand for marijuana and related products.
Patient enrollment is surging in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program for health ailments such as cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, with a 39% jump in participation between March 2018 and March 2019. Active patients now number more than 72,000.
Of the patients surveyed, about one in four said they were unable to purchase cannabis within the past 90 days because it was out of stock. Shortages were more pronounced in eastern New Mexico, with about four in 10 patients citing shortages.
The Health Department is crafting a new rule to determine limits on medical marijuana production after a lawsuit knocked down the previous 450-plant cap per producer.
A state district court judge ruled in November that the production limit had interfered with the beneficial use of marijuana by patients, siding with seller Ultra Health and the mother of child who is reliant on cannabis oil to treat a rare form of epilepsy.
Ultra Health, New Mexico’s largest seller, says medical cannabis sales are growing at a much slower rate than enrollment, which is up by 16% between March 2018 and March 2019.
The company says consumers appear to be turning to the illicit market or supplies from Colorado’s recreational market. Health Department spokesman David Morgan declined to comment on the assertion.
AP Photo Sean Murphy