Senate passed bill to increase plant count, special session ended with no House vote
(Albuquerque) – Patients in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program reached 30,877 at the end of the third calendar quarter, a 4,309 increase from June 30, 2016. This increase is twice the amount of patients that were added to the program in the same quarter in 2015. Additionally, the program has seen a 76 percent patient growth increase over the past year.
Bernalillo and Santa Fe remain the two largest counties by patient population with 11,396 and 4,070 enrolled patients, respectively. Every county, excluding Harding and Union counties, experienced a double-digit increase in patients in the third calendar quarter. Growth continues to accelerate particularly in the southern and southeastern parts of New Mexico including Dona Ana, Lea, Chaves, Grant and Eddy counties. Nearly 3,200 patients are living in rural counties without a full time dispensary.
“The gap between the growing number of patients and the amount of available medical grade cannabis is widening,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®.
The Medical Cannabis Program grew by nearly 9,000 patients over the last six months alone and the trend is projected to continue. Total patients are expected to reach 45,397 by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2017.
The percentage of personal growers continues to decline and reached its lowest reported level to date. The current percentage of licensed home growers is currently 20.6 percent and was nearly 40 percent of patients in 2012.
“While the Medical Cannabis Program is growing, there is still more to be done to better serve patients including improving patient access, ensuring an adequate supply to meet every individual patient’s need and enhancing quality while making medicine more affordable for all qualified New Mexicans,” said Rodriguez. “No patient should have to limit or compromise their health and well being.”
Twenty-five out of the 35 total producers have licensed 450 plants through July 2017. A bipartisan bill successfully passed the Senate 29-13 to raise the plant count to over 4,500 plants per licensed provider. The bill was not heard in the House of Representatives.