New Mexico’s medical cannabis advisory board on Wednesday recommended allowing licensed producers to cultivate more plants amid patient complaints about the lack of variety and the high cost of products, the Associated Press reports.
Under current rules, licensed producers can grow 1,750 plants.
Dr. Dominick Zurlo, director of the state’s medical cannabis program, argued that next year companies can request to cultivate another 500 plants each. He noted that previous plant increases have not brought prices down but could not explain why prices remain high. Zurlo said the state has enough supply for the 101,000-plus enrolled patients and that companies reported growing just over 30,000 plants as of Sept. 30, but they can grow a combined total of 51,000.
“At this current time, production is actually outstripping the sales. What we as a program and department would really like to see is prices reduced and I think the current production really is showing that those prices could have been reduced.” – Zurlo during the meeting via the AP
Ultra Health, one of New Mexico’s largest producers, has argued in public meetings and as part of court challenges that the Health Department plant limits are arbitrary.
Cannabusinesses in the state contend that the state’s fee structure adds to operating costs which keeps prices high.
The board also recommended that officials adopt changes to medical cannabis reciprocity rules – a hot-button issue in New Mexico where earlier this year lawmakers passed a bill to prohibit out-of-state-patients access to medical cannabis ID cards. Additionally, the board wants to close a loophole that allows New Mexicans to see a provider online and get medical cannabis authorization in another state.
During the meeting, the board also denied a petition to allow medical cannabis as a therapy for pets with seizure disorders.