Sunset on the New Mexico desert.

Woody Hibbard

Report: New Mexico MMJ Revenues Grew 64% in 2016

According to a report by New Mexico licensed medical cannabis operator UltraHealth, the state’s medical cannabis program revenues 64 percent from 2015 to 2016, increasing by $19 million and totaling more than $50.6 million in revenue. The most recent data from the state Department of Health shows patient counts increased from 18,628 in 2015 to 32,840 in 2016 – an increase of 76 percent.

By comparison, the researchers point out, New Mexico’s chile crop was valued at $41.8 million in 2015 and the state’s craft beer industry is expected to reach $30 million in 2016.

Last year, the average price-per-gram was $11.28, with a median per-gram price of $10.94. The analysts estimate that 10,205 pounds of cannabis – or 4,628,749 grams – was sold in the state. In 2013 the New Mexico Department of Health estimated the “supply would need to be approximately 5,110,726.4 grams per year,” for a roster of 9,760 patients. In order to serve the needs of 32,840 patients, the supply would need to be over 37,877 pounds per year or 17.2 million grams, the report says. As of December 31, 2016, the top five New Mexico producers had about 209 pounds on hand, which represents just a two-week supply.

Duke Rodriguez, CEO of UltraHealth, said that while “exceeding the $50 million mark is encouraging, it is disheartening we continue to lag behind patient needs.”

“New Mexico has an opportunity to create a true medical cannabis program for other states to emulate,” he said in a press release. “Unfortunately, the industry has its hands tied due to burdensome fees and regulations that deny patients from having the most cost-effective medication in quantity and potency to suit their needs.”

Of the original 23 licensed non-profit producers in the state that operated in 2015 and 2016, 11 producers saw revenue growth of 50 percent or more, the revenue of two remained flat, and just one reported losses. The medical cannabis industry paid over $15.7 million in salaries for an effective 600 full-time equivalent employees.

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