Recreational cannabis sales start in New Mexico in just a couple of days. How will that impact medical cannabis patients?
Where some other states have gone with adult-use cannabis, New Mexico is following. But one of the problems experienced elsewhere after legal recreational marijuana hits retail stores is supply of medical cannabis can be severely impacted as manufacturers switch gears.
The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) says that won’t be this state’s experience, stating it has ensured a stable, long-term supply of medical cannabis will continue to be available for patients.
Among the steps taken in New Mexico is a requirement for the local industry to reserve 20% of their products for patients, plus boosting the amount of medical cannabis registered patients may buy at one time – from 8 ounces to 15 ounces every 90 days. And participation in the program doesn’t exclude patients from adult-use purchases.
“As part of our commitment to improving the quality of life for our patients, we continue to work closely with the Cannabis Control Division to ensure an adequate, safe, long term and stable supply of product for all of those enrolled in the Medical Cannabis Program,” said Program Director, Dr. Dominick Zurlo.
The state’s patients do have some ground for being edgy about availability – which has been a problem in the past; particularly during the program’s early days.
The state’s Medical Cannabis Program was created under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. According to statistics current as at the end of February, 131,931 residents of the state were enrolled in the program. The most common qualifying condition used to access the program is Post-traumatic stress disorder followed by severe chronic pain and cancer.
The DOH announcement also notes the state’s Public Health and Safety Advisory Committee is looking into issues of health and safety with cannabis use during the transition from being a medical program only to the expansion into adult-use. This effort, which is occurring in conjunction with the Medical Cannabis Program, will help authorities evaluate the impact of cannabis in the community.
Further information on New Mexico’s medical cannabis program can be found here.