New Mexico panel supports raising medical marijuana purchase limits

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New Mexico’s medical marijuana advisory board recommended that purchase limits be nearly doubled to 15 ounces over 90 days, a move that likely would boost sales in the fast-growing program.

The board on Monday also recommended expanding the list of qualifying conditions to include anxiety, attention deficit orders, Tourette’s syndrome and some substance-abuse disorders, according to the Associated Press.

Such an expansion also would bolster sales, but approval of that recommendation is seen as less likely.

Meanwhile, the CEO of New Mexico’s leading medical cannabis operator complained that the state still hasn’t adequately addressed supply and product pricing issues caused by an “archaic” plant limit.

The state health secretary will make the final decision on the advisory board’s recommendations. In the past, state health officials have been resistant to expanding qualifying conditions for medical cannabis.

The panel’s vote came after hearing complaints that New Mexico lags behind other states in providing patients with adequate access to medical cannabis.

Considering ways to expand and strengthen the state’s program comes at a time when state officials reported that 100,000-plus patients have qualified for the state’s MMJ program, a jump of nearly 30% in the past year.

That figure doesn’t include out-of-state patients allowed to purchase in New Mexico.

Duke Rodriguez, the CEO of Ultra Health, the state’s largest MMJ operator, petitioned the board to recommend eliminating the plant limit or at least allow licensed growers to cultivate more plants. He said that would resolve price and variety issues that are currently hurting the state’s program.

“It’s the same issue we’ve had over and over again,” Rodriguez said, according to the Associated Press. “If you want to give patients choice, if you want to provide patients access, if you want to do all the good things medical cannabis should do, you must recognize that the primary central problem to our entire model is the plant count.”

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