New Mexico medical marijuana sales have been growing at an accelerated pace over the last year. The state legalized medical marijuana in 2007 but the number of patients who bought medical marijuana has tripled since last year. In the first quarter of 2015, 18,062 patients purchased marijuana in New Mexico. This year, during the first quarter, that number increased to 55,016. There are 25 states that currently have legalized medical marijuana and Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and D.C., have all legalized recreational marijuana for adult use. As more information about the medical benefits of marijuana comes to light, the demand for the herb keeps increasing.
Details on Current New Mexico Medical Marijuana Laws
New Mexico medical marijuana laws currently allow patients who have been authorized by a doctor to possess up to 6 ounces of medical cannabis. Patients are allowed to grow up to 16 plants; 4 mature and 12 that are immature. Qualifying medical conditions include: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), anorexia/cachexia, arthritis, cancer, cervical dystonia, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, hospice patients, Huntington’s disease, intractable nausea/vomiting, multiple sclerosis, painful peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and spinal cord damage.
The Pressures of License Distribution
There are currently 23 licensed producers and 37 dispensaries operating around New Mexico but as demand grows in the state, the state health department has been pushed to issue more licenses. A dozen nonprofit groups were given licenses in 2015 so that they can set up more groweries and dispensaries but the process is slow. David C. Romero, the president of Organtica, one of the recent nonprofits to receive a license, told the Albuquerque Journal “it’s very tough – especially for the producers who are outside the Albuquerque market – and a little slow.”
Efforts to Meet Demand
The Verdes Foundation was another nonprofit organization that was licensed last year. The owners report that it’s been challenging to keep up with the demands. The dispensary serves approximately 300 patients every day. This month they plan to open another location that is 4 times larger than their current dispensary. New Mexico medical marijuana sales underwent a massive boost. In the first quarter of 2015, there was $5.7 million in medical marijuana sales. In the first quarter of 2016, that number almost doubled, with the state making $10 million in medical marijuana sales.
The new production facilities and dispensaries are predicted to create a significant boost in New Mexico’s economy. Already, there has been an increase in the amount of compensation and salaries paid out to those in the New Mexico medical marijuana industry. In last year’s first quarter, $2.3 million was paid out to workers. In this year’s first quarter, the number has increased to $3 million, which is just the beginning of the new economic boost. As more growing facilities and dispensaries are set up, more jobs will become available and as the industry continues to grow, New Mexico state funds will continue to increase. The benefits of the industry boom continue to create financial gain across the country as 25 states now have legalized medical marijuana.