ALBUQUERQUE, Jan 5., 2018 /Weed Wire/ — Patient enrollment in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program hit 46,645 as of December 31, 2017, finishing the year with a 61 percent increase over the January 1, 2017 cardholder numbers. The New Mexico medical program appears to be growing at nearly twice the pace of neighboring Arizona.
In Arizona, the medical cannabis patient population grew by 32 percent from January 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017, with 151,512 patients in the program according to most recent data.
At year end, there were 68 total dispensaries in New Mexico, with almost 60 percent of all dispensaries located in Bernalillo, Santa Fe and Sandoval counties.
Unlike most states, New Mexico is more dependent on individual patients growing their own plants. There are 6,638 registered patients in New Mexico approved to grow medicine, which is 14 percent of the enrolled patient population. In comparison, only 1,705 patients, or 1 percent of enrollees, in Arizona are approved for personal cultivation. New Mexico has been historically reliant on patients growing their own medicine due to the restricted plant count on licensed commercial growers.
In August 2016, Ultra Health filed a complaint against the New Mexico Department of Health to ensure adequate supply, disputing the regulatory 450 plant count as arbitrary and capricious.
Santa Fe District Court Judge David K. Thomson is expected to rule on the case at 2:30 p.m. on January 9, 2018 in Santa Fe.
The five New Mexico counties with at least 200 cardholders that experienced the highest growth rate from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017 are:
1. Otero 101%
2. Curry 97%
3. Eddy 95%
4. Doña Ana 82%
5. Grant (tie) 81%
Lea (tie) 81%
The five most common qualifying conditions in New Mexico, which account for 93 percent of the entire program, as of December 31, 2017 are:
Severe chronic pain
Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis
2017 REVENUES & 2018 OUTLOOK
Final revenue numbers for 2017 should be available in mid-January 2018. Earlier projections for 2017 estimate the state’s regulated medical cannabis market at $85.5 million which is nearly $35 million ahead of 2016’s total of $50.6 million. Revenues should easily exceed $100 million in 2018 with over 50,000 enrolled patients expected in the New Mexico medical cannabis program.
“The rapid growth of the medical cannabis program, particularly in our rural counties, is a tremendous validation of its positive public health impact,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “Successfully sustaining the program will be wholly dependent upon ensuring there is an adequate supply of safe and affordable medicine. The unregulated, black-market is never a healthy choice.”