On June 11, the New Mexico Department of Health proposed a cap on medical cannabis production in order to avoid oversupplying the market.
According to US News, the new rule would limit cannabis production to 1,750 mature plants for each licensed producer. Previously, a 450-plant cap was suggested, but was soon struck down by a lawsuit. As a result, a temporary 2,500-plant cap was put into place instead. It is expected that a cap could be reintroduced sometime in June 2021 if demand increases.
The Department of Health claims that their reasoning behind the cap is to keep the market from flooding. If this proposal is passed, immature seedlings won’t count toward the plant count limit, and the plan would also allow for a 500-plant production increase in case there is a need for more supply. “The most important thing is that patients have access to affordable, quality medicine,” said Emily Kaltenbach, state director of the nonpartisan Drug Policy Alliance, in reference to medical cannabis. “We’re pleased to see the Department of Health taking that seriously.”
However some people don’t agree that this is the best course of action, and would rather see increased availability of cannabis for those who need it. “At face value, it looks just as arbitrary and capricious as the first plant count,” said Marissa Novel, chief marketing officer for Ultra Health, a group that operates 17 dispensaries across New Mexico.
According to KOB, the medical industry has increased over the past few years and has continued to expand since more conditions were added. However, because the state is set to decriminalize cannabis many fear that the medical plant count is too high. Whether or not the proposal will pass remains to be seen, but the debate about plant count doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon.