A New Mexico advisory board recommended Dec. 9 that the state health secretary consider allowing licensed medical cannabis cultivators to grow more plants to alleviate concerns about the high cost of medical cannabis and the lack of variety, according to an AP News report.
The board voted on the recommendation in response to a petition seeking to either eliminate the limit or significantly increase the number of plants each cultivator can grow, the news outlet reported.
New Mexico’s medical cannabis industry has long pushed for eliminating the limit, while some participants in the program have expressed concern that the nonprofit model established by the state’s medical cannabis law has turned into a monopoly, according to AP News.
Dr. Dominick Zurlo, director of the state’s medical cannabis program, has said that previous increases in the plant count have not brought prices down, the news outlet reported, and added that the state’s cultivators can request next year to grow an additional 500 plants under state law. Currently, cultivators can grow a maximum of 1,750 plants.
New Mexico’s cultivators reported having just over 30,000 mature plants for the quarter ending Sept. 30, according to AP News, and Zurlo said there is “untapped potential” since growers can have more than 51,000 plants under the current regulations.
“At this current time, production is actually outstripping the sales,” he told the news outlet. “What we as a program and department would really like to see is prices reduced and I think the current production really is showing that those prices could have been reduced.”
The state’s medical cannabis industry has said that the data is unreliable and that the program’s fee structure adds to operating costs, although Zurlo has dismissed these claims, according to AP News.