New Mexico regulators have temporarily doubled the number of cannabis plants that licensed producers can grow ahead of the state’s adult-use launch, according to NM Political Report.
The emergency rule went into effect Jan. 13 and increases the maximum number of mature cannabis plants from 10,000 to 20,000, the news outlet reported.
“The Division has considered demand estimates provided by applicants and licensees in the cannabis industry,” Kristen Thomson, director of New Mexico’s Cannabis Control Division, wrote in documents filed with the state’s Commission of Public Records, according to NM Political Report. “Projected market demand shows that the demand for regulated cannabis will increase year-to-year as more cannabis consumers move from the illicit market to the regulated market. The supply of medical cannabis will become increasingly threatened without an adequate supply of plants.”
New Mexico is slated to launch legal adult-use cannabis sales in April, and plant count limits have been the source of controversy in the state’s medical program since it launched in 2014.
In 2015, the New Mexico Department of Health, which oversees the medical cannabis program, increased production limits from 150 to 450 mature plants per producer, according to NM Political Report, and as the result of a lawsuit brought by medical cannabis producer Ultra Health, state officials increased the limit to 1,750 mature plants per producer in 2019. Ultra Health challenged the cap again last year, and state regulators have until Jan. 24 to file a response, according to NM Political Report.
The emergency rule raising the plant count limit to 20,000 remains in effect until July, the news outlet reported.
“We have been listening to producers, consumers and patients who are as committed as the Cannabis Control Division is to supporting a thriving cannabis-industry in New Mexico,” Thomson said in a public statement. “Doubling the plant count for licensed producers makes sense to ensure that everyone can maximize the benefits of a thriving cannabis industry."