Cannabis study reveals that New Mexico has an enviable number of dispensaries per capita

The medical cannabis market in New Mexico is stronger than ever. Recently-published study data has confirmed that the state ranks as seventh in the U.S. with the “most dispensaries per capita.” Verilife – a company that manages recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries in six U.S. states – commissioned the cannabis study, which was released in February.  

As per the results of Verilife’s cannabis study on states with the most dispensaries per capita, New Mexico has approximately 5.2 dispensaries for every 100,000 people. In addition to having plenty of licensed facilities dispensing plant-based medicine to patients, New Mexico’s medical cannabis program has also given the state a boost of revenue; it ranks ninth for the “highest tax revenue raised.”

Among the top five percent of U.S. cities surveyed for having the highest number of dispensaries per capita was Santa Fe, which has 10 dispensaries and counting. Based on the results of Verilife’s cannabis study, Santa Fe boasts 5.9 dispensaries per 50,000 residents; ranking it number 28 out of 600 cities located in cannabis-friendly states.

Currently, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis and 11 have legalized recreational cannabis. For this study in particular, cities were only surveyed if they had a population of 50,000 or more, putting three other New Mexico cities under the spotlight Albuquerque has approximately 3.3 dispensaries per 50,000 residents, Las Cruces has 2.4 and Rio Rancho trails behind with 2.3.

Enrollment for medical cannabis in New Mexico has exceeded Colorado patient count

In more recent news, enrollment for New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program has surpassed Colorado’s patient count. Figures released by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) showed that 82,147 residents had registered for the program as of  February 29, 2020. Colorado, on the other hand, had just 81,893 as of the same date.

Legalization of recreational cannabis in Colorado could be attributed to the fact that its patient count has been outpaced by New Mexico. Since the plant was legalized for adult-use purposes back in 2014, 33,000 patients have decided to drop out of the medical cannabis program; declining from 115,000 cardholders to the current figure of 82,000. Quite the opposite happened in New Mexico, where enrollment climbed 667 percent from just 10,708 in 2014.

When patient participation exploded in February, Ultra Health which is acknowledged as the number one cannabis company in all of New Mexico revealed that dispensary sales for that month were higher than ever before. President and CEO of the company, Duke Rodriguez, believes that the patient count could double if program eligibility is expanded.

“If we were more progressive on eligibility and how much we’re allowed to grow, we could be at more than 100,000 and approaching 200,000 cardholders,” said Rodriguez.

Recreational cannabis legalization in New Mexico won’t happen this year 

Although New Mexico’s medical cannabis program is a successful and lucrative addition to the state, consumers will have to wait optimistically if they want to buy recreational cannabis legally. Nonetheless, lawmakers are making headway to prompt the launch of a statewide adult-use market. When the 2020 legislative session launched, the House introduced a bill that would have legalized recreational cannabis in New Mexico this year. Senate Bill 115 A.K.A. “the Cannabis Regulation Act was sponsored by Representative Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque) and Representative Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque).  

“The Legislature has the opportunity to pass the largest job-creation program in New Mexico in a decade,” Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said in regards to SB 115. She believes that recreational cannabis will steer her state towards economic growth by creating 11,000 jobs. Unfortunately, the chances of an adult-use cannabis market being established in 2020 are slim, what with SB 115 being tabled by a state Senate committee last month in a 6-4 vote.

Hope prevails, however, with Grisham telling reporters that legalization of recreational cannabis in New Mexico is “inevitable.”