New Mexico cannabis cultivators prompt state to boost plant-count limits

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Five medical cannabis cultivators in New Mexico, one of which is the largest operator in the state, are urging regulators to increase plant-count limits by more than three times. The sole purpose of this request is to reduce the chances of a supply shortage arising by summer.

Based on a report by the Albuquerque Journal, state officials were on the receiving end of this request last week. The request emerged soon after Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an adult-use legalization measure into law on Monday, April 12.

Despite the fact that recreational cannabis in New Mexico has been legalized, sales are not anticipated to begin until April 2022. On the plus side, the medical cannabis program is getting a boost from the state’s new adult-use law, since it means that enrolled patients can purchase more of the plant as of June 29.

Producers and regulators have long stressed plant-count limits 

Arguments regarding plant-count limits have not sprouted out of nowhere. In fact, the subject has been debated for quite some time in New Mexico, with producers and regulators have frequently discussed the topic and potential ways to resolve it.

The letter that was recently sent to state officials by five leading local growers outlined how the current per-cultivator plant-count limit of 1,750 mature plants is not sufficient to provide registered patients with adequate product. Consequently, the growers say, consumers will likely be influenced to buy plant-based medicines from nearby states or the illicit market.

Ideally, if the growers get their way, the figure will be increased to 5,500. In the event that the request is not met according to their standards, the growers have indicated that they may file legal action.

Regulators are currently reviewing the letter, according to a state health department spokesperson.

Major vertically-integrated medical cannabis company is fighting to raise plant-count limits in New Mexico

New Mexico’s largest medical cannabis operator, Ultra Health, signed the letter along with G&G Genetics, Budding Hope, Kure and Sacred Garden. The company, in the hopes of being allowed to grow more weed for medicinal purposes, has spent years contesting the state’s plant-count limits.

Despite the fact that New Mexico’s medical cannabis plant count limits were raised in 2019 – following a court ruling in November 2018 that deemed the limit to be arbitrary – Ultra Health argues that market growth cancels out the increase.

Moreover, the company claims that higher prices have emerged as time has progressed; particularly in comparison to nearby states.