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New Mexico medical cannabis program accrued $106 million in 2018

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Last year, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program pulled in $106 million in sales revenue, a 23 percent increase since 2017.

The number of patients enrolled in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program rose 45 percent between 2017 and 2018, with the patient count now standing at 67,574.

Interesting, considering the fact that patient enrollment exceeded sales.

Ultra Health is the biggest provider in NM’s medical cannabis system

In 2018, Ultra Health reported $16 million in revenue and boasted a market share of 15.4 percent. According to the company CEO, Duke Rodriguez, regulatory obstacles and plant count limits are to blame for the sales slump, in comparison with the patient count.

“Surpassing $100 million is a great milestone for the Medical Cannabis Program,” said Rodriguez. “However, the industry would have exceeded $212 million if patients were able to purchase an adequate supply of cannabis as allowed for similar patients in Arizona and Colorado.”

Patients are somewhat limited when buying medical cannabis from trusted, licensed and regulated providers due to lack of supply. This means that the black market is still conducting illicit activities, and consumers are turning to them during times of need.

Potency caps and purchase restrictions are some of the limitations set for New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. Patients are left paying high prices since cannabis consumers don’t have the privilege of saving money when buying in bulk amounts.

The top five producers of medicinal-grade cannabis in New Mexico constituted 43 percent of reported cannabis revenue from the state’s system in 2018.

In total, there are 35 licensed pot producers in the state; 12 of which soared higher than the speed at which the state’s medical cannabis program grew. The remaining 23 producers were slacking in revenue increase between 2017 and 2018.

Top five producers of medical cannabis in New Mexico

Let’s take a look at sales revenue accrued by the top five medical cannabis producers in NM in 2017, as well as their revenue increase since 2017:

  1. Ultra Health: $16,325,711 – An increase of $5,787,168 (55 percent) since 2017.
  2. R. Greenleaf: $9,014,260 – An increase of $320,555 (four percent) since 2017.
  3. Verdes: $7,304,424 – An increase of $1,192,124 (20 percent) since 2017.
  4. Sacred Garden: $6,445,460 – An increase of $3,050,136 (90 percent) since 2017.
  5. PurLife: $6,177,973 – An increase of $3,281,062 (106 percent) since 2017.

By the close of 2019, Ultra Health predicts that the company’s medical cannabis revenue will top $131 million. Patient enrollment is also set to grow, with Ultra Health anticipating as many as 87,500 patient signups this year.

As much as $290 million in medical cannabis sales revenue would be expected, if the industry granted patients complete access to the therapeutic plant like they do in other U.S. States.

“Whether it’s for physical, mental or social well being, every adult presenting themselves should have the full legal right to choose the cannabis products they need, in the quantities they want, from the provider they prefer and at a price they can afford,” said Rodriguez.

Improvements for medical cannabis in New Mexico expected

Individuals who want to obtain a medical cannabis card in the State of New Mexico can now do so in a much simpler way than before, thanks to new adjustments made to the program.

“Despite inaction on calls to expand access by adding qualifying conditions, the state has made some small improvements to the cannabis program,” reads a recent report from BDS Analytics and ArcView. “State officials have simplified the application process for those seeking a medical cannabis card and made other changes to the application process to address complaints of long application backlogs that result in delayed card issuance.”

Moreover, a recent measure allowing medical cannabis in public schools in New Mexico has advanced. The Senate Public Affairs Committee voted 6-0 to push forward with a bill that would permit school districts in NM to allow prescription cannabis use amongst students.

Senate Bill 204 – by Sen. Candace Gould, R-Albuquerque – would prevent individuals on school grounds or buses from being prosecuted or penalized for possession or consumption.

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New Mexico medical cannabis program accrued $106 million in 2018