Judge invites nonresidents to participate in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program

At the end of August 2019, 77,141 patients had enrolled, indicating a 34 percent increase since 2018


Individuals living outside New Mexico can now apply to participate in the state’s medical cannabis program.

A Permanent Writ of Mandamus court order was certified by Santa Fe District Court Judge Bryan Biedscheid on Monday, September 23. The Writ of Mandamus removed the rule that restricted New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program to state residents. It has now been expanded to out-of-staters.

“[The Permanent Writ of Mandamus] is applicable to everyone. I think the law is clear,” stated Judge Biedscheid during his appearance in the courtroom. “I look to the language of that statute first and foremost to determine legislative intent.”

In 2018, New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis program pulled in $106 million in sales. By allowing out-of-state residents to enroll in the program, sales are sure to bolster further.

Medical use of the plant was legalized back in 2007 and decriminalized on Monday, July 1, 2019. The best route for expanding into complete legalization is being determined by the Cannabis Legalization Working Group, which was formed by Gov. Lujan Grisham earlier this year.

Ultra Health ranks above the rest of New Mexico’s medical cannabis companies

Ultra Health is the largest vertically-integrated provider of medical cannabis in the United States. Nonresidents will be granted cards with three-year validity that will enable them to purchase products from the company’s dispensaries.

Ranking as the number one cannabis company in New Mexico, Ultra Health currently operates a total of 17 dispensaries across the state. By next year, 13 new stores are anticipated to open their doors statewide.

The acclaimed vertically-integrated cannabis company provides patients with a wide range of smokeless medical products that enable patients to dose up on the plant’s therapeutic effects without inhaling anything.

Examples of the products on offer from Ultra Health include cannabis-infused oils, sublingual tablets, suppositories, and pastilles. The company distributes its products in a joint effort with Israel-based Panaxia Pharmaceutical Industries.

On December 32, 2017, approximately 46,645 patients had enrolled in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. By December 31 of the following year, the patient count increased 45 percent, with enrolment figures resting at 67,574 patients on this date.

At the end of August 2019, 77,141 had enrolled, indicating a 34 percent increase since 2018. 

Ultra Health hopes to continue growing the patient count by encouraging lawmakers to grant patient sufficient supply of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products.

Patients must be diagnosed with one of 28 qualifying conditions to enroll in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program

Based on the details of the Permanent Writ of Mandamus affirmed by Judge Biedscheid, anyone who meets the eligibility under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act Will be able to obtain pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis upon visiting the state of New Mexico. 

A total of 28 qualifying conditions are featured on the list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis in New Mexico. A licensed healthcare practitioner in New Mexico must diagnose the patient before they can visit dispensaries to purchase their medicine.

Three-year patient registry will be on offer to Mexican residents, Texans, and residents of any other state outside of New Mexico.

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) had previously rejected the idea of granting out-of-state residents access to medical cannabis cards. However, Judge Biedscheid has pushed things in a new direction by affirming the Writ of Mandamus.

Three petitioners filed a Writ of Mandamus for the expansion of New Mexico’s medical cannabis program

Two residents of Texas and a resident of Arizona filed the petition to expand New Mexico’s medical cannabis program. It is their efforts that have led to the Writ of Mandamus being submitted and considered by Judge Biedscheid.

The petitioners filed a Writ of Mandamus following the announcement of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act on June 14, 2018. According to the details of the amended act, qualified patients will no longer be considered a “New Mexico resident” but instead, a “person.”

With over 29 million people residing in the state of Texas and an additional two million living just beyond the New Mexico border, patient enrolment for New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program is expected to increase by 100,000. 

This is based on calculations by NMDOH Secretary Kathy Kunkel, who revealed in an affidavit on September 12, 2019, that the program would swell by more than double if just five percent of two million Texans apply for medical cannabis in New Mexico.

“As previously attested by the Respondent, Kenny Vigil [Medical Cannabis Program Manager]: if only five percent of two million Texas residents were to enroll in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program, enrollment in the Program would increase by 100,000, more than doubling the current enrollment of approximately 77,000 patients,” says Kunkel.

Hopeful patients can apply for enrolment in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program by visiting the NMDOH website.