Green Light

Indicators: July 20

4,000 is the approximate number of patients enrolled in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program.
25 is the number of licensed cannabis producers in New Mexico. Last November and December, the state licensed 14 new producers.

Patients have alternatives to where they can go, so we have less pressure on us.

—Len Goodman, executive director of New MexiCann Natural Medicine, a Santa Fe-based medical marijuana supplier

For perhaps the first time in its 2.5-year history, the supply of marijuana for the New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program is meeting patient demand. This, at least, is what Department of Health Secretary Catherine Torres told attendees at a Health and Human Services Committee meeting in Taos on July 8.

Len Goodman, executive director of Santa Fe-based producer New MexiCann Natural Medicine, recalls the strain the demand from patients would put on his office, which serves about 1,200 registered patients.

“It was insanity,” he tells SFR. “When a new supply would come, our orders were gone in five minutes. We had to say no to everybody else.”

But now he says the new producers licensed at the end of 2010 are paying off. It takes about three to four months from the time a producer is licensed for plant growth for the market to feel the effect, he says.

“It was probably around April when we started feeling the effects of the increased plant counts,” Goodman says. “Basically, we’ve been able to take care of our patients’ needs for the last two months.”

Emily Kaltenbach, state director of advocacy group New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance, says her organization hasn’t heard frustration from patients over supply issues recently.

“We’ve been waiting and watching,” she tells SFR. “We’re hopeful that [the program] is meeting demand.”

Still, her group is planning to testify soon to the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to loosen restrictions on how much patients are able to grow on their own.

“We want to make sure patients have support to grow their own medicine,” Kaltenbach says.

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