The number of registered medical marijuana patients in New Mexico has risen by 10% since the start of the year, according to the Department of Health.

New figures show that there are now 74,100 active patients in the state, which represents an increase of 35% over the past 12 months. The most common qualifying condition is post-traumatic stress disorder, accounting for more than half of the state’s patient count.

Severe chronic pain is the other major condition that has seen New Mexicans prescribed medicinal cannabis. Newly added qualifying conditions include opioid use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism spectrum disorder, but these have seen minimal amounts of sign-ups thus far.

Last week the New Mexico Department of Health announced proposed rule changes for its medical marijuana program. They include capping licensed, non-profit producers at 1,750 plants apiece, which would replace the emergency ruling in March that temporarily increased the limit from 450 plants to 2,500.

That emergency ruling came after a Bernalillo County mother said she had to move out of the state as she could not source sufficient CBD oil to treat her daughter’s medical condition. Under the proposed law changes, producers would be able to apply for an increase of another 500 plants from June 2021 if they could prove they were close to capacity.

“We want to assure patients have enough medicine both now and in the future as well as in forms that make the most sense for the very conditions they’re treating,” said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel.

The medical cannabis community can have its say during a public consultation that will take place in the weeks ahead, helping to shape the framework of the state’s medical marijuana program.

Recreational cannabis use is prohibited in the Land of Enchantment, but Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has formed a taskforce to explore whether it should be legalized. The Cannabis Legalization Working Group is comprised of lawmakers, industry representatives, and law enforcement officials.

New Mexico also decriminalized possession of adult-use cannabis a couple of weeks ago. Anyone found with less than half an ounce is now subject to a $50 fine, with no possibility of jail time. That made it the 24th state to decriminalize recreational marijuana.

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