The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) recently announced details of proposed rule changes for its Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) that, if adopted, will implement several important policy changes, including a new maximum limit of 1,750 plants for licensed non-profit producers (LNPPs) of medical cannabis.
The new plant limit replaces NMAC Rule Change – 2019 – MCP – Emergency Amendment enacted in March that adopted an emergency plant count rule of 2,500 plants for LNPPs while the NMDOH worked to obtain data for a permanent rule.
The proposed provisions would strengthen oversight of licensed cannabis operators and their inventory, as well as assure proper disposal of product where necessary. A formal hearing will be at 9 a.m. July 12. in the auditorium of the Harold Runnels Building, located at 1190 St. Francis Drive in Santa Fe.
The Department of Health carefully developed the new plant limit to balance concerns about available medical cannabis supply while limiting the risk of the over-production that has disrupted regulated systems in other states. NMDOH commissioned surveys and used data from cannabis producers and national industry averages were also analyzed to determine an appropriate plant limit.
The proposed rule change also allows plant limits to grow with the size of the market through a provision beginning in June of 2021. It will allow licensed producers to request an increase of up to 500 permitted plants if they are nearing their capacity to supply their patients’ demand.
LNPPs will be able exclude cannabis seedlings from their plant limit. This change in policy will allow licensed producers to experiment with cultivating a wider variety of plant strains and is designed to increase the available supply of plants high in alternative cannabinoids like CBD, which is used for serious conditions like epilepsy.
In addition, the MCP is preparing for another round of rulemaking to comply with statutory mandates enacted by the Legislature earlier this year in Senate Bill 406.