New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Continues Growth In Third Quarter

Supply remains in jeopardy as patient enrollment increases at double the rate of industry sales

NEW MEXICO:The 35 licensed commercial producers in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program brought in a record $22.1 million for the third quarter of 2017, an increase of 4 percent from the second quarter.

Patient enrollment increased by over 10 percent, from 44,403 to 48,861, during the same quarterly period.

“Revenue is growing slower than previous quarters and not keeping pace with the dramatic increase of patients enrolled, which is a result of the lowest number of plants per patient in the history of the program,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health. “This product and pricing pressure is likely pushing qualified patients to purchase unsafe medicine from the illegal black market.”

All providers licensed a total of 14,550 plants for the 2017-2018 period, leaving less than one third of a single plant per patient. The plant count ratio will continue to deteriorate each month as patient enrollment increases.

The New Mexico medical cannabis industry is on course to complete 2017 with total projected sales of $85.5 million, which is a 68 percent increase over the $50.6 million achieved in 2016. Patient enrollment is projected to increase by 86 percent from 29,046 patients on January 1, 2017 to 54,091 patients on January 1, 2018.

Third Quarter Breakdown

Ultra Health continues to lead all providers in the third quarter with $2.8 million in sales, an increase of 20 percent since June 30, 2017. The provider currently holds 13 percent of the New Mexico medical cannabis market. Ultra Health currently leads the nation in percentage market share penetration.

The provider attributes its growth in the third quarter to patients’ favorable response to its new pharmaceutical-grade, smokeless medicinal productswhich include sublingual and oral tablets, pastilles, vaginal and rectal suppositories, oils, topicals and patches.

The 23 original providers accounted for 79 percent of the total market share for the third quarter while the 12 newest providers, which were selected in October 2015, held 21 percent altogether.

Ultra Health opened its ninth dispensary location in Silver City on October 17, 2017. The provider now serves seven counties as the nation’s largest vertically integrated medical-only cannabis network.

Six of the 35 licensed producers currently operate without a single retail dispensary location.

Ultra Health Opens Eighth Location, Now In Six N.M. Counties

NEW MEXICO: Ultra Health has announced plans to  officially open its eighth location in Alamogordo, N.M., on Tuesday, August 29th, making the company the largest vertically integrated, seed-to-sale medical cannabis network in the country.

The opening comes after a long-awaited inspection from the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Ultra Health initially submitted its amendment to open a dispensary in Alamogordo in May of 2016. There are currently more than 45,000 enrollees in the state’s medical cannabis program.

The new Alamogordo dispensary will bring the provider to eight locations serving six counties in New Mexico, more than any other medical cannabis provider in the state. Ultra Health ranks #1 by number of locations in the U.S. among the 21 states that operate medical-only cannabis programs (an additional 8 states have complete legalization for adults).

“Under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, licensed producers are exclusively granted the authority to produce, possess, distribute and dispense cannabis,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “We are committed to fully exercising these rights to improve the quality of life of the patients we serve. Ultra Health is proud to be actively establishing the highest quality, most accessible and affordable medical cannabis system in the United States.”

Ultra Health plans to increase patient choice and access by continuing to establish new dispensaries in underserved communities including Silver City, Espanola, Los Ranchos, Deming, Sunland Park, Las Vegas, Raton, Tucumcari, Artesia, Gallup, Farmington, Grants, Socorro, Truth or Consequences, Portales, Roswell, Los Alamos, Moriarty, Lovington, and the unincorporated South Valley of Albuquerque.

There are currently 15 New Mexico counties and thousands of medical cannabis patients without access to a full time dispensary. While approval for medical cannabis dispensaries in the rural areas has lagged, the Albuquerque market appears saturated with dispensaries.

As of August 4, there were 25 dispensary locations in Albuquerque serving a patient population of 13,812 enrollees in Bernalillo County. The Albuquerque dispensary density is higher than that of Tucson, Arizona, which has 10 dispensaries serving 18,766 patient enrollees in its respective Pima County. The U.S. Census Bureau (2016) estimates the Albuquerque and Tucson city populations at 559,279 and 530,706 respectively.

N.M. Medical Cannabis Program Grows To 31,000 Patients

NEW MEXICO: The number of patients in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program reached 30,877 at the end of the third quarter, an increase of more than 4300 since June 30, 2016.  This increase is twice the amount of patients that were added to the program in the same quarter in 2015.  Additionally the program has seen a 76 percent patient growth increase over the past year.

Bernalillo and Santa Fe remain the two largest counties by patient population with 11,396 and 4,070 enrolled patients respectively. Every county¨ excluding Harding and Union counties experienced a double-digit increase in patients in the third calendar quarter. Growth continues to accelerate particularly in the southern and southeastern parts of New Mexico including Dona Ana, Lea, Chaves, Grant, and Eddy counties. Nearly 3,200 patients are living in rural counties without a full-time dispensary.

N.M. Medial Cannabis Program Surpasses 30,000 Patients

The Medical Cannabis Program reaches all-time high patient numbers in August

NEW MEXICO: The number of patients in the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program reached 30,140 this month, including 975 pending applications, according to a document released by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Monday at a legislative meeting in Taos.

NMDOH confirmed in a written statement that zero new patient applications or renewals have been denied during fiscal year 2016. There are currently 6,300 patients with Personal Production Licenses (PPLs), and zero PPL applications have been denied.

“We are pleased to confirm that we are above 30,000 patients and to acknowledge the reality that 100 percent of all applications are approved,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health. “It would be wise to immediately adopt a policy of presumptive eligibility thereby making certain there are no further delays in getting patients their rights to access medical cannabis.”

NMDOH stated that due to an increase in the number of patients in the program, there is an increased demand for medical cannabis in New Mexico.

In the first 50 days of the new fiscal year, the program has already grown by 2,300 patients, and NMDOH expects continued growth in 2017. Nearly 950 new applications are submitted to NMDOH each month. At an annualized rate, the Medical Cannabis Program is currently growing by more than 80 percent each year.

It is estimated that by the end of this fiscal year, the program will grow to 43,400 patients. This number is 2 percent of the New Mexico population. This is comparable to current Colorado and Arizona penetration rates of 2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. “Growth does not occur by chance,” Rodriguez said. “Continued growth will only come from the cannabis industry improving access, affordability and product choice.”

New Mexico Cannabis Producers Pay $2.76 Million By Deadline

NEW MEXICO:  The 35 Licensed NonProfit Producers (LNPPs) of New Mexico’s fully patient funded and self supporting Medical Cannabis Program paid $2.76 million in fees to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Monday, according to a report released from the NMDOH.

The fees were for a total of 13,800 plants, which serve the state’s 26,568 medical cannabis patients as of June 30, 2016. The current ratio of plants per patient is one half of a plant per patient in New Mexico, while other states such as Colorado approve 6 plants per patient for medical cannabis producers, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s 2015 annual Update. On average, 300,000 to 320,000 medical cannabis plants were cultivated each month in Colorado.

New Mexico has the highest per plant fee in the United States, as well as the most restrictive plant count. LNPPs are each allowed a maximum of 450 plants, which total to $90,000 in fees annually per producer. Other states such as Arizona and Nevada do not have plant count limitations and have a fee as low as $1,000 per year per producer.

As more patients enter New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program, which has increased by 74 percent from June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2016, the ratio of plants per patient will dramatically further decrease unless plant count restrictions are loosened or eliminated completely.

“The Medical Cannabis Program is fully self sufficient, as it receives funding solely from patients,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health. “Medical cannabis patients in New Mexico deserve to reap the maximum benefits of this program, and the current plant count limitations issued by the New Mexico Department of Health is keeping them from fully benefitting from an adequate supply of their medicine.”

Along with the Medical Cannabis Program being fully funded by patients, the NMDOH reverted monies from the program fees back into the general fund in 2015, which could have been reinvested into the program to support its exponential growth.

Of the current 35 LNPPs in New Mexico, nearly three quarters of producers are buying the maximum of 450 plants. Of the remaining 10 LNPPs, they purchased between 200 and 300 plants. This data demonstrates that the majority of the industry is securing the nearly maximum number of allowed plants, but will still fall substantially below the expected demand.