New Mexico Doubles Cannabis Growers’ Plant Count Prior to Adult-Use Sales

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Hoping to avoid product shortages when the state’s adult-use cannabis market comes online, New Mexico passed an emergency rule change to double the number of cannabis plants that licensed producers can grow.

An emergency rule change in New Mexico that doubles the number of cannabis plants the state’s licensed producers can grow at one time took effect last week, increasing the limit from 10,000 to 20,000, the Albuquerque Journal reports. However, the licensed producers say the change is too little, too late to meet the demand for the launch of adult-use sales in April.

Cannabis Control Division Director Kristen Thomson noted that the state’s medical cannabis supply “will become increasingly threatened without an adequate supply of plants.”

Ben Lewinger, executive director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, argued that the rule change “will only help the very biggest and well-resourced producers” and “won’t help medical cannabis patients and it won’t help new businesses trying to break into the industry.”

“Building the infrastructure to double plant count could take months to years for most operators, and plants put in the ground today won’t be ready in April.” — Lewinger, in a statement, via the Journal

Duke Rodriguez, CEO and president of Ultra Health, the state’s largest producer, called the rule change “great news” but said it wouldn’t change significantly the amount of cannabis available when adult-use sales are permitted on April 1.

“We’re probably not going to receive any relief in the remaining 74 days to April 1,” Rodriguez said in the report. He added that he would like the state to abolish plant counts and rely on a market-based approach which would “leave it up to the independent entrepreneur to determine how much financial risk they want to take.”

by TG Branfalt
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