Medical cannabis program is still expanding
Aneesh Nair | Published January 27, 2020 08:13:57 AM | Health

Medical cannabis program is still expanding

CannabisMonster - The number of active patients in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program topped 80,000 last month, closing out a year that has seen some loosening of participation requirements to.

According to the most recently available informations released by the New Mexico Department of Health, the state had 80,257 patients as of last month – up nearly 19% from December 2018.

Following a state judge’s ruling in August that an in-state residency requirement for participation in the program has been eliminated by a recent law change – a ruling the effects of which the Governor’s Office is trying to curtail through a legislative fix – the number of out-of-state participants has nearly doubled since the end of November and is currently at 421.

Opioid use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorder were also added as qualifying conditions last year. By December, 154 patients with opioid use disorder were active in the program, as well as 23 Alzheimer’s patients and 47 autism spectrum disorder patients.

Despite those shifts, the largest increases in terms of qualifying conditions came from patients with post-traumatic stress disorder – 44,260 patients in 2019 compared to 33,747 the year before – as well as from patients with severe chronic pain – up to 26,484 patients in 2019 compared to 22,735 the prior year. Patients with those two diagnoses make up more than 80% of all medical cannabis patients in the state.

Meanwhile, the largest number of participants – 26,655 – still live in Bernalillo County.

Patient transactions themselves have also continued to increase, according to data from the most recently available reports filed by licensed non-profit medical cannabis producers.

In the third quarter of 2019, producers reported 824,924 patient transactions, compared to 621,977 transactions in the fourth quarter from last year. The number of total plants in production – 29,929 at the end of the third quarter – is up significantly from the end of 2018, when producers listed only 13,207.

Fourth-quarter statistics from producers in 2019 have yet to be released.

Courtesy : www.abqjournal.com

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