The New Mexico Department of Health has approved changes to the state medical marijuana program that would allow for more marijuana to be produced. The changes come with a steep price as policy makers also approved new fees for producers, as much as $30,000 in some cases.
Health Secretary Dr. Alfredo Vigil also agreed to license eight additional growers. This increase is on top of the 17 producers currently operating in the state. This increase is to feed the demand of the roughly 3,000 medical marijuana patients in New Mexico.
In another moves applauded by marijuana advocacy groups, Vigil also agreed to increase the current limit of 95 plants to 150 mature and immature plants.
The new fees will be based on how long an operator has been in business. Fees range from $5,000 for operators in their first year up to $30,000 for those licensed for more than three years.
Paul Livingston, who represents the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Producers' Guild, said he was encouraged by the changes.
He was quick to point out the changes could have an unintentional negative impact on some of the smaller growers. "There is a great deal of concern over whether this model will work, but we are hopeful the state will continue looking at these things," Livingston said.
Vigil also declined adding depression as a condition, going against an advisory board's recommendation.