New Mexico Archives - Green Market Report

StaffApril 13, 2021
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New Mexico became the 18th state to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed the Cannabis Regulation Act (HB 2) into law on Monday.  New Mexico is now the fifth state to adopt a legalization policy by passing a bill through its state legislature, joining Illinois, Vermont, New York, and Virginia. Thirteen additional states have legalized by voter initiative.

According to Marijuana Policy Project, HB 2 legalizes personal possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and home cultivation of six mature plants for adults 21 and over. Additionally, HB 2 includes measures to encourage those who were disproportionately impacted by prohibition to enter the new industry. A companion bill — SB 2 — will provide for automatic expungement. Legal sales will begin no later than April 1, 2022. A summary of HB 2 is available here.

“We commend New Mexico lawmakers and advocates for ending cannabis prohibition. This move will end the injustice of criminalizing New Mexicans for a substance that is safer than alcohol. States across the country are rolling back prohibition and finding that legalizing and regulating cannabis works. This victory in New Mexico, along with the recent legalization victories in New York and Virginia, will help tip the scale towards federal cannabis reform,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project.

New Mexico Market

UltraHealth, the state’s largest MMJ operator said in a statement, “Combined patient sales from the 34 licensed producers in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program totaled $203 million in 2020, an increase of $74 million or 57% over reported patient sales in 2019. Ultra Health, New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company, led all operators with nearly $40 million in patient sales, 71% greater than its nearest competitor.”

Altogether, New Mexico’s top five providers accounted for 55% of reported patient sales in 2020, an increase from 49% the previous year. The top 10 out of 34 total providers accounted for 74% of total patient sales in 2020.

2020 Revenue 2019 Revenue $ Increase % Increase
1. Ultra Health $39,522,044 $19,750,988 $19,771,056 100%
2. PurLife $23,120,494 $15,944,288 $7,176,206 45%
3. R. Greenleaf $20,978,619 $11,888,647 $9,089,972 77%
4. Pecos Valley $16,075,150 $7,338,780 $8,736,370 119%
5. Verdes $11,403,356 $8,394,441 $3,008,915 36%
Total Industry $203,471,624 $129,258,236 $74,213,388 57%

 

“In less than a month, the number of states that have legalized cannabis through the legislative process has more than doubled —  from two to five. While we are encouraged by this progress, we urgently call on the other 32 state legislatures to listen to their constituents and legalize cannabis. With supermajority support for legalization, it is outrageous that more than 1,000 Americans are arrested for cannabis every day,” said Matt Simon, senior legislative analyst at the Marijuana Policy Project.

NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf said: “This is a day to celebrate! New Mexico will greatly benefit from this new revenue stream and the creation of thousands of jobs. Most notably though, legalization will spare thousands of otherwise law-abiding residents from arrest and a criminal record, and the state’s new expungement law will help provide relief to many who are suffering from the stigma and other collateral consequences associated with a prior marijuana conviction.”

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri added: “New Mexico joins an ever-growing list of states that have realized the failures of marijuana prohibition and the harms it brings to their communities and citizens. The American people are demanding an end to prohibitionist policies that have wreaked havoc on communities of color, squandered countless millions in taxpayer dollars, and wasted limited judicial and law enforcement resources on criminalizing otherwise law-abiding individuals for possession of a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.”


StaffApril 1, 2021
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New Mexico is one step away from becoming the 17th state to legalize cannabis for adult use and the fourth state to adopt a legalization policy by passing a bill through its state legislature. The last stop is Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk for signing. New Mexico follows New York state, which also took this route to full legalization. Illinois and Vermont chose the legislator path while 13 other states have legalized by voter initiative.

Members of the New Mexico House and Senate gave their final approval on Wednesday to two separate measures amending the state’s marijuana laws. The first legalizes and regulates marijuana possession, production, and sales for adults. The second facilitates the automatic review and expungement of the records of those convicted of low-level marijuana offenses.

“New Mexico legislators and advocates deserve a round of applause as they are on the verge of legalizing cannabis for adult use. This year is proving to be nothing short of monumental for the cannabis policy reform movement. State legislatures across the nation are recognizing the urgent need to end cannabis prohibition and are rising to the challenge,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project. MPP said in a statement that under HB 2, personal possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and home cultivation of six mature plants will be legal for adults 21 and over. Additionally, HB 2 includes measures that would encourage those who were disproportionately impacted by prohibition to enter the new industry. Legal sales would begin no later than April 1, 2022. A companion bill provides for automatic expungement.

Commenting on the bills’ passage, NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf said: “This is a historic day for New Mexico! These important policy changes will ensure that consumers going forward will no longer suffer criminal arrest and prosecution, while also remedying past injustices caused by the drug war. I commend lawmakers for working together to craft legislation that prioritizes social justice and inclusion. Passage of this legislation will ensure that minor marijuana possession offenders, many of them young people, are no longer saddled with a criminal record and the lifelong penalties and stigma associated with it.”

Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director for the Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance said, “New Mexicans are finally able to exhale. After many years of hard work, another whirlwind legislative session, and input from stakeholders throughout the state, social justice-centered cannabis legalization is on its way to the Governor’s desk, where she has already agreed to sign. We thank the Governor and our legislative allies for not taking ‘no’ for an answer and stopping at nothing until we were able to get justice for New Mexico communities—particularly Hispanic/Latinx, Black, Native and Indigenous—that have been immensely harmed by cannabis prohibition.”

She added, “Today’s passage of the cannabis legalization and expungement package will ensure equitable opportunities for farmers and other small businesses, and long overdue justice—including automatic expungement—for those with past cannabis arrests or convictions. And it doesn’t stop there. We still have our work cut out for us to fully repair the damage that has been done as a result of the war on drugs, and that means coming back during the 2022 budget session to ensure funds are made available for critical reinvestment in the communities that have been most harmed.”

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri added: “New Mexico joins an ever-growing list of states that have realized the failures of marijuana prohibition and the harms it brings to their communities and citizens. They are the third state so far this year that has approved legalization via the legislative process and we expect several more will follow suit in a short period of time. The American people are demanding an end to prohibitionist policies that have wreaked havoc on communities of color, squandered countless millions in taxpayer dollars, and wasted limited judicial and law enforcement resources on criminalizing otherwise law-abiding individuals for possession of a product that is objectively less harmful than currently legal alcohol and tobacco. Thankfully lawmakers at the state level are finally implementing the will of their constituents and, by doing so, they are applying further pressure on the federal government to finally deschedule marijuana nationally and end this ongoing tension between state and federal policies.”

 


Debra BorchardtJanuary 29, 2019
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The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program racked up $106 million in sales in 2018 for a 23% increase over 2017. Patient enrollment grew by 45% from 2017 to 2018 and now counts 67,574 patients in the system. It’s easy to see an imbalance here. The patient count grew faster than sales.

The largest provider in the system Ultra Health said that the problem is plant count limits combined with regulatory hurdles. The company was the largest provider in the state with a market share of 15.4% in 2018 and reporting $16 million in revenue for the year.

“Surpassing $100 million is a great milestone for the Medical Cannabis Program,” said Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez. “However, the industry would have exceeded $212 million if patients were able to purchase an adequate supply of cannabis as allowed for similar patients in Arizona and Colorado.” The belief is that patients are being forced to seek medicine outside of licensed providers which is considered the black market.

Some of the restrictions include purchase limits, potency caps, no reciprocity with patients from other legal states and the inability of producers to offer savings for large purchases.  The problems re causing high prices for the patients.

The state’s top five producers accounted for 43% of the reported revenue in 2018 and there are 35 licensed producers. Only 12 grew faster than the overall industry’s pace, while 23 producers fell behind.

2018 Revenue  $ Increase 2017 % Increase
1.     Ultra Health $16,325,711 $5,787,168 55%
2.     R. Greenleaf $9,014,260 $320,555 4%
3.     Verdes $7,304,424 $1,192,124 20%
4.     Sacred Garden $6,445,460 $3,050,136 90%
5.     PurLife $6,177,973 $3,281,062 106%
        Total Industry $105,796,892 $19,593,808 23%

Ultra Health said that under the current medical marijuana program, revenues are projected to reach $131 million by the end of 2019 and patient enrollment is forecast to reach 87,500. The company said that if the program allowed patients to fully access medical cannabis like Arizona and Colorado, the industry could have easily hit $290 million in sales.

“Whether it’s for physical, mental or social well being, every adult presenting themselves should have the full legal right to choose the cannabis products they need, in the quantities they want, from the provider they prefer and at a price they can afford,” said Rodriguez.

A new report from BDS Analytics and Arcviews stated, “Despite inaction on calls to expand access by adding
qualifying conditions, the state has made some small improvements to the cannabis program. State officials
have simplified the application process for those seeking a medical cannabis card and made other changes
to the application process to address complaints of long application backlogs that result in delayed card issuance.”


Jack SmithJuly 25, 2018
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Though marijuana remains illegal in New Mexico for recreational use, the growth seen for medicinal purposes has surged in 2018, surpassing $50 million in sales, due in large part to a huge rise in patient enrollments.
According to data compiled by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), the 35 commercial cannabis producers in the state reported $51 million in sales in the first six months of the year. That marks a 27 percent increase year-over-year.
That jump in sales of which five providers accounted for 78 percent of the increase, was due in large part to patient enrollment in the Medical Cannabis Program, which had 54,857 active cardholders as of June 30th, an increase of 24 percent year over year.
“Providing patients with affordable, safe, and accessible medicine has been the intention of legislators since the inception of the program,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health in a statement. “Moving forward, success will be defined by the quality of life of the physical, mental and social well-being of each patient rather than merely the number of patients served.”
Ultra is one of the key producers in the state, with patient sales ahead of the other licensed providers for a third consecutive year. It generated $7.7 million in sales in the state, up nearly 80 percent year-over-year, while PurLife also reported strong figured. Combined, the two accounted for 48 percent of new business in the first half of 2018.
In the first half of 2018, patients bought 7,557 pounds of marijuana, up 12 percent over the same time frame in 2017.
The growth throughout the state is widespread, with several counties experiencing significant jumps in enrollment. Counties such as Grant, Otero, Curry, Sante Fe and Dona Aña all experienced 20 percent or more growth in cardholder figures. Grant topped the charts with 42 percent growth.
The growth throughout the state is a good sign for producers, but it’s also a sign that demand is outpacing supply. The state’s licensed producers “are unable to totally meet New Mexico patients’ demand for safe and legal cannabis,” so it may be forcing them to seek their cannabis elsewhere, such as the “unregulated illicit market,” the statement added.
There’s also the concern that wholesale transactions are becoming a burden for the cannabis industry. The Lynn & Erin Compassionate Use Act gave licensed producers the exclusive authority “to produce, possess, distribute and dispense cannabis,” but there is no mention of any limit on the aforementioned activities.
In 2013, NMDOH announced a maximum cap of 450 plants allowed per producer, but in August 2016, Ultra sued the NMDOH, saying that the cap needs to be adjusted higher.

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