New Mexico: Medical cannabis producer asks court to enforce order to ensure adequate supply

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New Mexico’s largest medical cannabis producer is asking a state District Court to enforce a judge’s 2018 order for the Department of Health to ensure medical cannabis patients have an adequate supply.

New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health alleges in a motion filed Wednesday in First Judicial District Court the state agency has not only failed to ensure an increasing number of patients have enough legally grown cannabis but also has failed to develop a sound method to determine the state’s supply needs and has made decisions on producer limits in a “retaliatory” manner.

“Producers are attempting to meet the needs of 104,000 + patients with the same supply intended for 75,000 patients,” Ultra Health says in its complaint.

 

The department’s failure to respond to increasing enrollment in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program “has provoked a crisis” in which producers are unable to consistently meet patient demand, which keeps prices high, the complaint says.

A spokesman for the Department of Health declined to comment.

Albuquerque attorney Jacob Candelaria — who is also a state senator — is representing Ultra Health in the case.

His motion seeks to reopen a case the company filed in 2016 on behalf of Nicole Sena, whose infant daughter had a rare form of epilepsy that was treated with a concentrated cannabis oil.

Candelaria said in a statement, the Department of Health and the Governor’s Office “seemingly used their authority over the Medical Cannabis Program to target and retaliate against my client.”

 

Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, called the allegation “baseless.”

“We have no comment beyond that,” she said.

In November 2018, then District Judge David K. Thomson — now a state Supreme Court justice — ruled the department’s 450-plant cap was too restrictive and ran afoul of state law creating the Medical Cannabis Program.

Thomson also found the plant limit was “not based on reliable or updated data.”

The department developed a new rule allowing the state’s 34 licensed producers to grow up to 1,750 plants each.

But according to Ultra Health’s recent motion, the increase wasn’t enough.

“New Mexico’s medical cannabis program remains in a perpetual cycle of crisis — there is not an adequate supply of medical cannabis in the state to benefit all patients, and the price of medicine puts it out of reach for too many medically fragile patients,” Candelaria said in a news release.

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