New Mexico’s sole medical marijuana provider, Santa Fe Institute for Natural Medicine, has informed the state that it is unable to meet existing demand given an increased number of patients.
In a note dated September 1 posted on its website, SFINM makes clear that it has informed state officials at the Department of Health that it cannot meet demand for medical marijuana, and that the state has in turn said it will move forward withlicensing a second producer of the drug.
From the note:
We advised the Department of Health that we are unable to provide uninterrupted medicine to the growing number of patients. According to the law, DOH can only issue as many licenses as needed to serve the patient population. Because participation in the program has outgrown our ability to serve everyone, DOH advises it will now move forward to issue a second producer license. When this occurs, all patients will be notified.
SFINM received its license in the spring of 2009 and had its first crop ready to go in August. It informed patients in an August 28 note on its website that it had run out, and expected to have more for sale in October.
At the time, New Mexico Department of Health spokesperson Chris Minnick told NMI that it was unclear whether or not SFINM met the demand in the state before it ran out of marijuana. Because patients are allowed to have a three-month supply, it’s possible that all patients who needed to make purchases were able to do so before the non-profit ran out, he said.
He also said the DOH is working through 20 nonprofit applications with the expectation of licensing another one “soon.”
In a follow-up conversation, Minnick said that SFINM may have informed the Secretary of the DOH, Dr. Alfredo Vigil, that it couldn’t meet the demand in the state, and that he would get back to us if there is a more concrete time-frame available for when the next non-profit would be approved.
NMI asked if the state had been waiting to license a second non-profit in the state until the Department saw if SFINM could meet the demand. He replied that they are diligently working to evaluate the applications, but that there is also a primary objective to meet demand without “excess supply.”
“We want to be very careful that we don’t have excess supply in the state, while making sure there is enough for patients,” Minnick said.
The state’s medical marijuana program allows production by either small nonprofits that can grow up to 95 plants at a time, or patients themselves who can grow four plants at a time.
In either case, a license to produce has to be given by the state. Since the program was put in place in late 2008, SFINM is the only nonprofit that’s been given the green light to produce. It was approved in the spring of 2009, and had its first batch ready for sale in August.
By Marjorie Childress
September 14, 2009
New Mexico Independent
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New Mexico's one medical marijuana producer admits it can't meet demand