The New Mexico Department of Health is asking for public input on proposals for changing the state’s state-licensed medical marijuana program, including ways to make the program pay for itself and to make it more “tightly regulated.”
One of the proposals would levy a 7 percent tax on annual gross receipts of the nonprofit organizations that cultivate medical marijuana in the state, reports Marjorie Childress at the The New Mexico Independent. The reason the producers don’t already pass gross receipts tax is because they are, by law, operated as nonprofits.
The department is also looking at increasing the producers’ application fee from $100 to $1,000.
The department would be allowed to test medical marijuana produced by the nonprofits for mold, bacteria and other contaminants under another proposed change.
The proposed regulations also clarify that producers and patients may possess marijuana seeds; that the names and contact info of medical practitioners certifying patients’ qualifying conditions and primary caregivers will be kept confidential; and that board members of the nonprofit marijuana producers must be from New Mexico.
|The New Mexico Independent|
|N.M. Secretary of Health Alfredo Vigil: “We will continue to evaluate the program to ensure patients’ needs are being met”|
”When we established our first-of-its-kind program we knew we had lessons to learn about the best way to manage this complex program effectively,” said Secretary of Health Alfredo Vigil, M.D., on Monday. “We will consistently evaluate and make changes until we have a sustainable program that meets patients’ needs without jeopardizing public safety.”
In July, the Department of Health announced that it is licensing six additional nonprofit producers for its medical cannabis program, bringing the total to 11 producers licensed to produce marijuana for patients in New Mexico.
“The additional producers will help meet the needs of our patients by making medical cannabis more accessible to patients in all regions of the state,” Vigil said. “We will continue to evaluate the program to ensure patients’ needs are being met without creating an excess supply of medical cannabis in New Mexico.”
The department approved the first nonprofit marijuana producer in March 2009, and four more in November 2009. Nonprofit cannabis producers are allowed to have 95 mature plants and seedlings and have an inventory of usable medical cannabis for patients.
Patients in New Mexico can also apply to produce their own supply of medical cannabis and are allowed to have four mature plants and 12 seedlings.
New Mexico’s medical marijuana program now has 2,250 active patients, 1,022 of whom are authorized to grow their own supply of cannabis.
The Department of Health’s Medical Advisory Board will hold a public hearing to consider the proposals at 9:30 a.m. on September 30 in the Harold Runnels Auditorium in Santa Fe.
For more information about the Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program, visit www.nmhealth.org/idb/medical_cannabis.shtml.