Some New Mexico medical marijuana patients have waited up to 60 days to receive their medical marijuana card. State regulations say that patients are supposed to receive their cards within 30 days.
State Auditor Tim Keller has difficulty believing that there is a lack of staff to approve applications, according to KOAT ABC 7. Keller reviewed the finances for the Department of Health and found that there are ample funds available to hire additional staff to fix the issue.
Keller said, “If it’s not fixed, basically the Department is just going to be subject to lawsuits, and all it takes is a couple of these patients to be able to demonstrate, you know, actual medical harm because they didn’t get their card in time, and then the state is going to be out a lot of money.”
A statement provided to ABC 7 by the Department of Health said, “It was difficult to predict the program’s budget. Therefore, we had to move cautiously with hiring. We will continue to monitor the growth in the program and make adjustments as necessary.”
Additional staff has been hired. The average waiting time for approved medical marijuana patients to receive their cards is 43 days, well past the 30-day regulated time period. To date, there are roughly 30,000 approved medical marijuana patients in New Mexico.