The New Mexico Department of Health says its new medical marijuana patient count is 70,743. One year ago the state had 50,954 medical marijuana patients. The industry in the state continues to grow as cultivators can now grow up to 2,500 marijuana plants.
Contributing factors to the increase in patients include expanding the list of qualifying conditions and allowing adolescent medical marijuana patients to use their medicine at school, KRQE News says. The stigma surrounding marijuana is lifting in New Mexico. The state recently decriminalized marijuana possession and is discussing recreational legalization.
Representative Kelly Fajardo said, “In the seven years I’ve served in the state leg the stigma has changed.”
Regarding the shift in opinion, Representative Javier Martinez said, “I think when grandma and grandpa start using cannabis, for pain management for example, it tells you how far we’ve come.”
Martinez speculates that the increase in medical marijuana patient enrollment signals that the state is ready for recreational marijuana legalization.
The qualifying conditions that most of the state’s patients qualify under is PTSD. Every county in the state has registered medical marijuana patients.
Fajardo said, “It really has become mainstream as far as the understanding of it. It’s not a bunch of guys sitting in a room saying hey, try this.”