Is inadequate supply the only problem for Medical Cannabis Program?

From New MexiCann’s Newsletter & Menu For the Week of May 17th, 2015:

The Dept.’s Supply Survey from November 2013 a total need for 4,000,000 grams after calculating for Personal Production.

In my opinion, basing the overall supply needs of the program on the results of one 2013 survey is not only lazy but inaccurate.  This calculation is already incorrect, as you can’t subtract the amount patients are growing on their own (which may or may not be adequate to supply their own needs), from the total supply needed for the state of New Mexico.  In fact, many personal growers have to supplement their supplies with medicine from the dispensaries, having no choice but to pay their exorbitant prices.

Since that time, the Patient count has increased by about 40% from some 10,000 Patients to some 14,000 Patients. Unfortunately, the Survey measured need only – not demand.

I don’t know how any survey could adequately measure need, let alone demand.

It has been estimated that at least 1/3 of Patients (excluding Patients with PPLs who are cultivating) do not purchase from LNPPs – either because the can purchase illicitly from Patients with PPLs or from “the street” at a lower price from “the street” or because of convenience.

What happens when you rely on estimates?  Nothing good.

If we take that into account, the current Patient need may be for 6,000,000 grams but some 2,000,000 grams of that need is being provided by illicit sources. The LNPP yields need to be some 4,000,000 grams – the projected yields with increased plant counts as per my survey.

Based on this, there is no need for additional LNPP licenses from a yield perspective…

I’m too tired to calculate these figures from grams to pounds to… whatever.  Here’s my latest attempt:

Adequate supply is not the only problem within New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. Quality is a huge problem, and yet, it is never addressed.  Patients are forced to purchase low-grade medical cannabis because there are so few choices, unlike in other states.

As you know, in February, the Dept. announced the new Rules for the Medical Cannabis Program that permitted plant counts up to 450 plants from the current 150 – potentially tripling the yields available to supply Patient needs. These increased counts cost – $10,000 per year for every 50 plants with a 150 plant minimum ($30,000) and a 450 plant maximum ($90,000)…

That is a very hefty fee and many fear this will be passed on to Patients. Personally, I don’t think so. I think that in fact we will see price reductions. If enough LNPPs increase their plant counts, in my opinion, there will be excess supply and with that a competitive market will emerge that should reduce pricing and benefit Patients…

For almost every year that the program has been in existence, producers have been claiming that the prices will go down.  (That last time the plant count was raised, it was supposed to result in a decrease in price for patients.)  They continue to be wrong, but here is yet another prediction which is now forever on the internet, so in the future, we can look back and continue to see why this program is so messed up.

In order to get a handle on that, I put out a survey to all LNPPs. The response was surprising to me and to the Dept. Of the 23 current LNPPs, 20 responded. Below is the data that was transmitted to DoH:
20 of the 23 LNPPs responded
13 expect to renew for 450 plants
2 expect to renew for 300 plants
1 expects to renew for 200 plants
4 expect to renew for 150 plants

How many of these dispensaries are producing quality medicine?  All of these calculations presuppose that each producer is producing the kind of cannabis that patients need, want, and are willing to pay a lot of money for.  As with the issue of adequate supply, the powers that be, the ones making all the rules, continue to be wrong.  But the producers and the DOH aren’t the ones suffering from all of these back-of-the-envelope calculations.  No, it’s the patients with chronic, debilitating medical conditions who are the ones that have to suffer.

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