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N.M. Faces Medical Marijuana Shortage

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Strict licensing and regulation of New Mexico’s medical-marijuana distribution has led to chronic shortages in supply of the drug, the Associated Press reported July 16.

Only 11 growers have been approved in the three years since the state enacted its medical-marijuana law. These must service around 2,000 registered patients, with each grower limited to a maximum of 95 plants and seedlings.

One grower in Santa Fe reported a patient list of 650 — five times his production capacity.

The program is being expanded slowly and purposefully, according to State Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil, and New Mexico has been held up as a model for strict medical-marijuana implementation. Letting growers expand too quickly would feed the illegal market, Vigil said.

Part of New Mexico’s problem is that the distribution program started slowly: no producers were approved until 2009, and all 11 growers have been approved in the last 16 months.

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