(Forbes) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Some medical marijuana growers in New Mexico say proposed changes to the state’s program, which include new fees imposed on producers, weren’t adequately considered and would destroy small-scale licensed growers.
The agency now proposes an annual fee based on how long a grower has operated, ranging from $5,000 for producers licensed for less than a year up to $30,000 for those licensed for more than three years.
Producers also are upset the state did not propose raising the current limit on the amount of medical marijuana they can have – 95 mature plants and seedlings and enough inventory of medical marijuana to meet the needs of current patients.
Growers contend the limit is not enough to handle the more than 2,800 active patients the state has licensed. New Mexico has 17 growers, six of them licensed just last month.
Producers suggested increasing the limit to 200 plants or more.
Seventeen growers are supposed to handle 2,800 patients? That’s 165 patients per grower. If a grower is limited to 95 plants, then that’s close to four plants for every seven patients… assuming that every 95-plant crop makes it to harvest. There’s no way you can maintain adequate supplies of medicine for patients with those figures.
I understand the 95-plant limit is to avoid federal scrutiny; over 100 plants triggers a mandatory minimum that makes it worthwhile to prosecute. So the only other solution is to allow for more than just 17 licensed growers. That’s going to be much more difficult when on top of the start-up costs for a decent professional grow the applicant has to shell out $5,000 in fees.