NM cannabis producer sues state, claims retaliation

A prominent New Mexico medical cannabis producer filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the state Department of Health, alleging the department violated a previous court order and discriminated against the company regarding cannabis plant limits.  

Albuquerque-based attorney Jacob Candelaria, who is also a New Mexico state senator, filed the motion on behalf of Ultra Health, a medical cannabis company that has previously taken the state to court numerous times. In the motion, which effectively reopened a previous lawsuit against the state, Candelaria argued that the Department of Health, which oversees the state’s Medical Cannabis Program, failed to obey a court order that plant limits for medical cannabis producers be based on reliable data and that the department discriminated against Ultra Health specifically. 

The case that was reopened was originally filed in 2016 and argued that the state’s then-limit of 450 plants was not enough to provide an adequate supply of medical cannabis to the more than 26,000 medical cannabis patients at the time. In November 2018 a state district judge ordered the state’s Department of Health to come up with a data-based plant limit for medical cannabis producers by March 2019. 

With five days until the state’s deadline, then Secretary of Health Kathyleen Kunkel sent an email to Jane Wishner, a policy advisor for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, about the department’s next steps in coming up with a data-driven limit on cannabis plants. The email chain began with the former director of the Medical Cannabis Program explaining that New Mexico seemed to be the only state with a medical cannabis program that used plant counts as a limit, opposed to facility size. Wishner, in reply, contemplated taking a look at the state’s medical cannabis law and coming up with a temporary plant limit for producers.

DOH: 1,684 new COVID-19 cases and 41 deaths

The state Department of Health reported 1,684 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 41 additional deaths related to the disease. Bernalillo County had the most newly reported cases on Thursday, with 434. Four other counties had 100 or more new cases: San Juan County with 196; Sandoval County with 121; Doña Ana and Lea counties with 118. On Thursday, the department reported 803 individuals were hospitalized for COVID-19, an increase of 11 people since Wednesday. This could include those from other states who are hospitalized in New Mexico, but would not include New Mexicans who are hospitalized out of state.

Reset helped but recent ‘uptick’ worrisome, officials say

Although cases of COVID-19 dropped due to what Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham calls the “reset,” she encouraged the state to “stay the course” through the holidays. New Mexico Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase, who joined Lujan Grisham remotely for the press conference aired over social media Wednesday, said the “reset really did work.”

“We flattened the curve. It got flat. We know the reset helped a great deal and Thanksgiving helped because people were less mobile,” he said. But, Scrase said, the state is seeing an uptick, which he called “worrisome.”

“We cannot take on another 100 patients at this point in time.

Tenth straight day of 1,200+ COVID-19 cases; 22 more deaths

For the tenth-straight day, the state reported more than 1,200 additional cases on Friday and 22 additional deaths. The number of additional cases reported by the state Department of Health was 1,237 of COVID-19. This brought the total number of deaths in the state to 1,198 and the total number of cases to 62,006. The state Department of Health released the following information about the deaths:

A female in her 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A second female in her 70s from Bernalillo County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of The Rio Las Estancias in Albuquerque. A female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A second female in her 80s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 60s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 80s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 50s from Cibola County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 40s from Cibola County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 50s in Cibola County who was hospitalized and was an inmate at Northwest New Mexico Correctional Center in Cibola County.A female in her 40s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 50s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 80s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 90s from Doña Ana County who had underlying conditions was a resident of Calibre Sagecrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Las Cruces facility.A male in his 80s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. The individual was a resident of the The Arbors of Del Rey in Las Cruces facility.A second male in his 80s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.

387 cases reported of COVID-19 Thursday with three related deaths

The state reported 387 cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths related to the disease. Bernalillo County reported 101 cases. Other counties with double digit numbers include: Curry County, with 65; Dona Ana County, with 57; Chaves County with 25; Santa Fe County with 20; Eddy County with 14; Sandoval County with 14 and Lea County with 10. New Mexico has now had a total of 31,756 COVID-19 cases. 

The three additional deaths brings the total number of deaths to 899. The state Department of Health provided the following information about the three deaths related to the disease:

A female in her 50s from Doña Ana County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A female in her 90s from Eddy County who was a resident of the Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad.A female in her 70s from Luna County who was hospitalized.

Number of people hospitalized up 30 percent in one week, state announced 227 new cases Thursday

The state announced 227 additional cases of COVID-19 and five new related deaths during a news conference. The five additional deaths related to the disease brings that number to 882 total. The state Department of Health reported only the following information provided below on the five mortalities related to the disease. A female in her 30s from Bernalillo County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 70s from Doña Ana County who had underlying conditions.A female in her 70s from Eddy County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Lakeview Christian Home in Carlsbad.A male in his 20s from Rio Arriba County who had underlying conditions.A male in his 60s from Santa Fe County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. DOH does not disclose which underlying condition any of the deceased had, only if one was present.

178 cases of COVID-19 in NM reported Tuesday and two deaths in Eddy County

The state Department of Health announced 178 additional cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and two related deaths. This brought the number of total cases to 29,157. There are 80 individuals who were currently hospitalized. That is an increase of four since Monday. Of those who were hospitalized, 14 were on ventilators, Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during a webinar Tuesday.

A fourth straight day of more than 200 cases of COVID-19 Saturday

For the fourth day in a row the state announced more than 200 cases of COVID-19. The state Department of Health reported 206 cases Saturday of the disease and five additional deaths related to the respiratory illness. DOH has now found 28,692 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.The number of deaths of New Mexico residents related to COVID-19 is now at 870. The state provided only the minimal information listed below regarding the deceased on Saturday:

A male in his 80s from Chaves County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions.A male in his 80s from Curry County who was hospitalized.A male in his 60s from McKinley County who had underlying conditions.A male in his 80s from Sandoval County who had underlying conditions and was a resident of the Rio Rancho Center facility.A female in her 50s from San Juan County who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. There were seven counties that reported double digit numbers Saturday.

100 new cases and 3 additional deaths related to COVID-19

On Saturday, the state Department of Health announced 100 additional cases of COVID-19 and three additional related deaths. Doña Ana County had the highest increase in cases, with 19. The other counties with double digit numbers were Bernalillo, with 14 additional cases, and Chaves, with 11 additional cases. The three additional mortalities were all men. One male in his 60s had been hospitalized and had underlying conditions and was a resident of Camino Healthcare in Albuquerque.

DOH: 139 new cases and two deaths related to COVID-19

The state Department of Health reported 139 additional cases of COVID-19 and two new related deaths to the disease Saturday. The two deaths were both Bernalillo County residents. One was a male in his 50s who was hospitalized and had underlying conditions. He was a resident of Las Palomas Center. The other mortality was a female in her 80s and she was a resident of Spanish Trails Rehabilitation Suites.