With legal recreational-use cannabis sales scheduled to start this Friday, questions still remain as to whether the state will see a shortage of medical cannabis, and whether those possible shortages will emerge within days, weeks or months after sales begin.
While state regulators have somewhat downplayed the possibility of cannabis shortages while also implementing emergency rules to temporarily increase production, many in the medical cannabis industry say they are sure there will be shortages. But opinions vary when it comes to how severe those shortages will be.
Duke Rodriguez, the president and CEO of Ultra Health, one of the most prolific and arguably the most publicly visible cannabis producers in the state, has long warned that production limits would lead to a cannabis shortage when adult-use sales start on Friday. For years the Medical Cannabis Program, overseen by the New Mexico Department of Health, limited producers to 450 plants. Eventually, that number was changed to 1,750 and now many producers are allowed to have up to 20,000 mature plants. But Rodriguez said the damage of long-time production restrictions has already been done but that his company is in a better position than many others.
“I don’t have time for ‘I told you so,’” Rodriguez said of likely being proven right.