Since New Mexico launched its adult-use marijuana market April 1, dispensaries have made a lot of money, bringing in about $8 million in revenue. And while this is great for the industry and the state, medical marijuana patients have been struggling to find the products to treat their conditions.
NBC affiliate KOB News spoke with several of these patients, most of whom are feeling forgotten and mistreated by their own state.
“I don’t do it to party. I don’t do it to go out and dance. I don’t get high. I don’t laugh. I do it because it makes my pain go away,” said one patient who’s been using medical marijuana to treat her anxiety. “They’re telling us we should keep our cards even though it’s recreational. For what reason? What are we getting? What perks are we getting? We don’t get to get in line in front of anybody, we don’t get to pay less prices, we don’t get better weed. No, we get nothing,” she said.
She explained that for medicinal purposes she can only use indica strains and that dispensaries were out of it, having sold it to recreational users. “If they’re supposed to be holding some back for patients, they should be holding some back for every single thing they have per patient,” she said.
While there are medical-only dispensaries, these locations are rare and will likely disappear with the passage of time due to the profitability of recreational weed.
Some dispensaries have worked around this issue by separating medical from recreational products. “We wanted to, you know, take into account that there might be a frustration level with our loyal patients who didn’t want to contend with long lines, because they knew what they wanted,” said Ellie Besancon, executive director of Green Goods dispensaries.
Dispensaries are always supposed to have products for their medical patients, but the past two weeks have proved to be an awakening for most of these businesses, providing them with an unprecedented influx of consumers. The kinks will likely resolve with some time, but it’s important for the state to make rules to speed the process along and provide support to the customers who need it most.