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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., June 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) added six new qualifying conditions for medical cannabis on Thursday, effectively raising the total number of conditions to 28.
New Mexicans diagnosed with opioid use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Friedrech’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy will now be allowed to ease the symptoms of their condition with medical cannabis. This is the first time new conditions have been added to the program in six years.
“We need to explore and pursue every available means of responding to the health and wellness needs of our neighbors here in New Mexico,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said in an NMDOH release. “Compassion must guide our decision-making. Today marks an important and long-overdue step forward after too many years of status quo.”
The addition of new qualifying conditions will propel patient enrollment to new heights. As of May 31, 2019, there were 73,350 patients in the program, an increase of 37% over May 2018. The program will likely exceed 80,000 cardholders by year end.
“Adding these conditions to the Medical Cannabis Program provides medical providers new tools for relieving symptoms that may otherwise be difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to relieve through conventional means,” said Secretary Kunkel. “Thousands of New Mexicans may find relief from their symptoms through medical cannabis that they can’t get anywhere else.”
A recent NMDOH survey found that 63% of all New Mexicans know someone who is or has been addicted to opioids. According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, 41,000 New Mexicans live with the condition.
On March 1, 2019, NMDOH implemented a temporary Emergency Rule to retroactively address the historically inadequate supply of medical cannabis statewide. The department has yet to hold or schedule any public hearings to discuss the finalization of a permanent rule on plant count.
“It is always excellent news when more New Mexicans are legally allowed to find relief with medical cannabis,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “However, while the department recognizes its duty in expanding access to those with qualifying conditions, it must simultaneously address the historical and ongoing lack of adequate medicine statewide and insufficient patient purchase limits. The need for more plants will only be exacerbated if the department continues to ignore the medical care needs of tens of thousands of New Mexicans.”
Marissa Novel 480-404-6699