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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., July 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ultra Health, New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company, leads all 34 cannabis producers with $9.2 million in patient revenue for the first six months of 2019. Total patient sales in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program reached $59.5 million for the first six months of 2019, according to data submitted by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH).
Ultra Health has continued its dominating lead in the state’s medical cannabis program and plans to invest more capital for expansion efforts statewide. The provider is a committed, economic growth driver with 17 stores and more than 150 employees in New Mexico. Ultra Health has already expended $3.5 million in capital for the first half of the year and will continue its efforts with the completion of a $7.2 million capital expansion project by year end.
The first six months patient revenues represent an increase of 17% over the same period in 2018. Patient revenues are increasing at half the rate of patient enrollment, which grew by 35% from June 2018 to June 2019. The spread between patient sales and enrollment has widened more than ever in 2019, indicating patients are unable to buy product on the regulated market and are forced into the black market for their needs.
SIX MONTH BREAKDOWN
Ultra Health’s patient sales were ahead of all other cannabis producers for the 12th consecutive quarter, finishing the first six months of 2019 with $9.2 million in retail revenue. This represents an increase of 20% over last year.
Five producers were responsible for driving 76% of the industry’s growth. Sixteen providers outperformed the industry’s 17% growth rate while thirteen fell below industry pace.
At the end of the six month period there remained 34 licensed cannabis producers. One license was revoked during the period, two licensees have suspended retail operations for more than one year and one provider has never served patients since being licensed in 2015. Finally, two prominent licensees combined operations and locations, effectively making their 2018 sales incomparable to 2019 data. Today, four out of 34 providers do not serve patients directly with retail locations.
The top five providers with comparable sales in 2018 and 2019 reported the following revenue:
|6 Month||Increase over 6-months 2018|
|Revenue||$ Increase||% Increase|
ULTRA EXPANSION PROJECT
In the first six months of 2019 alone, Ultra Health has contributed $3.5 million in expansion initiatives including investments in cultivation and production capacity, tenant improvement projects, build-to-suit construction projects, retail network expansions, and other capital outlays.
Ultra Health is also heavily involved in New Mexico’s hemp industry. The provider is currently cultivating a combined 872,000 square feet of hemp at its Bernalillo and Tularosa campuses.
By the end of 2019, Ultra Health will operate 30 dispensary locations and employ more than 250 New Mexicans. The provider’s capital expansion project will total $7.2 million, more than any other medical cannabis provider has invested in the New Mexico cannabis industry.
“In a state where investment is much needed but sorely lacking, Ultra Health is fulfilling its commitment toward ensuring a robust statewide cannabis market,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “Providing cannabis that is the highest and safest quality, the most affordable to New Mexico families and always convenient and readily available is our top priority.”
MEDICAL CANNABIS EXPANSION
The Medical Cannabis Program has seen exponential enrollment in the program year over year. There were 74,100 patients as of June 30, 2019, an increase of 35% over June 2018. The program is expected to see even more growth in the coming months, as changes to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act go into effect and new conditions have been added to the program.
During the last Legislative session, The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act was changed for the first time since its inception in 2007, effectively establishing medical cannabis use as the equivalent to any other medication. The updates will cause enrollment in the program to surge, as the changes removed the residency requirement for qualified patients, added workplace protections for medical cannabis users, allowed medical cannabis to be administered on school grounds, and more.
Enrollment is also likely to increase after NMDOH added six new qualifying conditions to the program in June including opioid use disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Friedrech’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
The program is expected to exceed 80,000 patients and $125 million in patient sales by the end of the year.
While patient enrollment has increased by 35% over the last year, patient sales continue to lag behind at just 17% year over year. The increasing gap between patient sales and enrollment indicates patients are being pushed into the black market for their medical cannabis needs.
Increased dependence on the black market can be primarily attributed to a lack of available medicine, artificially high prices, and scant patient purchase limits in the statewide regulated market. Forcing patients into the black market, rather than promulgating accessible regulations for qualified patients, poses several public safety risks for patients and the general public alike.
NMDOH is engaged in a rulemaking process concerning plant count, LECUA changes, and other regulatory issues. Changes are being proposed to 7.34.2 NMAC, 7.34.3 NMAC, and 7.34.4 NMAC. The first public hearing over the proposed rules was held July 12, 2019. The report covering the public hearing is expected to be released on August 1, 2019.
Ultra Health is New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company and the largest vertically integrated medical cannabis provider in the United States. The provider currently operates 17 dispensary locations statewide, with another 13 stores slated to open by year end. Ultra Health provides unparalleled medical cannabis care by producing accurately dosed, smokeless cannabis products such as sublingual tablets, oils, pastilles, suppositories and more through its partnership with Israeli pharmaceutical group Panaxia. Ultra Health has been on the forefront of patient-rights issues and continues to fight for adequate supply and rural access in the New Mexico medical cannabis market.
Marissa Novel 480-404-6699
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