According to New Mexico’s Department of Health, the state’s medical marijuana program receives hundreds of patient applications each day. But recent changes to the patient application process have made it even easier to apply for medical cannabis in New Mexico. And thanks to the more straight-forward application, this state now has over 50,000 medical marijuana patients.
New Mexico Streamlines Patient Application Process
On March 19, The New Mexico Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program launched an updated version of its patient application.
The most significant changes reduce the application’s length in half, from four pages to two. Additionally, patients can now fill out the form electronically and print it for signing.
The changes also speed things up for certifying practitioners. Previously, physicians who wanted to make a medical cannabis recommendation had to compose lengthy justifications explaining why they thought medical cannabis would be an effective and appropriate treatment.
Now, however, doctors can just send in medical records with a simple form.
Accessibility has also improved. And that’s important, considering the average age of patients enrolled in the program is 49. Forms are now more legible, easier to read, and include more detailed instructions for patients and practitioners.
Altogether, the changes represent a certifying process that has improved patients’ ability to obtain medical cannabis in New Mexico. And the numbers show it.
At the end of February of this year, New Mexico’s medical marijuana program was serving 49,000 patients. Further, the Medical Cannabis Program certified 99 percent of those applications within the 30-day deadline.
Put simply, New Mexico’s medical cannabis program is running like a well-oiled machine. As a result, this state now has over 50,000 medical marijuana patients.
Medical Cannabis Enrollments Up 46 Percent From 2017
The latest figures from the New Mexico Health Department continue to attest to the success of the program and the efficiency with which it enrolls new patients and caregivers.
At the end of March, exactly 50,954 patients had enrolled in the program and are now receiving medical cannabis treatments.
The most common qualifying condition in New Mexico is post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. According to the Department of Health, nearly half of enrolled patients list PTSD as their qualifying condition.
Interestingly, of the patients who responded to the Veteran Status item on the application form, 13 percent reported having served. PTSD is one of the most serious afflictions affecting U.S. veterans, and many veterans have spoken out in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.
The next two most common qualifying conditions are severe chronic pain and cancer. Advocates of expanding the list of qualifying conditions have submitted a petition to allow medical cannabis treatments aimed at curbing opioid abuse and withdrawal.
State health officials, however, have been reticent to expand the list, which currently includes 21 conditions.
The Final Hit: This State Now Has Over 50,000 Medical Marijuana Patients
According to the AP, the 50,954 mark reflects a 46 percent increase in the number of patients enrolled in New Mexico’s Medical Marijuana Program. And the improved application process will certainly help to enroll more patients and caregivers, expanding the program even further.
“By providing a more straightforward application process, we aim to better serve patients and certifying practitioners,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Lynn Gallagher.