New Mexico proposes doubling cannabis plant counts for cultivators

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Marijuana cultivators in New Mexico would be allowed to grow more than twice the number of plants currently allowed if changes proposed by the state’s newly created Cannabis Control Division are adopted.

Under current proposed rules for the state’s impending recreational marijuana program, cultivators can have up to 4,500 plants at one time, but regulators recently proposed increasing that number to 8,000 plants.

Under the plan, growers also could apply for increases of 500 plants at a time, with a total cap of 10,000 plants, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The proposal was made in response to concerns that there might not be enough recreational cannabis for consumers when adult-use sales begin in New Mexico, likely in early 2022.

Cannabis Public Policy Consulting in Massachusetts estimated New Mexico will need 2,007-3,756 plants per producer during the first year of legal sales, according to the newspaper.

The Cannabis Control Division, an arm of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, also set a $10-per-plant fee for all marijuana producers. The initial draft of the rules sought fees of $22 per plant.

Large producers will continue to pay a $2,500 operational fee yearly, the New Mexican reported, and microbusinesses would pay $500 or $1,000 annually based on plant count.

New Mexico regulators face a Sept. 1 deadline to put in place final regulations for cultivators.

The state has not made public the draft regulations for cannabis retailers, testing labs or manufacturers.