Court Slaps Down Department of Health Regulations

A huge decision has just come down from the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe, New Mexico regarding the medical cannabis program’s plant count limits. The Court determined that the plant count limit of 450 plants, as set by the Department of Health, was arbitrary and capricious, and the Department would be *enjoined from enforcing the same
moving forward.

The Court determined that the 450 plant count was contrary to the Department’s obligation to ensure an adequate supply, and thus contrary to law. The court advised that the Department’s plant count may not be simply based on outdated and unrelated data in such a manner and means as to violate the Legislature’s directive to provide adequate supplies of cannabis to patients in New Mexico.

The Court further determined that the Department of Health’s limitation on plants for non-profit producers in New Mexico was arbitrary, capricious and based on outdated data. Further, the plant count limitation prevented and impeded the purpose of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, which is the statute that created the medical cannabis program in New Mexico.

The Department of Health’s arbitrary plant count limitation was found to violate the Department’s duty and obligations to ensure all patients in New Mexico who are enrolled in the medical cannabis program have access to an adequate supply of medical cannabis. The Court also stated that the Department of Health had remained static in its production supply limit when it was delegated to adjust to the changing circumstances of its medical product.

The Court also declared that the Department’s reliance on the fear of Federal government intervention in New Mexico’s cannabis program may not be the sole basis for the plant count limitation, and that the Department may not overrule portions of the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act which provides for adequate supply by such restrictive and unsupported plant count regulation.

*The injunction was stayed for 120 days to give the Department an opportunity to amend their rules and regulations to comply with Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.