Medical marijuana is becoming more and more popular, both in terms of political support as well as the number of people using it. But it turns out it's really popular in New Mexico.
The New Mexico Department of Health announced that from December 2016 to November 2017, the state added 19,650 patients to its medical marijuana program, for a grand total of 45,347 patients. That's a 77 percent increase in patients in just one year. This growth represented the highest percentage and numerical increase since the program's inception in 2007.
The Department of Health says that the state's medical marijuana program continues to exceed expectations and show strong growth. They expect the program to hit 50,000 patients before the year ends.
Last month a study conducted by the University of New Mexico found that patients enrolled in the state's medical marijuana program were able to stop or reduce their opioid use far more effectively than people who were not. The study noted that New Mexico is a state that's being particularly hard hit by America's opioid crisis, but the increasing number of people entering the state's medical marijuana program could help fix that in the long run.
Could the increase number of people buying into the medical marijuana industry mean that New Mexico could possibly consider legalizing recreational cannabis in the near future? There haven't been any attempts made yet, but that's always a possibility.
(h/t Albuquerque Journal)