Medical marijuana patients see prices increase after legalization of recreational sales

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Less than a week after recreational marijuana sales started in New Mexico and some medical marijuana patients say they’re now having to pay a lot more for their medicine.

KOB 4 spoke with one of those patients who contacted us and looked into what’s going on.

"One big change with a lot of the dispensaries was an increase in the price of products across the board," said Jason Barker, a medical cannabis patient.

Barker is a medical cannabis patient and advocate. Since the start of recreational marijuana sales last Friday, he’s noticed the price of his medicine skyrocket.

"And in some cases products that I would purchase for like $23 would now be $38 and in other instances, I’ve seen products just literally be doubled in price," said Barker.

Barker says he also noticed long lines at dispensaries.

"Some of the patients that are disabled, in a wheelchair, things of that nature it’s gotten a bit more challenging as well," he said.

KOB 4 reached out to the state’s Cannabis Control Division and the Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program for a response to Barker’s concerns.

In a joint statement sent to KOB 4, the agencies said they cannot regulate the price of cannabis:

"The Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program and the Regulations and Licensing Department Cannabis Control Division can report that statewide data show that average medical prices have actually gone down by over 6% since adult-use sales started on Friday. Overall cannabis retailers are taking their responsibility to serve patients seriously."

According to the state’s numbers, on March 29 – before recreational cannabis sales started — the average sales price per item was $22.04. On April 5 – five days after recreational sales started – it dropped to $20.70.

The state also requires the cannabis industry to reserve 20% of its products for patients and increase the amount of medical cannabis patients can buy at one time.

So, it may be time to start shopping around if you’re having trouble with the prices of medical marijuana. The state says it’ll continue to monitor pricing data, and they say that patients with price concerns can report them to the Cannabis Control Division or the state attorney general’s office.