There’s a medical marijuana boom in New Mexico in the first quarter of 2016, raking in about $10M in sales. (Denver Post file)

Sales skyrocket for New Mexico’s medical marijuana industry

The number of medical marijuana patients has also tripled since 2015 – jumping to 55,000 registered patient licenses.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The medical marijuana industry is growing in New Mexico.

Several licensed growers are expected to open new facilities as well as dispensaries in the coming months, which would mean a boost in jobs and the economy, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

About $3 million in compensation and salaries was paid out by dispensaries and marijuana growers in the first quarter of 2016. That’s an increase from $2.3 million in the same time frame last year. The number of licensed New Mexico patients who bought medical marijuana legally has tripled from last year’s first quarter to more than 55,000. First-quarter sales went from $5.7 million in 2015 to $10 million this year.

Organtica President David C. Romero White says he predicts growth will continue at the same fast pace.

The state health department licensed a dozen nonprofit groups last year to set up growing facilities and dispensaries.

Romero White said his group was one of them.

“We’re all trying to get our production facilities up and running,” he said. “It’s very tough – especially for the producers who are outside the Albuquerque market – and a little slow.”

The Verdes Foundation was among the dozen to be licensed last year, and its owners say they’re trying to keep up with demand. It sees about 300 patients daily at its current facility, with plans to open a second location this month that’s about four times the size of its Albuquerque dispensary.

There are 23 licensed producers operating 37 dispensaries around the state.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal