ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A massive backlog of medical pot card applications is causing problems for patients and providers.
The New Mexico Department of Health has received 10,000 applications within the last year for the popular program, but a local provider says they are dealing with upset patients daily. They say the patients are frustrated with the delays, sometimes lasting for months.
These days Patrick Gifford and his team at Zia Health and Wellness are constantly picking up the phone, hearing from frustrated patients.
“We have at least 20 to 30 calls a day that we receive and I simply have to give them the number to the Department of Health,” Gifford said.
The problem? A 60 day wait for patients to get their medical cannabis cards from the state.
The backlog has left medical pot providers like Zia Health and Wellness in Northeast Albuquerque in a helpless position.
“This is frustrating cause we try to provide… quality service and a lot of the time the patients don’t understand that it’s not our facility that does the processing of the cards,” Gifford said.
But, he says when patients call the Department of Health, they’re basically told they simply have to wait.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the department, which says it hopes to have the backlog reduced in the near future.
In the meantime, the department is encouraging people submit their applications 60 days before their card expires to avoid enrollment gaps.
The department also says people need to double check and make sure they’re submitting complete applications so they’re not slowing down the process for others.
“This should not inhibit [or cause] anybody to not want to get their cannabis card,” Gifford said.
The Department of Health says it’s still working on adding more staff members to get the application backlog under control.