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Proposed drive-thru pot dispensary rejected

A plan by one of New Mexico's medical pot producers to open a drive-thru dispensary has been rejected by the state Health Department. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

A plan by one of New Mexico’s medical pot producers to open a drive-thru dispensary has been rejected by the state Health Department. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

One of the state’s new medical pot producers wants to open New Mexico’s first drive-thru cannabis dispensary, but health officials nixed the idea Wednesday.

Organtica had planned to open the drive-thru this year at its first dispensary location in Albuquerque to better serve patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, said David C. Romero White, Organtica’s president.

PTSD patients often say they are uncomfortable jostling with crowds in retail stores, White said.

The state Department of Health “said that wasn’t something they would consider at this time,” he said.

“We think it’s a good service that needs to be brought to the patients,” White said. Organtica “will work with the Department of Health and figure out what they have an objection to, and work to resolve it.”

David Morgan, a spokesman for the Department of Health, cited safety concerns for the agency’s decision.

“We have not approved any requests for drive-up window dispensing out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the patients and the (dispensary) employees,” Morgan said in a written statement.

News reports show that drive-thru dispensaries operate in other states, including Oregon and Michigan.

Organtica is one of 12 new nonprofit cannabis producers licensed last year by the Department of Health, bringing to 35 the total number of state-licensed producers.

The nonprofit plans to open its first dispensary by October at 4001 Menaul NE.

It plans to open a second dispensary in Silver City after Jan. 1.

Organtica has developed six proprietary strains of cannabis that are most effective for controlling symptoms of PTSD and chronic pain, White said.

PTSD and chronic pain are two of the 22 medical conditions that allow people to qualify for a state-issued identification card that lets them legally buy medical cannabis.

Patients with PTSD and chronic pain accounted for a majority of the 26,568 medical cannabis cardholders enrolled in June, nearly twice the 14,000 enrolled a year earlier.

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