Last week the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) announced that patients enrolled in the Medical Cannabis Program may now access their enrollment cards on their mobile device.

According to RLD, patients can access their card information through the online patient portal. This electronic card will be accepted at all medical cannabis dispensaries. Thanks to the new electronic system, patients will no longer need to wait for a physical card to arrive in the mail. Instructions for enrolling in the online patient portal can be found at mcp-patient-tracking.nmhealth.org.

The department says that additional changes are on the way for the Patient Portal and that the RLD wants to move to a fully online enrollment system in the future.

Cashless ATMs In Danger

A popular workaround for dispensaries looking to sell cannabis to consumers who use debit cards is the utilization of cashless ATMs. But service providers are reportedly shutting down cannabis companies’ access to their systems.

Due to federal anti-money laundering laws, banks and financial institutions are prohibited from working with cannabis companies. This means that many marijuana retailers have to operate as cash-only businesses. To work around this, some have adopted cashless ATMs—known as “point of banking” systems that treat a debit card as cash. These systems are believed to have moved $7 billion from banks to cannabis companies in 2022.

Bloomberg reports that some of the largest processors of ATM transactions have shut off access to their systems at dispensaries around the country. Both small cannabis retailers and large chains in Arizona, California and Massachusetts have reported outages in recent weeks.

Payment-technology provider Posabit Systems Corp. Chief Executive Officer Ryan Hamlin estimates that 80 percent of the industry has been cut off from cashless ATM services.

A year ago, VISA announced that using its services for cashless ATMs at cannabis retailers was prohibited. “Everyone knew it was kind of a gray area, and over the last 12 to 18 months there’s been more of a microscope on the issue,” Hamlin said.

Secretary of Health Looks to Science

The head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says the Biden administration will be using advanced cannabis research to make an informed decision about the scheduling of cannabis in the federal list of controlled substances.

President Joe Biden requested that the HHS begin the process of reviewing cannabis for rescheduling in October. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra was asked about the administration’s plans for decriminalizing cannabis at an event while discussing overdose prevention.

The HHS head said that the department would not be in charge of policy changes but would be advising the administration based on “what science tells us and what the evidence tells us.”