SANTA FE (AP) – New Mexico Health Secretary Retta Ward says New Mexico has seen a significant jump in the number of patients participating in the state’s medical marijuana program over the past year.

Ward testified Tuesday before the Legislative Finance Committee in Santa Fe. She told lawmakers about 18,000 people are enrolled in the program, an increase of about 7,000 since the beginning of the year.

Ward attributed the increase to changes made earlier this year.

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Chelo Rivera ~ KRQE