cannabis legalization task force established by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has released some details of its discussions to the media. Kelly O’Donnell, an economist and consultant who has studied the market, told participants New Mexico should expect increased tourism especially from red states like Texas and Oklahoma.
She estimated the annual revenue for state and local governments could hit $120 million in five years, well beyond what legislative analysts estimated earlier this year. The actual market, of course, would depend on the tax structure and a variety of regulatory decisions, O’Donnell said. O’Donnell said that if legalization is approved, New Mexico policymakers should consider how to tap into the Texas market without violating interstate commerce laws and while maintaining health and safety protections. Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel noted that other states that legalized recreational marijuana have experienced drops in enrollment in their medical programs. New Mexico could also encourage medical consumers to stay in the program by exempting their purchases from the taxes levied on recreational consumers. [Albuquerque Journal]Speaker of the New Mexico House Brian Egolf not only supports legalization for all adults he serves as legal counsel for the state's therapeutic cannabis leader, Ultra Health. Calling itself "New Mexico's No. 1 cannabis company" Big Dope Ultra just opened facilities in Clayton near the borders with Texas and Oklahoma. Keeping the industry from the clutches of a monopoly has been contentious. The concessions to insure the longevity of therapeutic cannabis are seen as a nod to Ultra. Enrollment in the state's therapeutic cannabis program has gone over 76,000 patients.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office has filed a motion in First Judicial District Court to intervene in a lawsuit by out-of-state residents who say they should be allowed to participate in the state’s Medical Cannabis Program. [Santa Fe New Mexican]Colorado shafted her medical growers to expand the industry there but her black market is still thriving. Black market cannabis not tested by the state makes America and New Mexico less safe.
“So I think the race is on,” said Jeremy Kapteyn, a patent attorney focusing on marijuana law. He’s happy about the shift. He says it’s one way if normalizing this emerging industry. But “there's going to be winners and losers,” he said. “It's not a merit-based system. It's whoever's first and has the most money.” In other words, capitalism in action. [KRCC: "There Will Be Winners And Losers" In the Marijuana Patent Race]It's the view of this interested party that growers should be able to market their product like vineyards have tasting rooms and breweries have tap rooms but allowing state-owned stores will only give the government control over the various strains. The State of New Mexico should offer incentives to tribes, pueblos and others for organic cannabis grown with off-grid sources of electricity and rainwater harvest. Also, edibles should only be dispensed by pharmacists, all grows and product offered for public sale, including cannabidiol or CBD, should be inspected by the state.