NM weighing cannabis profits with local control

The Santa Fe Reporter's Peter St. Cyr won a lawsuit that opened New Mexico's cannabis growers to journalism's watchdog spotlight saying the state's Department of Health was violating public records law by keeping producers’ names secret.

He and this blog follow each other on Twitter.
New Mexico cannabis producers are required to operate as nonprofits, but the model is more of a myth than a reality. Late last month, Ultra Health opened its fifth state location in the back of a self-described hippie smoke shop in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill neighborhood. In February, the company announced plans to construct two medical cannabis facilities and a cultivation and production facility for the Paiute Tribe in Las Vegas, Nev. The firm says it also hopes to announce deals with New Mexico tribes in the future and just last week sent out a press release about a research project in partnership with an Israeli company.
Fruit of the Earth Organics founders Lyra and Juan Barron run a debt-free family operation and insist they’re not interested in shared management companies or outside capital. Lyra says the nonprofit requirement keeps the focus on patient service rather than profit goals, “which is really a greed factor.” “It’s like a gold rush, and rather disheartening and disappointing, but then that’s the trend everywhere,” she says. “What a crazy world, where helping an epidemic of people trying to recover from sicknesses predominantly caused by environmental and food toxicity is used to create another profit industry.” [excerpt, St. Cyr, Growing Pains: How money flows from a nonprofit cannabis producer in Santa Fe to a for-profit Arizona company]
In my view Colorado shafted her medical growers to expand the industry there; also, edibles should only be available to patients suffering from debilitating diseases, disorders or conditions, be dispensed by pharmacists and taxed like other prescriptions.

Local control is essential to keeping profits from legal cannabis out of the hands of Big Dope and working for the states' stakeholders where it's legal.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is running for president as a Libertarian. In a Politico interview about the Veep rumors swirling around current Gov. Susana Martinez:
"This is a Sarah Palin-esque kind of choice. She’s served as governor of New Mexico for about the same amount of time,” Johnson said. “I think there were lessons learned [from 2008]."
His contention that legal cannabis can reverse rates of opioid overdose deaths is being borne out by new data. Cannabis is no longer listed as a gateway drug on the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) website.

Tight control of the cannabis industry is the only way legislatures will legalize. Vermont's is struggling to find compromise even as favorite son, Bernie Sanders used legalization in part to capture the win in Wisconsin's presidential primary.

As the Drug Enforcement Administration ponders the descheduling of cannabis it's time to enter compacts with the tribes and pueblos, let them distribute on the rez, on off-reservation properties and let local growers market in the town of Las Vegas where revenue could be generated for historic preservation.

1 comment:

larry kurtz said...

Update, 13 April, 0600 MDT, Ultra Health and the industry gave $13,500 to New Mexico House Majority Leader Republican Nate Gentry: Santa Fe New Mexican.