After an extended search for a full-time director, the New Mexico office of the Drug Policy Alliance has found one: former Aging and Long-Term Services Department Director of Policy and Planning Emily Kaltenbach.

“I’m absolutely excited to be joining DPA,” Kaltenbach tells SFR. “My background in public health and harm reduction and the work I’ve been doing about health reform—I hope I can bring those to DPA.”

Kaltenbach says she sees the position as “an opportunity for us to focus on health and human rights policies instead of failed policies that tend to focus on the criminal justice system instead of the health care system.”

It may be just in time, too. Although Gov. Susana Martinez has steadfastly opposed the state’s medical cannabis program, at a recent press conference, she made clear that


But Bryan Krumm, a nurse practitioner who had appealed the Department of Health’s decision not to include major depression as a qualifying condition in the program, tells SFR he recently received a final rejection from Catherine Torres, a Las Cruces pediatrician and Martinez’ Health Secretary-designee.

Kaltenbach starts with DPA on Feb. 28.

“I anticipate I’ll be jumping in headfirst,” she says.