They're not searchable on WeedMaps yet, but by next week, two new cannabis dispensaries in Santa Fe will be open for service for anybody who has a medical card. The introduction of Kure Cannabis, a newly licensed producer, as well as the fourth outlet for Albuquerque-based producer Minerva Canna Group, brings the total number of dispensaries here to seven.
Both dispensaries are located north of Siler Road, continuing a trend of cannabis dispensaries being located on the wealthier side of the city. The team behind Kure Cannabis was one of 12 applicants that received a nonprofit producer license in 2015, and the only one in Santa Fe to receive one. Minerva Canna, meanwhile, has three other locations, but their Santa Fe shop will be its largest.
Located next to Fire and Hops and closer to downtown than any other dispensary, the lobby for Kure Cannabis feels like an herbal apothecary, and the business hadn't yet listed their daily strains for patients to review when we visited. Inside the dispensary, several large panels indicate which colored labels correspond to particular strains. As SFR reported in August, patients who visit dispensaries will generally have to assess for themselves which strains feel best for them, because budtenders are not doctors.
The idea for Kure started with a partnership between two of the dispensary's four owners, Minka Ingersoll and Fredrick Lucas. (Ingersoll declined to name Kure's other co-owners.) The two met after Ingersoll moved back to Santa Fe from Mexico, and Lucas relocated here following completion of a masters program in nutrition and a stint in California's cannabis business.
"I can honestly say that Fred and I got into the industry because we were looking for a way to make a difference in our community," Ingersoll says. "The universe gave us this. We're going to go full force with this."
The couple has a background in business: Ingersoll owned a clothing line and oversaw the manufacture of clothing in India that was later distributed in Mexico, the US and Canada, while Lucas founded a food production business that made healthy food. They both say they hope to eventually invest the "residual money" their dispensary makes into community-based initiatives in Santa Fe, such as a sustainable farm project that would supply produce to local schools.
"We are comfortable to say we have a good relationship with the city, and we've kind of been transparent [about] the industry with the city, and that makes them comfortable because they didn't really know anything. So that puts light on our industry in a good way," Ingersoll says.
The other new dispensary opening within city limits, Minerva, is in the building that once held Thai Vegan on Cerrillos Road. The Southeast Asian decorations that once greeted patrons have all been cleared, the walls are now painted white, and slick glass panels with leafy art adorn the space. When SFR visited the space this week, workers were installing cabinetry and a team of chefs were making several large trays of gummies, pastries and other sweets.
The size of the former Thai restaurant, says owner Erik Briones, will allow Minerva's Santa Fe location—which he claims is the largest dispensary by square foot in the state—to offer novel services, including a massage room where a masseuse will rub your back with cannabis-infused oils. He's also considering installing a gummy candy maker that can make "thousands" of gummies an hour.
“That idea needs to be investigated a little deeper, because our bakery, although it’s extremely efficient and busy, is also running out of space,” says Briones, who also owns dispensaries in Las Cruces, Albuquerque and Bernalillo. “And when we go into production to wholesale [edibles] to other producers, we might need additional equipment that can produce more and faster.”
The backstories of both dispensaries illustrate how well-resourced you need to be if you plan on starting a cannabis enterprise in New Mexico. Ingersoll sold her international business before moving back to the states. Briones, meanwhile, owned a line of garden centers in Albuquerque before diving into cannabis, and started out with "a couple thousand dollars" before re-investing his profits to expand his weed fiefdom over the last seven years.
The grand opening of Kure Cannabis is Saturday Dec. 16, though you can already go by and purchase medicine right now. Minerva, meanwhile, will be open within one week, according to Briones.
220 N Guadalupe St., 930-5339
1710 Cerrillos Road, minervacanna.com