State Cannabis Chief Quits

New Mexico says goodbye to the third Cannabis Control Division director since its inception

New Mexico Cannabis Control Division Acting Director Andrew Vallejos has submitted his resignation and will finish out the rest of the month.

Bernice Geiger, a spokeswoman for CCD and the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department, confirmed Vallejos’ resignation in an email to SFR Tuesday afternoon.

In a March 21 letter to Teresa Casados, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s chief operating officer, Vallejos offered little else besides the fact he is leaving.

“I am writing to inform you that my last day at RLD will be March 31, 2023,” Vallejos wrote. “Please note that I will be out on leave most of the week of March 27-31.”

Vallejos’ departure also means a vacant position within the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, as he was serving as director of both that and the cannabis division. While alcohol has long been in the RLD purview, the cannabis division kicked off for oversight of cannabis producers, manufacturers, retailers, couriers, and testing and research laboratories with a state law adopted in 2021 that allows broad adult use of the plant. Before that, the state’s Medical Cannabis Program regulated growers and patient registries under the health department. Now the health department only deals with the patient end of things.

Vallejos took the reins from Carolina Barrera in August 2022. She had been appointed to the position after the division’s first director Kristen Thomson resigned just several months into the job. Thomson, who had moved to New Mexico from Colorado for the position after working as a lobbyist, took a job with Weeds, a consulting firm co-owned by Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.

Vallejos did not return a call or email from SFR before publication time.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story did not identify the “acting” part of Vallejos’ job title and has been corrected.

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