Greetings! We’ve rolled up the recent cannabis news into a tidy package, as per usual. But first, let us remind you that it’s time to play favorites. Final voting in the 2021 Best of Santa Fe reader poll continues through the end of the month. Vote for the Best Dispensary, Best CBD store and neighborhood bests, among other services, retailers and more here.New Mexico’s unemployment rules recently changed to require people to apply for jobs. We’ve got an idea: the burgeoning cannabis industry. While New Mexico’s new Cannabis Control Division vets the potential members of its advisory board, the state is kicking off a hiring blitz for the positions of director, division counsel, deputy director of business operations, business operations call center manager, budget manager, licensing manager and executive assistant. Details on how to apply for the positions are posted on here.Scroll down for more about what’s happening with legalization in New Mexico. Remember that while possession (with limits) becomes legal on June 29, commercial retail sales don’t begin until April 2022.
The Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Board was envisioned by lawmakers to be a large a diverse body that would help craft rules and set policy for adult-use cannabis. New Mexicans answered the call to join law enforcement, public defenders and other appointees. According to a list made public by the new Cannabis Control Division this month, more than 160 people applied to be appointed.
New Mexico cannabis producers in the state’s medical program will have a grace period as the state transitions regulation of the plant at the end of next month from the Department of Health to the Regulation and Licensing Department. Medical Cannabis Program Director Dominick Zurlo issued a statement noting “it makes the most sense to spare the Medical Cannabis Program’s licensed non-profit producers to not have to renew their non-profit renewal paperwork when in the weeks and months ahead, they have to prepare and submit their required administrative paperwork to be licensed to sell cannabis to the general public. RLD’s Cannabis Control Division expects to start accepting applications for a variety of licenses related to growing and producing cannabis products in September.”Last month, we told you about a group of producers for the medical program who said the new state law would allow medical patients to start purchasing greater amounts beginning this summer. The state now asserts those new limits don’t go into effect until April 2022, when commercial sales begin.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is the guest on this episode of the Growing Forward podcast with journalists Andy Lyman and Megan Kamerick. Lujan Grisham gives a shoutout to former Gov. Gary Johnson, who as a Republican at the time and was something as a legal-cannabis pioneer in New Mexico—as governor, Johnson kicked off contemporary discussions and worked for legalization.
Enrollment has boomed in the Northern New Mexico College Cannabis Establishment Technician Course. Mateo Frazier, director of the college’s Arts, Film and Media Department, told the Santa Fe New Mexican the number of registrants for the summer program had grown to more than 130. This spring, 45 students took the first course. College President Rick Bailey said the school is considering expansion into other certificate and degree programs, which could include courses in business, horticulture and holistic medicine.
Around the Nation
Not time yet to bank on it
The US House passed the SAFE Banking Act on April 19, but now it’s a waiting game to see if the measure gets anywhere in the more politically fraught Senate. According to the count by Marijuana Moment, the measure that would protect banks that serve cannabis businesses now has 37 Senate cosponsors, plus its chief sponsor, Jeff Merkley (D-OR). But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is working on a bill to federally legalize cannabis, has made clear that he wants to tackle the issue holistically and end prohibition first, rather than push the banking reform now. Just last week, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she would back Schumer’s measure.
Alabama brings medical cannabis home
Stars fell on Alabama this morning as Gov. Kay Ivey signed a law that establishes a medical cannabis program there—the third state in the Deep South to do so and the 38th in the nation. The state prohibits the sale of smokeable flower and popular edibles and baked goods, but allows patients to purchase THC products with dosage limits.
Social justice falls short
The opportunity to right the wrongs of the drug war by creating social equity in new cannabis industry rules has been a selling point in many states, including New Mexico, where lawmakers took the extra step of mandating the automatic expungement of criminal records for past possession convictions. But, the Associated Press reports that when it comes to letting people of color in the door, so far the goals have far outstripped realities: “The limited statistics available indicate business owners and investors at the top of the booming industry remain overwhelmingly white.” From California to Colorado and New York, states aren’t accomplishing their stated goals. They are making progress toward a more diverse industry, said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, but so far the push for equity has been plagued with a lot of delays and litigation.