Leaf Brief

Leaf Brief: Cann-uary

If you’re an outdoor smoker, come on inside and read what’s new

Happy legislative session, to those who celebrate!

Lawmakers from all over the state descended on Santa Fe last week to do “the people’s work,” and they’ll stick around well into March. It’s easy to forget it’s only been two years since legislators and the governor approved the Cannabis Regulation Act and only about nine months since legal sales began.

We’ll probably see attempts to tweak the CRA for the next few years, at least. This year a big focus will be money and industry equality. State Rep. Andrea Romero, D-Santa Fe, who was instrumental in legalization, this year will take a crack at adjusting how many plants microbusinesses can have at any given time. SFR highlighted some of the issues we will be watching and, of course, cannabis is among them. (Definitely read the whole run-down, but cannabis is at the bottom) A quick refresher: The state’s Cannabis Control Division offers a microbusiness license designed for easier access to the industry. Unlike other pot business licenses, plant limits for micros are enshrined in state law, meaning the CCD can’t adjust them through rules to account for market demand.

Romero’s solution is to allow smaller producers 10% of what larger producers can grow. As of now, larger producers can have up to 20,000 flowering plants and micro producers are limited to 250. Romero also plans to address where to park all that marijuana moola. But, she says, it’s probably still too soon to start earmarking. Instead, she wants to set accounts and further study the best way to spend the cash.

One thing that’s more or less out of lawmakers’ hands: how the CCD enforces rules for cultivation, manufacturing and sales. State law steers clear of specific rules and regulations and leaves the lion’s share up to the division. So far, state regulators are letting businesses correct violations in lieu of hefty fines. That is, of course, unless a company gets busted for selling moldy weed or improperly tracking bags upon bags of cannabis.

On the topic of regulation, one of SFR’s freelancers recently took a good hard look at what regulators are not warning users about, which surprisingly didn’t generate a lot of (or any) hate mail from all you stoners out there.


In case I haven’t mentioned it enough, SFR recently launched its Leaf Brief Podcast, with yours truly in the hosting seat. This month I visited Mateo Frazier, who teaches at Northern New Mexico College, at his home near Ohkay Owingeh to talk about, well, weed. More specifically, he gave me the lowdown on acequias and how best to protect local water systems from giant, out-of-state corporations. If you’ve got an idea for an episode, I’m all ears. If you’re just a fan of podcasts and want to catch episodes when they drop, don’t forget to subscribe.

Equity and numbers

You might remember past briefs or stories from me about equity in the state’s cannabis industry. The Santa Fe New Mexican started the new year with a cool series on how the state is trying to create an even playing field and what equity means to producers. And that industry is going strong, according to the CCD. It looks like New Mexico finished off the year with another month of record-breaking sales—$28 million for adult-use and $15 million for medical sales reported in December. To no one’s surprise, recreational-use sales are still outpacing medical but it the average medical transaction was significantly more than its higher-taxed counterpart.

Across the nation

In “be careful what you wish for” news: California producers have had a real bummer of a time adjusting to state legal-cannabis regulations. Apparently it’s much cheaper to run a weed business without all those pesky licensing fees and taxes.

Some more pesky regulations are probably in store for New York, where recreational sales began earlier this year. Just like alcohol and tobacco—you know all the fun stuff—the cannabis industry is under fire for marketing that appeals to youngsters. New Mexico has its own laws that forbid courting kids, but let’s face it, do any of us really know what appeals to them?

One place you probably won’t find kids is the newest consumption hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, which boasts an entire floor that’s “cannabis friendly.” All I’ll say is I remember a stay at the Mirage in recent years where an entire floor sure smelled cannabis friendly—and that was long before the designation.

Minnesota is one of four states that could see legalized bud this year, so which company will be the first to launch a Minnesota Kind strain?

Lastly, in case you’ve been in a cave for the past several decades, the US is not really the poster child for how to treat military veterans. When it comes to weed, Veterans Affairs doesn’t stray from that trend since using cannabis can lead to a loss of benefits. A Republican congressman from Florida (I was shocked, too) is once again trying to protect veterans who use cannabis from losing their benefits.

Word on the street

I recently came across what I thought was a cool product for weed-heads on the go. Lowell Farms, a California-based company, is not only making little baby joints, but also offering them in a 10-pack, along with a stash of matches and striking surface. Granted, the price per gram is pretty inflated and it looks like something from an Esquire gift guide, but I still dug it .I spotted them at an R. Greenleaf location in Albuquerque, but according to the Lowell website, there are no retailers in New Mexico. R. Greenleaf doesn’t list the Quicks Eighth Packs on its website, either, so you’ll have to do a little sleuthing to find those dapper little prerolls in your area.

In case you’re wondering how a California company sells products in New Mexico with federal laws that prohibit crossing state lines with cannabis: Out-of-state companies often sell licensing rights and packaging to local stores, and what you’re consuming was likely grown here. Unless, of course, it’s one of those companies that’s somehow snuck past New Mexico regulators.

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