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Muhamed Abdelhack covers business and economy for The Paper. He is a communications and journalism graduate of UNM.

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With New Mexico becoming the latest state to legalize cannabis for adult use, the local industry of medical cannabis providers is ripe for growth in the coming months. One dispensary, however, is not waiting for the benefits of legalization to kick in in order to give back to their local community.

The Verdes Foundation, a nonprofit dispensary started in 2010 by father-and-son team Doug and Eric Speegle has made it a company mission to support different local charities each year. Beyond just seeking to provide a path to wellness through their assortment of products, their aim is to bolster the community through charitable giving and sponsorships that will positively impact New Mexico. Each year, the Verdes team selects three organizations that are then featured throughout their dispensaries. Clientele can learn more about the programs offered by these organizations and select which they would like a credit applied toward. Verdes’ funding priorities support organizations with missions that focus on social justice such as civil rights, immigrant rights and juvenile justice, as well as local community farms and agriculture.

In 2020 Verdes announced that the three featured nonprofit organizations would include: The New Mexico Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice, a 40-year-old faith-based group committed to reproductive justice; NMCAN, a 30-year-old organization focused on improving the experiences of children and youths in foster care or juvenile justice through volunteerism and community partnerships; and The New Mexico Black Leadership Council, a nonprofit organization that serves the Black community in New Mexico through initiatives in health, leadership development, civic engagement and youth development. Each of these organizations can gain grant donations of up to $1,000 through Verdes’ community giving program.

Verdes’ further charitable initiatives include starting a separate nonprofit for Medically Orphaned Pets (MOPS), which is dedicated to finding homes for pets whose caregivers have become unable to care for them due to medical illness. Additionally, Verdes has joined forces with other organizations from within the cannabis community to form The Green Team, which focuses on community service-driven projects and collectively donated over 250 backpacks and general school supplies to Albuquerque Public Schools for a Back To School Drive in partnership with the Corporate Volunteer Council.

With a location in Albuquerque and one in Rio Rancho, Verdes employs over 80 people and has won numerous local “best of” awards. They continue to be involved in various organizations including The American Cannabis Nurses Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Patient’s Alliance and Women Grow, just to name a few. Verdes is committed to making a difference in New Mexico through education, compassion and community engagement. To find out how you can contribute through Verdes to MOPS or any of the mentioned nonprofit organizations, contact Shawna Brown at sbrown@verdesfoundation.org.

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