The Cannabis Control Division (CCD) of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) announced that it’s now accepting all cannabis business applications types, including manufacturing and retail.

According to a press release from the department, a new online platform allows applicants to apply immediately and will streamline the licensing process.

“The Cannabis Control Division’s licensing system is open for business,” said RLD Superintendent Linda M. Trujillo. “As part of the CCD’s mission to stand up a thriving adult-use cannabis industry in New Mexico, we are expanding our user-friendly online platform to allow applicants to start the licensing process now for more business types, so that they can be prepared as more rules are being quickly finalized.”

The CCD says that although the application process can begin for all cannabis business types, approval will have to wait for the finalization of rules pertaining to specific sectors. The division says those rules are on tracck to be set before the Jan. 1 deadline set by the Cannabis Regulation Act.

Minerva Canna Opens THC Bar in Santa Fe

Albuquerque-based cannabis producer Minerva Canna is set to open a dispensary in Downtown Santa Fe that will feature a “canna bar” where visitors will be able to purchase and consume THC-infused edibles.

According to Santa Fe New Mexican the new 4,000-square-foot store will be located on Water Street and will be the first of Minerva Canna’s shops to have a canna bar included at the time of construction. The store will open as a dispensary, and the bar will open once the state approves its use. The initial opening is planned for late December.

“Just the fact we could be downtown in a prime location is going to be ideal for adult consumption,” company owner Erik Briones told reporters. “It is a discreet location.”

Minerva Canna’s Santa Fe dispensary on Cerrillos Road—the first dispensary to feature a canna bar in the state—will also remain open. The company has six dispensaries altogether.

SAFE Banking Struck From Defense Bill

Lawmakers have removed language from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have protected financial institutions from federal prosecution if they choose to do business with cannabis companies.

In September the House passed its version of the NDAA, including the SAFE Banking protections in the bill. But following heated negotiations between the House and Senate, the protections were removed. This may come as no surprise to some since Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and his colleagues have been campaigning against any legislation that would protect marijuana banking without enacting broader cannabis policy reform.

In recent months SAFE Banking has become a hot-button issue as advocates appear to be split on the topic. Those following Schumer’s lead say that allowing banks to work freely with cannabis companies will allow legislators to ignore the need for greater reform.