The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) approved its first cannabis business license last month.
According to state regulators, Aztec-based Mother’s Meds received its cannabis producer’s license from RLD on Nov. 1, making it the first licensee to be approved by the state. The license will reportedly go into effect as soon as a background check clears.
RLD has repeatedly said that the adult-use market will be ready to open retailers’ doors and allow consumers to purchase legal marijuana on day one. But some budding cannabis entrepreneurs have expressed concern that the state is moving too slow to approve license applications.
It takes around four months to grow and process cannabis for consumption, and by law, the state must open the doors on the adult-use market by April 1, 2022. That means that producers will have to start growing by December at the latest to be ready to meet consumer demand by the deadline set by the law.
The RLD’s Cannabis Control Division has a new director. The department recently announced that former Colorado lobbyist Kristen Thomson will now be running the state’s cannabis regulatory agency.
Thompson received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University and a graduate certificate in strategic communications from the University of Colorado. Thompson recently served as senior director of government affairs for Columbia Care/The Green Tree, one of the largest vertically integrated cannabis companies in Colorado.
She is reported to have had an extensive background in shaping cannabis policies in Colorado and is expected to bring that expertise to her new position. CCD spokesperson Heather Brewer said, “The Cannabis Control Division is incredibly grateful to have someone with Kristen Thomson’s impressive background in cannabis policy leading the division. Kristen’s experience advancing social equity and environmental sustainability while working with small cannabis producers and large companies will be invaluable as CCD continues its mission to support a thriving cannabis industry in New Mexico.”
At a Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee meeting last month, the committee decided to recommend that the CCD’s draft rules for cannabis regulation remove requirements that would bar anyone under the age of 18 from entering a medical or adult-use marijuana dispensary.
Committee members were concerned that the rule would make it difficult for some consumers to gain access to cannabis without taking on the additional financial burden of finding childcare.
Committee member Paul Haidle disagreed and said that determining whether a minor was actually the child of a customer would be difficult for retailers. It was pointed out that the state’s Liquor Control Act allows minors to enter into liquor stores if they are accompanied by a parent, however, and Haidle was apparently convinced by the argument.
The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the CCD consider making the cannabis rules regarding children in dispensaries align with the state’s liquor rules.
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