Med Pot Company Says Deal Was 'Obvious Decision'BY PETER ST. CYR District attorneys in Albuquerque and Santa Fe are taking a wait-and-see approach about how they’ll deal with any medical cannabis patients arrested for buying pot on the black market while waiting for the Department of Health to catch up on a backlog of program registration renewals. It’s illegal for patients to purchase their medication from unlicensed and unregulated street dealers. So far, police spokespeople say they haven’t heard of any qualified patients getting popped. Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg told ABQ Free Press she’ll review arrests on a case-by-case basis. Santa Fe District Attorney Jennifer Padgett said her office doesn’t have a policy in place, but she said she would consider the state law that allows patients to possess an adequate supply of medication. Johnny Osborn, a private attorney who specializes in cannabis law, has offered to represent patients pro bono if they get caught up in the legal system after submitting their renewal paperwork on time. Last year, 10 nonprofit groups coughed up $90,000 to grow up to 450 plants at one time. We won’t know how many of the producers applied to grow the maximum number of plants this year until after state regulators complete their review. Once they’re approved, growers will have until Aug. 1 to pay their license fees. Last year, the health department collected $1.4 million in grower fees. Patients said they hope some of the new revenue will be used to hire additional staff to process their cards within the 30-day statutory time frame.
Ultra Health Sponsors Pow WowThe Gathering of Nations Pow Wow will have a new title sponsor when it heads to Tingley Coliseum/EXPO New Mexico next April. Ultra Health, a licensed cannabis producer with operations Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the event’s producer with an option to renew through 2027. “The Gathering of Nations Pow Wow is a very spiritual and social celebration,” said Duke Rodriguez, the company’s CEO and president. “At Ultra Health, we believe such components are vital to well-being, and sponsoring the event was an obvious decision in light of the importance Native people have historically put on healing and natural medicine.” Ultra Health has targeted the Indian market for economic develop projects over the past few years. In March, Rodriquez’ company agreed to build two dispensaries and a cannabis cultivation center for the Paiute Tribe in Las Vegas, Nev., and is rumored to be in discussions about setting up similar partnerships with several unnamed New Mexico pueblos. Ultra Health had applied to fly a banner on a hot air balloon at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but its application was rejected by a selection committee. A Quinnipiac University poll in June shows 90 percent of Americans support the use of cannabis in lieu of pharmaceutical prescriptions, but not everyone is ready for growers to sponsor their events. Peter St. Cyr has covered medical cannabis in New Mexico since the state legalized it in 2007. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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