NM settles cannabis suit for $69K - Albuquerque Journal

NM settles cannabis suit for $69K

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – Expo New Mexico officials agreed to pay $69,600 to a prominent medical cannabis producer to resolve a 2017 lawsuit over what type of products could be displayed at a State Fair booth, under a settlement that was completed last summer.

The settlement between Ultra Health LLC and Expo New Mexico was recently posted on a public database by the General Services Department upon the completion of a six-month period that’s established under New Mexico law.

In the settlement, Expo New Mexico officials agreed to drop their appeal that had been pending in the 10th U.S. Circuit of Appeals. The state also agreed to make the $69,600 payment to avoid further legal expenses.

The legal dispute arose when Expo New Mexico placed restrictions on what items Ultra Health could display in its State Fair booth in 2017, telling the medical cannabis producer it could not display marijuana or any paraphernalia related to cannabis use or cultivation.

That came after State Police officers had, a year earlier, told Ultra Health employees to pack up and leave the State Fair because they had displayed a live cannabis plant.

Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of Ultra Health, said the company’s lawsuit was aimed at preserving its free speech rights to both display cannabis and advocate for its use.

“Our actual expenses were higher, but the agreed settlement amount represents a reasonable settlement with the state of New Mexico and hopefully extends an olive branch to the administration as to our willingness to resolve these matters in a timely and equitable manner,” Rodriguez told the Journal. “We were willing to compromise on the dollars and cents of the litigation, but we did not compromise on the principle at stake.”

Although the State Fair aims to promote a family-friendly event, a federal judge had sided with Ultra Health in an initial ruling last year that found Expo New Mexico officials had violated the medical cannabis producer’s First Amendment rights.

But Oona Garcia, an Expo New Mexico spokeswoman, said Friday that the judge’s ruling was helpful because it set guidelines for what medical cannabis vendors can display at the State Fair.

Several medical cannabis producers participated in last year’s State Fair, in September, Garcia said.

She also said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration had pushed for a settlement to resolve the litigation.

Ultra Health, which runs more than a dozen medical cannabis dispensaries across New Mexico, has also filed other lawsuits against the state in recent years, including one dealing with whether non-New Mexicans can get a state medical marijuana identification card.

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » NM settles cannabis suit for $69K

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Students need financial literacy as a graduation requirement
From the newspaper
OPINION: Without basic personal finance education, ... OPINION: Without basic personal finance education, far too many employees turn to check-cashing outlets and get charged unnecessary fees, take out high-interest loans, or ...
2
NM needs to act quick to attract and keep ...
From the newspaper
OPINION: The average age of physicians ... OPINION: The average age of physicians in New Mexico is 53, so we can predict increasing shortages as retirements occur.
3
Editorial: NM lands need a state 'legacy fund,' true ...
Editorials
From the Editorial Board: A healthy ... From the Editorial Board: A healthy outdoors is a healthy part of New Mexico's fiscal landscape, so the chance to unlock federal matching funds ...
4
Largest police cadet class in years seated in Santa ...
ABQnews Seeker
The 205th New Mexico Law Enforcement ... The 205th New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy class has 64 prospective officers. The class is shaping up to be the largest in years.
5
New Mexico seems determined to extend class time. What ...
ABQnews Seeker
Three competing proposals are on the ... Three competing proposals are on the table
6
Bill would allow New Mexico cities, counties, tribes to ...
ABQnews Seeker
The proposed legislation would allow local ... The proposed legislation would allow local governments to take over electric generation from privately run utilities.
7
Bernalillo County sheriff calls current body camera tech 'trash,' ...
ABQnews Seeker
The sheriff's statement on body cameras ... The sheriff's statement on body cameras was in response to a recommendation from the Sheriff's Office Advisory and Review Board. The board gave BCSO ...
8
Get to know Harry Montoya, who reads NM Senate ...
ABQnews Seeker
Can you pronounce "amyotrophic?" Newly installed ... Can you pronounce "amyotrophic?" Newly installed New Mexico Senate Reader Harry Montoya ...
9
Best sites for Albuquerque building and road construction information
ABQnews Seeker
WHAT'S UP WITH THAT CONSTRUCTION? Michael ... WHAT'S UP WITH THAT CONSTRUCTION? Michael A. Blackledge asks "does the city of Albuquerq ...