NM agency revises proposed pot limits

Cultivation assistants Celestino Flores and Nathaniel Smith work in a grow house on the 14-acre Ultra Health campus in Bernalillo. (Adria Malcolm/For the Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – A New Mexico agency tasked with setting up the state’s new recreational cannabis industry has revised proposed producer licensing rules – and unveiled some new ones – after a public hearing last month.

The changes put forth this week include increasing the number of weed plants licensed cannabis producers can grow – from a maximum of 4,500 mature plants under a previous proposal to a maximum of 8,000 such plants under the revised rules.

In addition, large-scale producers would face the same-per-plant fees as smaller producers, in contrast to the previous version that featured higher fees for bigger producers.

Plant count limits have been a controversial component of New Mexico’s medical cannabis program, with the current limit for licensed producers set at 1,750 plants, and critics had said the previous proposed limits could have caused widespread shortages.

Indy White, the director of sales for PurLife, which has eight medical cannabis dispensaries around New Mexico and plans to expand into the recreational cannabis industry, described the higher plant limits as more reasonable.

“With that number of plants, there’s a lot more variety in how you can cultivate,” said White, adding many cannabis producers currently focus on large plants that take longer to grow and can be more vulnerable to pests.

Meanwhile, Duke Rodriguez, CEO and president of Ultra Health Inc., said industry executives were finding “greater agreement” with state officials on cannabis production issues, but said ramping up production to higher levels will be challenging.

The proposed rules are based in part on a market study on demand for cannabis in three other states that have already legalized recreational marijuana – Colorado, Washington and Vermont – along with a survey of more than 1,000 New Mexico residents.

Of those surveyed, more than 20% said they had used cannabis in the last month.

Based on the market study and the survey, a report conducted by Massachusetts-based Cannabis Public Policy Consulting said between 2,007 to 3,756 plants per producer for each harvest cycle will be required to meet New Mexico cannabis demand during the first year of legalization.

New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize recreational cannabis for adult users when a new law allowing for possession of up to 2 ounces of cannabis – or equivalent amounts of cannabis extract – took effect June 29. Personal production of no more than six mature plants per adult is also now permitted.

However, the deadline for beginning commercial sales is not until April 1, 2022, to give state officials time to craft the rules that will govern the cannabis industry.

The Cannabis Control Division will begin accepting applications for cannabis production licenses on Sept. 1 and the revised rules proposed by the agency this week also lay out new details for that process.

That includes a proposed requirement that producers seeking licenses include in their application a “social and economic equity plan” aimed at encouraging racial, gender and age diversity within the cannabis industry workforce.

New Mexico’s cannabis legalization law was approved by state lawmakers during a March special session that was called by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after previous proposals stalled during this year’s 60-day legislative session.

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

Ad Tango


taboola desktop


Stapleton facing 26 felony charges
ABQnews Seeker
Racketeering, money laundering among charges Racketeering, money laundering among charges
New Mexico Supreme Court calls for second round of ...
ABQnews Seeker
LAS CRUCES - The New Mexico ... LAS CRUCES - The New Mexico Supreme Court asked the Third Judicial District Attorney's Office Monday to file another briefing, delaying a decision in ...
'Warrior Spirit' follows fighter's journey to cut weight
ABQnews Seeker
Nicco Montano made history when she ... Nicco Montano made history when she became the first female Native American champion in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Montano is the focus of the ...
Two lawmakers challenge governor's federal aid spending in lawsuit
ABQnews Seeker
Two state lawmakers — one Democrat ... Two state lawmakers — one Democrat and one Republican — have filed a petition with New Mexico's Supreme Court challenging Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's ...
NHCC Foundation receives $50K grant for film programming
ABQnews Seeker
The National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation ... The National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation received a $50,000 grant to help grow film programming at the center. The grant was given Bank of ...
The Executive's Desk: Boost employee retention with this no-cost ...
ABQnews Seeker
While hiring new employees can pose ... While hiring new employees can pose a challenge in today's job market, retaining high-quality employ ...
SCOTUS rulings are final - until they're not
ABQnews Seeker
In James Joyce's classic short story ... In James Joyce's classic short story "Grace," a tipsy Irishman gives a comically garbled history of ...
Man charged with killing panhandler on West Side
ABQnews Seeker
Fatal shooting occurred Sunday morning at ... Fatal shooting occurred Sunday morning at 98th and West Central
Man accused of setting multiple fires faces arson charge
ABQnews Seeker
A homeless man who fire investigators ... A homeless man who fire investigators say could have been involved in multiple Downtow ...