Las Cruces shop's cannabis gifts no more after order - Albuquerque Journal

Las Cruces shop’s cannabis gifts no more after order

LAS CRUCES – A local business that was “gifting” small amounts of cannabis to customers who made purchases announced Wednesday it will comply with a cease-and-desist order from New Mexico’s Cannabis Control Division.

Speak Easy NM, located at El Paseo Road and E. Idaho Avenue, held its official grand opening July 17, according to its Facebook page, which describes the store as an “organics company and gift shop.”

Attorney Matt Madrid, who represents the business, told the Sun-News on Tuesday the owners were temporarily closed while evaluating their legal options. On Wednesday, he announced the business would reopen “in full compliance” with the state’s order.

“The practice commonly referred to as ‘gifting’ will not occur on our premises, however we are still able to assist the community with CBD products and merchandise,” Madrid wrote in a news release.

According to the July 27 cease-and-desist order, Speak Easy was distributing cannabis or cannabis products as gifts to customers who purchased other items.

It demanded that the business cease that activity, but did not levy any penalties or order a halt to other business operations.

On July 20, the letter states, two CCD investigators visited the store and met with owners Jason Estrada and Joseph Garza, who allegedly defended the practice as lawful under New Mexico’s Cannabis Regulation Act.

The law, which took effect on June 29, decriminalizes public possession of up to 2 ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of extract or up to 800 milligrams of edible cannabis.

It remains prohibited under federal law, which classifies cannabis (aka marijuana) as a Schedule One narcotic.

The CCD, a division of the state Regulation and Licensing Department, is in the process of promulgating the framework for legal cannabis sales through licensed vendors, to begin no later than April of next year.

The statute permits individuals to share cannabis with adults, but “without financial consideration” including indirect sales or trade. CCD maintains that the practice at Speak Easy amounted to illegal trafficking – a potential fourth-degree felony which could jeopardize a future application to be a licensed cannabis retailer.

The CCD alleges that Speak Easy was circumventing the law by trading cannabis for purchases of other items.

Citing a recent story by KVIA-TV which suggested larger gifts were offered in exchange for larger purchases, the CCD order argues: “The quantity of the ‘gift’ cannabis is directly bound to the dollar value of the non-cannabis product purchased, thus, ‘financial consideration’ (i.e. monetary value) has been established for each cannabis product being distributed by Speak Easy.”

The order demands that Speak Easy stop providing cannabis products to customers or face enforcement actions that could include criminal charges.

“We do believe there is some ambiguity in the law,” Madrid said, “but at the same time, the way the administrative process takes place is different than the criminal process.”

Madrid said the order itself cannot be appealed, as it was issued by a regulatory body and not by a court.

Home » Legislature News » Marijuana » Las Cruces shop’s cannabis gifts no more after order


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

1
COVID-19 tests, shots and treatments are still free/affordable
From the newspaper
There is deep concern in our ... There is deep concern in our communities and vulnerable populations about a topic that impacts many ...
2
UNM awarded DOE funding for nuclear energy development
ABQnews Seeker
DOE goal is net-zero emissions by ... DOE goal is net-zero emissions by 2050
3
UNM solar boat places 3rd in national contest
ABQnews Seeker
Students built boat, electric race car ... Students built boat, electric race car for event
4
Man gets 18 years in fatal beating
ABQnews Seeker
Anthony Lee Aragon pleaded guilty to ... Anthony Lee Aragon pleaded guilty to the 2019 robbery, killing
5
Abortion ruling puts spotlight on gerrymandering
From the newspaper
Gov. Lujan Grisham signed order making ... Gov. Lujan Grisham signed order making NM a safe harbor for people seeking abortions
6
Freedom 4th back at Balloon Fiesta Park after two-year ...
ABQnews Seeker
Gates open at 3:30 p.m. for ... Gates open at 3:30 p.m. for the free celebration; park-and-ride services available at Coronado and Cottonwood malls
7
For Isotopes, the hits -- and fans -- just ...
Featured Sports
Crowd of 12,000-plus watch 'Topes lose ... Crowd of 12,000-plus watch 'Topes lose a wild one on a fireworks night
8
Speeding camera 'vandals' are another citizen's 'heroes'
ABQnews Seeker
Reader response mixed to last week's ... Reader response mixed to last week's incident
9
Sports Speak Up: On the new Big Ten and ...
Featured Sports
WITH USC AND UCLA poised to ... WITH USC AND UCLA poised to join the Big Ten, bringing the number of conference members to 16, perhaps the time has come to ...