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NM pot producer teams with Israeli firm on smokeless options

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico medical marijuana producer announced a joint venture with an Israeli pharmaceutical firm to manufacture a line of smokeless cannabis products with measured dosages at a planned $1 million facility in Bernalillo.

Ultra Health LLC will manufacture what it calls pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products including tablets, rectal and vaginal suppositories, and oral spray inhalers under an agreement with Panaxia Ltd. of Tel Aviv, Ultra Health announced.

The products are intended to make cannabis more widely accepted as medicine by providing patients with a consistent dosage of cannabinoid extracts, said Duke Rodriguez, owner of Ultra Health.

“For cannabis to actually perform as real medicine — which in fact it is — these cannabinoids need to be delivered in very specific dosage,” Rodriguez said Tuesday. The products will be sold in 30 dose packets at five- and 10 milligram dosages.

“Everytime (patients) take a dose, they get the same dosage every single time,” he said. “Physicians will feel more confident about making recommendations for cannabis if they know that their patients are getting exact dosage.”

The 3,300-square-foot manufacturing facility should be in operation later this year, Rodriguez said. Each company will spend $500,000 to build the facility inside an existing building at Ultra Health’s Bernalillo plant, he said.

Panaxia owns a proprietary technology that extracts the active ingredients from cannabis using a noncombustible process, Rodriguez said. The oil extract then is crystallized, dehydrated and reconstituted into tablets and other products, he said.

Rodriguez said he is unaware of any company in the United States that uses a similar process to manufacture measured-dose products.

Last month, Ultra Health announced a joint venture with the Las Vegas Paiute tribe in Nevada to build a large growing facility and two dispensaries on tribal land, including one dispensary in downtown Las Vegas, Nev.

Ultra Health has an exclusive agreement with Panaxia to manufacture the products in New Mexico, California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon, but has no immediate plans to build plants outside New Mexico, he said.

Under existing laws, marijuana products cannot be transported across state lines.