New Mexico Issues First-Ever Recreational Cannabis License
Completing the application is a complex and multi-tiered process.
Licensing

Mother’s Meds Gets New Mexico’s First Recreational Cannabis License

Completing the application is a complex and multi-tiered process.
Licensing

Mother’s Meds Gets New Mexico’s First Recreational Cannabis License

PUBLISHED
Dec 20, 2021
read time 3 MIN
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The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department have issued the state’s first license to cultivate recreational marijuana. That historic license went to Mother’s Meds (doing business as Lava Leaf Organics). Thirty-four cannabis producers previously licensed by the New Mexico Department of Health to cultivate medical marijuana will also receive licenses to grow adult-use marijuana. In June of 2021, New Mexico enacted laws allowing adults 21 and older to grow, consume, and possess marijuana.

“Mother’s Meds has been issued a cannabis producer’s license, and that license will go into effect as soon as all background check requirements are met,” division spokesperson Heather Brewer said in a statement. 

CEO of Mother’s Meds, Tony Martinez, gives credit to San Juan County’s “business-friendly attitude” and the “hard work, due diligence, and adaptability” of his company’s staff for their license. Martinez added that the company “will continue to comply with all CCD rules and regulations” as it gets cannabis production up and running.

Martinez said the company would operate by contracting with cannabis industry professionals instead of hiring several employees. 

“My least favorite part of business is placing a value on another person’s efforts and talents; this model allows people more control over their destiny and to work with us, not for us,” Martinez wrote in a statement. “I believe this will allow our community to attract and retain more talented professionals than our competitors.”

More than 1,500 potential applicants have submitted for the time-consuming process. More than 1,000 applications were for microbusiness licenses. 

“I don’t know that we could have anticipated what the demand was going to be other than knowing there really seems to be a great excitement across the state,” said John Blair, the deputy superintendent for the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

Unlike many jurisdictions with recreational marijuana production, New Mexico regulators have not instituted a cap for the number of licenses issued.

“If a million New Mexicans want to get a license, we would license a million people,” said Blair.

Completing the application is a complex and multi-tiered process.

“It’s quite a daunting process. The application is very, very thorough, and there’s a lot of steps and requirements,” Medical and recreational license applicant Johnathan LeDuc said. “I have basically only been able to submit my application provisionally.”

LeDuc was required to submit a current business license, a fire inspection report, zoning approval, a government identification card, proof of business premises ownership, a diagram of the location, a social and economic equality plan, a water and energy use plan, and a demonstration of water rights.

Receiving a license is no guarantee for a successful business. A.J. Sullins, a New Mexico resident, owns cannabis companies in several other jurisdictions. He is applying to produce marijuana in his home state. As it stands, it seems like there will be quite a surplus of airtight glass jars filled with products in the coming year.

“There’s going to be quite a few people who have received licensure, and their costs are outweighing their revenue because they didn’t plan for a low-cost production,” he said. “And they’re going to start to get consolidated or washed out within a three-year period. I saw the same thing happen in Arizona.”

Businesses investing millions of dollars can struggle against large multistate cannabis operators. A few large companies dominate the market.

“I hate to use the word, but [they’re] almost ‘monopolizing’ the market. So competition is definitely steep at the top,” Sullins said.

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