Medical cannabis producer files suit, says Expo NM violated their rights

A prominent medical cannabis producer in New Mexico filed a federal lawsuit against officials with the state agency that oversees the New Mexico State Fair and owns the fairgrounds. In the complaint filed Wednesday, New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health accused top staffers with Expo New Mexico along with the chair of the state fair board of violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution for barring the medical cannabis company from bringing cannabis-related materials to an educational booth later this year. Chairman of the New Mexico State Fair Commission Larry Kennedy, Expo New Mexico General Manager Dan Mourning and Concessions Department Director Raina Bingham are named as defendants in the case. The state fair officials, according to the lawsuit, “implicitly chilled” Ultra Health’s “clearly established rights to freedom of speech and expression.” New Mexico Expo officials, though, said they have the authority to implement their own rules and regulations.

NM marijuana industry generous in political donations

Marijuana-related businesses and their executives donated at least $13,500 to House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, a report filed Sunday reveals. Of that, $10,000 came from Ultra Health LLC and its founder, Duke Rodriguez, a former Lovelace Medical Center executive. The Scottsdale, Ariz., based for-profit recently took over management of Santa Fe’s New Mexico Top Organics, according to Peter St. Cyr’s recent report in the Santa Fe Reporter. Gentry, an Albuquerque Republican, received $5,000 each from the company and Rodriguez.

Consolidating and cashing in on medical marijuana

[box]© New Mexico Political Report, 2015. Contact editor@nmpoliticalreport.com for info on republishing.[/box] legalization is likely far off in New Mexico, but you wouldn’t know it from the way some businesses are acting. Recent news of a Canadian company’s encroachment into Santa Fe spawned backlash from those critical of an out-of-state, out-of-country company attempting to get a piece of New Mexicos’ medical marijuana industry. Last month, Toronto-based Nutritional High announced that it would be acquiring 51 percent of shares from and assuming management operations of Sacred Garden, a Santa Fe nonprofit medical marijuana producer that’s been operating for nearly five years. The plan drew immediate backlash from patient advocates and others in the industry.