April 12, 2016

NM marijuana industry generous in political donations

Medical marijuana prescription

Marijuana-related businesses and their executives donated at least $13,500 to House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, a report filed Sunday reveals.

Medical marijuana prescription

Medical marijuana prescription

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. He also received $2,000 from Natural RX, an Albuquerque medical cannabis business, and $1,000 from its executive director, Trevor Reed. Maintenance 7 donated $500. That company is listed on Gentry’s report as a medical cannabis producer in Albuquerque, but isn’t listed as a producer by the New Mexico Department of Health.

New Mexico In Depth identified at least $35,200 in contributions to New Mexico candidates from marijuana-related businesses since 2012 after seeing a tweet from @etysn Sunday about Gentry’s contributions. NMID searched campaign filings for names on the Department of Health list, as well as occupations related to cannabis. (This post has been updated with new numbers.)

NMID did not receive responses calls and emails to Gentry and phone messages left for Rodriguez.

Gentry’s marijuana money is a fraction of the $132,560 he reported raising from October through the end of March.

An effort to let voters decide whether to legalize marijuana failed on the Senate floor earlier this year. Efforts to legalize hemp production also have failed.

Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, an advocate of both those efforts, has received $6,000 from medical cannabis businesses, including $2,000 in his most recent report.

Alan Webber received $4,500 in his Democratic gubernatorial primary run in 2014, while the winner of that primary, former Attorney General Gary King received $1,100.

Natural RX is the top donor among the companies, giving $12,500 to candidates since 2012.

New Mexico Freedom, a PAC supporting Democratic candidates, received $3,000 from marijuana-related interests.

Two political action committees reported receiving $600 from such businesses in 2014.

Below is a list of candidate that have received contributions from marijuana-related businesses and executives, updated through filings as of 12 a.m. Tuesday.

Sandra Fish is New Mexico In Depth’s data journalist.