Without controversy and even amongst calls by some legacy producers of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program for commentary or justification, the DOH made one last game-changing move before handing off most all administrative responsibilities
of fully regulating both the current medical program and the forthcoming sales of adult-use recreational cannabis to the CCD (Cannabis Control Division of the RLD). Days before the hand-off, the DOH granted full LNPP (Licensed Non-Profit Producer) status to newly formed and locally owned GH Labs, based here in Albuquerque. This makes them the 34th licensee currently permitted by the state to grow, produce and sell medical cannabis (as well as for all adults 21+ in April 2022), along with all the ancillary products that can be made from the flowers of the plant, such as vapable concentrates, delicious (micro-dosable) edibles and topical therapeutics just to name a few. There had been 35 licenses in 2018, but that number had decreased to 33 this year, after the state deemed it appropriate to shut down and cancel the licenses for both Mother Earth Herbs in 2018 and New Mexicann just months ago.
GH Labs intends to fill certain voids and niches which owner and founder Vance Dugger has identified in the over a decade old medical cannabis program, which has widely been acknowledged by industry leaders and professionals as yet to achieve full maturity and positioning itself alongside neighboring medical programs in states like Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona. To address this disparity, the team at GH Labs worked diligently to bring in a leading innovator in hydrocarbon extraction and distillation to try and set a new standard for our state. Dr. Steven Bennett of Prescott Technologies has developed not only some hi-tech and proprietary apparatuses to evolve and progress the art of extraction capable by the extract artists who work at GH Labs, but he also has proudly been working on developing (what GH Labs calls), “New Mexico’s first medical cannabis transdermal patch.” Patches form an integral part of the medicinal mission cannabis dispensaries provide. Unlike a salve or cream which requires a certain amount of emulsification on the skin and can leave the treated area somewhat oily, greasy or even smelly, a patch works in a much simpler way. Just stick it on the location of the pain and voila. Then the patient waits to allow the medicine to provide relief, and after some hours, simply removes the patch and disposes of it. Patients, especially those suffering from chronic pain, generally experience great results from their use and so we look forward to having the option available locally here in New Mexico.
Transdermal patches, new cannabis technology for New Mexico, and the access to an LNPP license aside, we have to wonder if the New Mexico Cannabis community (and industry leaders) is prepared for the new landscape that will inevitably come down in the coming months. Historically, news like this is uncommon due to the existing producers having a stronghold on our patient population, which is above average when compared to other states with medical cannabis programs.
Cannabis is a plant and culture meant to bring positivity and much needed alternative medicine to those who are suffering and cannot find solace in traditional Western medicine. The more innovation and creativity that exists in our beloved state, the better off we are in making New Mexico a destination for cannabis connoisseurs within the state of New Mexico, and worldwide. The excitement surrounding GH Labs is just the beginning, and we are hopeful for the future of cannabis in New Mexico.