NM: Council Approves Special-Use Permit For Cannabis Despensary


Deming – City Council unanimously approved a special-use permit Monday night for New Mexico Top Organics – a medical marijuana dispensary – that plans to open a business in downtown Deming. The regular monthly meeting took place at the John Strand Municipal Building at 309 S. Gold St.

Top Organics has submitted 14 requests – along with Deming – to the New Mexico Department of Health that are awaiting appointment. They operate as Ultra Health dispensaries and have six in operation around the state. There are 35 independent licensed nonprofit producers. Ultra Health is in Hobbs, Santa Fe, Bernalillo and three locations in Albuquerque.

“We are specifically targeting the rural and under-served communities, and Deming certainly qualifies in both categories, said Ultra Health President and CEO Duke Rodriguez.

He added there are 101 cardholders in Luna County who would benefit from Ultra Health. This is a viable area for us,” he said. “For example; we went into Lea County who had slightly more cardholders than Deming. In 10 months that number jumped to 200 cardholders.”We are willing to make the investment and it will mean more jobs and gross receipts tax.”

By comparison, Rodriguez stated that Hobbs is now doing $2 million in revenues and one of the Ultra Health’s smaller markets in Bernalillo is at $600,000. “I expect Deming will do upwards of $600,000 to $1 million in the first year.”

Ultra Health is seeking to set up shop at 117 E. Spruce St. next door to Kloud Nine Vape Shop in Deming’s downtown business district.

The special-use permit clears a hurdle that was required based on city ordinances regarding commercial zoning for businesses.Ultra Health will carry that special-use permit to the New Mexico Department of Health which oversees the medical marijuana industry in the state. They will review the permit and the company before moving forward with plans in Deming.

“There are stipulations,” City of Deming Administrator Aaron Sera said. “They must show licensing from the state as a legitimate dispensary under state guidelines.”

Security at the facility is also an issue, but City of Deming attorney Jim Foy noted that state regulations require such facilities to provide the maximum security options before securing a business location.

One citizen who spoke up for the placement of a medical marijuana dispensary was Sean Cavanaugh Blaine who cited families that deal with chronic pain issues, veterans who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and cancer patients who use medical marijuana to manage pain and the affects of chemotherapy. He also cited the travel patients must endure when filling their prescriptions and having to deal with border checkpoints that fall under federal laws.

Attorney Foy pointed out that federal laws differ from state laws in New Mexico. Possession of medical marijuana is illegal by federal law.

Councilman Dr. Victor Cruz said he voted to approve the special-use permit for multi-faceted reasons. “As a medical doctor who sees cancer patients suffer with modern medicines and find relief with marijuana, as a citizens who disagrees with the over criminalization of marijuana use, and most importantly, as a city council member who abides by New Mexico laws which make it legal, have influence my decision to approve this special-use permit. Our vote is also on the condition that they are approved and follow New Mexico statutes in getting this permit.”

Tamara Hurt had concerns about security of such a facility in the downtown business district. She is a CPA (Certified Public Accountant whose business is around the corner on South Gold Street.

Council member Joe “Butter” Milo favors a new business in regards to an increasing Gross Receipts Tax and creating jobs. “Looking at our state finances, we need to embrace new business opportunities that would bring in more gross receipt tax and put our people to work. Small businesses are the backbone of our community,” Milo said.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Council Approves Special-Use Permit For Cannabis Despensary
Author: Bill Armendariz
Contact: (575) 546-2611
Photo Credit: Bill Armendariz
Website: Deming Headlight