Cannabis dispensary still waiting for approval – Deming Headlight


Rural locations being slighted, says Ultra Health Buy Photo

Ultra Health’s storefront at 117 E. Spruce remains empty. Despite an 86 percent increase in sales of medically authorized cannabis last quarter, and projected sales of $83.5 million in New Mexico this year(Photo: Algernon D’Ammassa – Headlight Photo)Buy Photo

DEMING – More than half a year after the city of Deming approved a special use permit for a marijuana dispensary downtown, Ultra Health’s storefront at 117 E. Spruce remains empty. Despite an 86 percent increase in sales of medically authorized cannabis last quarter, and projected sales of $83.5 million in New Mexico this year, Deming’s dispensary has yet to open for business.

As far as the New Mexico Department of Health is concerned, it is going to stay that way.

Last September, Deming’s City Council unanimously approved a permit to the medical marijuana dispensary Top Organics, doing business as Ultra Health, which operates dispensaries in Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Clovis and Hobbs. At the time, Ultra CEO Duke Rodriguez said he expected $600,000 to $1 million in revenue from Deming in the first year.

“We are experiencing difficulty getting our rural locations accepted by the Department of Health,” said Ultra spokeswoman Marissa Novel on Thursday. “They don’t want to license us any more locations due to the plant count.”

State regulations limit a producer to 450 plants. Ultra argues that this limit cannot keep pace with the growth in approved patients for medical cannabis, which surpassed 40,000 at the end of April.  Ultra argues the plant limit not only forces New Mexican patients to pay more for prescription cannabis than patients in other states, but that patients in rural areas suffer reduced access.

New Mexico Department of Health spokesman Paul Rhien stated in an email,

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