Ultra Health, New Mexico’s largest medical cannabis company, denied balloon presence
(Albuquerque) – Ultra Health®, a national medical cannabis leader with a large New Mexico presence, is denied sponsorship for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta® (AIBF), the largest balloon event and most photographed event in the world.
In a letter received on June 16th, 2016 from Paul Smith, Executive Director of the AIBF, “…several members of the Board related stories of how their patients or members of their family had received great results from medical cannabis. Most of the Board agreed that medical cannabis should be considered a mainstream pharmaceutical.” However, the Board declined Ultra Health’s sponsorship request.
Ultra Health submitted a comprehensive, 200 page proposal including 18 exhibits of articles, surveys, research, and legal analysis demonstrating strong support for medical cannabis. Included was a testimonial from a mother of a seven month old daughter who is benefitting from medical cannabis. Ms. Nicole Sena stated, “Cannabis is medicine. In fact, I firmly believe cannabis is the only reason why our daughter is alive and with us today.” Ms. Sena requested the AIBF allow Ultra Health’s balloon sponsorship to highlight the positive medical aspects of medical cannabis.
According to Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health, “With medical cannabis now legal in 25 states and available to over 175 million Americans, this would be the ideal time to emphasize the scientific and compassionate use of medical cannabis and reject the false stigma and stereotyping of marijuana.” Further, “The Balloon Fiesta is a spirit lifting and positive event for all involved and what better place to highlight the rising hopes and aspirations of our most vulnerable patients who struggle daily with PTSD, cancer and chronic ailments.”
Historically, sponsors of harmful products such as alcohol and tobacco products were allowed a major presence at the event. While there are no recorded deaths caused by cannabis, alcohol contributes to 87,000 deaths annually in America according to the CDC.
Recent polls indicate nearly 90% of Americans approve of medical cannabis, and 54% approve of its total legalization. A 2016 New Mexico poll indicated an even higher level of support. More than 75% of AIBF sponsors are located or have their corporate headquarters in states with approved medical cannabis programs.
“We are greatly disappointed by the AIBF board decision," Rodriguez said. "We do not hold negative feelings toward the Fiesta or the AIBF board, and are still deeply committed to the advocacy and proper treatment of medical cannabis patients."