By Marissa Higdon / Albuquerque Business First
Published on July 29, 2016
Ultra Health has been denied the right to use the New Mexico True certification on its products by the New Mexico Tourism Department.
The certification program allows producers approved by the Tourism Department to use New Mexico True branding on their products. The goal, according to the organization's website, is to improve the marketing for products that are 100 percent New Mexico made. Qualifying businesses must produce something 100 percent made in New Mexico, or can sell animal products from livestock 100 percent born and raised in New Mexico or market agricultural products 100 percent grown in the state.
Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of Ultra Health, says his product is 100 percent locally grown and so it should qualify for the program.
The New Mexico Department of Tourism disagrees.
"This program helps place a national spotlight on some of the state's finest products that are made, grown, and born and raised in New Mexico," the tourism department told Albuquerque Business First in an email. "For example, handcrafted wool blankets, New Mexico raised beef and chile-infused mustards. These are products that can be enjoyed on vacation and taken back home. As you know, a medical cannabis card is required to purchase that product in New Mexico. Therefore, it's not available to people outside of the state."
Rodriguez says, while it's true that out-of-state visitors can't buy New Mexican cannabis, he expects that to change in the future. In a few states already, like Nevada, patients with a medical cannabis card can purchase medical cannabis, even if they're from another state. This practice, called reciprocity, is common with prescriptions. You can go to a pharmacy anywhere in the nation and get your prescription filled.
"Moving forward, patients will have more options because of reciprocity," Rodriguez said.
He says the company applied for the certification to encourage patients to buy local.
"We wanted the New Mexico True certification to align our product with the quality name of New Mexico," he said.
Ultra Health will be the title sponsor for the Gathering of Nations Powwow, but the organization was recently denied a sponsorship at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, medical cannabis producers in the state brought in almost $9.9 million in total receipts in the first quarter. The Santa Fe Reporter reports that Ultra Health brought in about $727,000 of that money.
Ultra Health is the sixth-highest-grossing medical cannabis producer in the state, according to reports obtained by the Santa Fe Reporter.