News & Blog

New Mexico Medical Cannabis Providers Pay $2.93 Million for 14,550 Plants

Licensed plants increased by 5%, patient enrollment projected to be up 150% for same period

(Albuquerque) - The 35 Licensed Non-Profit Producers (LNPPs) licensed a total of 14,550 plants through July 31, 2018, an increase of 750 plants or 5 percent since August 1, 2016, while the program’s enrollment is expected to grow by more than 42,000 patients or 150 percent for the same period. Continue reading "New Mexico Medical Cannabis Providers Pay $2.93 Million for 14,550 Plants"

New Mexico Medical Cannabis Provider Hits Millionth Gram Milestone

Patient given free medicine for one year for buying Ultra Health’s millionth gram of flower

(Albuquerque) - Ultra Health, New Mexico’s No. 1 cannabis company with a nationwide presence, is celebrating its millionth gram of cannabis flower sold in New Mexico by providing one patient with free medicine for one full year.

The patient, from Ultra Health’s Albuquerque Westside location, will receive up to 10.5 grams of medical cannabis flower per week for 52 consecutive weeks to commemorate the provider’s milestone achievement.

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Meet our Best Places to Work: Good vibes at this medical cannabis company mean relaxed employees

By Ron Davis / Albuquerque Business First
Published on July 25, 2017

We're introducing our 34 Best Places to Work finalists daily leading up to our awards event Aug. 17 at Main Event Entertainment, where our Best Places rankings will be revealed.

Our survey partner, Quantum Workplace, administered anonymous workplace satisfaction surveys of employees at companies that were nominated by the public. The companies that received the highest scores are our Best Places finalists.

Meet Ultra Heath, a medical cannabis company and a finalist in the medium company category, or between 25-49 employees.

Top local exec: Leigh Jenke, President

Employees: 46

Address:

255 Camino Don Tomas., Bernalillo, NM 87004

Phone: 505-280-6693

Website: ultrahealth.com

What is the most popular perk at your office?

I think the biggest perk is the relaxed environment. We can wear comfortable clothing and T-shirts, play music, educate themselves and we celebrate employee suggestions and ideas. We allow people to express themselves and be artistic. We allow our employees to have a large degree of autonomy and when people are trusted and respected they live up to their full potential. As the saying goes, a happy employee is a wonderful employee and Ultra Health loves our employees.
What's the average tenure of your employees?

We are fairly new in the industry but the majority of our people come to stay. We have even had employees that have taken another job and come back because they missed our working environment.

Are you hiring? If so, for what positions?

We are expanding and plan to open stores in more rural areas of New Mexico.

New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Sees Record Patient Growth

Patient enrollment continues exponential growth; plants and revenues lag behind

(Albuquerque) – The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program’s patient enrollment has seen its fastest growth yet, climbing by 15,357 patients or 53 percent in the first six months alone of 2017. The 44,403 current program enrollment is on track to increase by an annualized rate of 103 percent, to nearly 60,000 patients by December 31, 2017.

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NM cannabis industry leaders talk ripple effects on real estate

By Shelby Parea / Albuquerque Business First
Published on July 20, 2017

When it comes to cannabis, usually the discussion concerns revenue and taxes the crop can bring to state and local coffers. But leaders from Ultra Health and PurLife who spoke at a NAIOP breakfast Thursday discussed how New Mexico's multimillion-dollar industry could also expand and affect real estate.

In 2016, the top 25 medical marijuana companies generated over $46 million in gross receipts and paid over $12.3 million in compensation to their employees.

Ultra Health and PurLife are medical marijuana companies both based in New Mexico.

Darren White is on the board of directors at PurLife, No. 20 on Albuquerque Business First's Medical Marijuana Companies List. White said he knows the trouble of finding real estate for a cannabis company first hand. PurLife is opening a second location on Eubank and Montgomery this weekend but it took five months of negotiations with property owner Gene Hinkle to make it a reality. White is a former Bernalillo County Sheriff.

But White says times are starting to change and brokers are beginning to come to him and market properties toward his business. Duke Rodriguez, CEO and owner of Ultra Health is hoping even more change is on the horizon.

Rodriguez drew comparisons to Denver and illustrated New Mexico's potential to be a leader in the next wave of cannabis production if it were legalized for social use in the state.

New Mexico became the 12th state to allow medical cannabis, according to the Department of Health. And eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, according to Business Insider.

Ultra Health – which is No. 1 on our Medical Marijuana Companies List – leases 15 properties and owns two Rodriguez said and he plans to neg 15 properties more within the year.

"We haven't had trouble finding locations," he said. "The only difficulty is getting the state to move along."

He said commercial cannabis cultivations occupied 4.2 million square feet of real estate in Denver after it was legalized. It was lawyers, bankers and real estate professionals that spearheaded the initiative for legalization, according to Rodriguez.

And he also noted the cannabis businesses were charged two to three times more per square foot than other businesses. Mother Earth Herbs Site Manager Derek Young previously told Albuquerque Business First dispensaries in Albuquerque are charged more per square footage than other renters because property owners know there's less availability for these companies. Las Cruces-based Mother Earth Herbs is ranked No. 19 on our Medical Marijuana Companies List.

Rodriguez said cannabis legalization in New Mexico would push the industry to surpass film, green chile and breweries, claiming it could become a $412.5 million market in its first year. He also said it could create 11,400 new jobs and cited a New Mexico Market Analysis by O'Donnell Economics and Strategy.

It's New Mexico's proximity to Texas that Rodriguez sees is the ticket to a booming industry. He says cannabis users in Texas are a large potential customer base.

BREAKING BUD: ISRAELI CANNABIS COMPANY BRINGS SMOKELESS MEDS TO NEW MEXICO

The Israeli company Panaxia already launched a production facility in Bernalillo, now it will offer smokeless proprietary cannabinoids in New Mexico.

By Sharon Udasin / The Jerusalem Post
Published on July 18, 2017

An Israeli company responsible for the first-ever pharmaceutical cannabis production lab in the United States has now begun selling its smokeless, precisely dosed products in New Mexico.

Together with the Albuquerque- based distributor Ultra Health, the Lod-based Panaxia Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. first launched its production facility in Bernalillo, New Mexico, in March. At the lab, Panaxia has been providing the smokeless proprietary cannabinoid dosage and treatment protocols, which are not readily available in the US, in order to produce a variety of medications for different illnesses.

“We are excited to be the bearers of good news and to offer medical cannabis- based drugs to patients in the state of New Mexico,” said Panaxia CEO Dadi Segal. “In a state inhabited by only 2 million people, about 60,000 of them – about twice as many as in Israel – have a license from the Department of Health to use medical cannabis. We are planning to open more factories in the US, and we are currently in advanced negotiations on the matter.”

Because the US government includes cannabis in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, federal law prohibits producing pharmaceuticals out of the plant on a nationwide scale, Segal told The Jerusalem Post in a March interview. To overcome this hurdle, Panaxia is aiming to establish small production facilities on a state-by-state basis, he explained.

Among the products offered by the partners are sublingual (under the tongue) and oral tablets, rectal and vaginal suppositories, cannabis oil, pastilles, transdermal (through the skin) pain relief patches and topical creams. The medicines are intended for patients with conditions such as PTSD, chronic pain, cancer, neuropathy, epilepsy, anorexia and HIV/AIDS, according to the companies.

The products, Segal explained, are manufactured according to strict pharmacological and therapeutic protocols, and contain a known amount of active ingredients from cannabis extract.

As Panaxia continues to grow in the US, Segal also expressed optimism that the Lod-based company would also soon be able to begin to market products at home.

“We hope that as a result of the completion of the Health Ministry’s regulatory process, we will also be able to sell smokeless, medical cannabis-based products in Israel,” he said.

Navajo Committee Passes Pot Proposal

By John Christian Hopkins / Lake Powell Life
Published on July 2, 2017

Navajo Nation Council Delegate Lee Jack, Sr. has sponsored legislation aimed at making medical marijuana legal on the reservation.

There is a humanitarian need for it, according to one backer of the bill.

Former Vice Presidential candidate Dineh Benally told the council’s Health, Education and Human Services Committee how medical marijuana could have eased his mother’s final months.

Benally said his mom, who had pancreatic cancer, really suffered over the final four months of her life.

“She didn’t have the medication to have a better part of life,” Benally said.

That’s why he has been pushing to legal medical marijuana, he told the committee.

Jack’s legislation would allow businesses to cultivate or produce cannabis – or hemp – for economic, industrial or scientific purposes.

But, to make marijuana legal the tribe would have to amend Title 17, section 391, of the Navajo Nation Code.

Currently the tribe has a “zero tolerance” policy toward marijuana and anyone caught in possession could face up to one year in jail or a $5,000 fine.

Jack said his bill could spur economic development on the reservation.

Benally is hoping the tribe will enter into business with Ultra Health, a New Mexico company that projects having 60,000 patients by the end of the year.

Ultra Health already boasts nearly 43,000 patients, many suffering from chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, epilepsy, neuropathy, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other disorders.

“What we are doing is educating people that this is not just a joint you can smoke, it’s real medicine,” Ultra Health Vice President Leonard Salgado said.

Navajo Legislative Counsel Rhonda Tuni noted that even if the council approved the measure, it would still take some time before a business could offer medical marijuana.

There would still need to be regulations in place, she said.

Jack’s bill passed the Health, Education and Human Services Committee by a 3-2 margin. It will move on to the Resource and Development Committee.

Smokeless Medical Cannabis Products Released in New Mexico

The state’s largest medical cannabis company releases first-ever pharmaceutical grade products

(Albuquerque) - Ultra Health, New Mexico’s #1 medical cannabis company with a nationwide presence, has released the first pharmaceutical grade, accurately dosed medical cannabis products to the New Mexico market. The products provide reliable and easy-to-administer dosages of medical cannabis, which has been effective in treating a variety of ailments ranging from PTSD to cancer to chronic pain to epilepsy to Parkinson’s disease, among others.

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Cool Canna-Tech From Tel Aviv: Pharma Inhalers & Vibrating Vapes

By Jole Dolce / Leafly
Published on June 14, 2017

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — This city is a nutty place, full of contradictions, a liberal bubble inside a conservative country. It has a thriving LGBT population, most restaurants offer a vegan menu, and there are more cannabis clouds on its clogged streets than in San Francisco or Denver.
Although Israel has no legal recreational market – it’s still against the law to sell bongs or vaporizers – many Tel Avivians are smoking spliffs in the bars, in the streets, on the beach, and outside the CannaTech conference I attended earlier this year. Mind you, in Israel the only people legally allowed to use cannabis are the 28,000 patients enrolled in the state medical cannabis program. The laws here, like most places in the world, haven’t yet caught up with reality.

The CannaTech gathering focused on the intersection of technology, pharma, and cannabis—and offered a peek at the future of cannabis delivery systems.
Here are a few tech innovations that I saw at the conference (and outside of it as well) that could be appearing in North American dispensaries in the not-so-distant future.

Yes, a Vibrating Vaporizer

Disposable oil-cartridge vape pens may be discreet and easy to use, but they break and clog too frequently. The oils, which are typically thinned with propylene glycol, scratch the throat, and the Chinese-made metal coils that heat them can break down at high temperatures.

The Kanabo VapePod offers an alternative for patients who want a metered, temperature-controlled dose. Kanabo has replaced the metal coil with a ceramic oven inside a cartridge. Especially useful to inexperienced patients is the way the device vibrates when you’re pulling and stops once you’ve reached the correct dose. You can also set the exact temperature through an app on your phone, which allows you to target specific cannabinoids, each of which has a different burning point.

Kanabo CEO and founder Avihu Tamir says he got the idea when he was prescribed cannabis for migraines but found the notion of smoking medicine “ridiculous.” A lot of smoke-averse patients would agree. Because the VapePod is initially aimed at the medical market, Tamir designed the product to be well-functioning and intentionally unsexy–although the product’s latest incarnation, pictured up top, has obviously undergone a design upgrade. I can see this translating to the recreational market fairly easily. Put a titanium finish on that vape, and you’ve got a potential winner in the expanding rec markets.

Is This The Future of the Dab?

It could be if medical cannabis gets restructured along a strict pharma model.

The developers at Panaxia have repackaged whole plant extracts into pills, inhalers, transdermal patches and yes, suppositories. Panaxia’s manufacturing facility is in New Mexico, but most of it R&D happens in Israel and is managed by scientists affiliated with the Weizmann Institute of Science, located south of Tel Aviv.

Companies like these are betting that seniors and other patients with severe illnesses won’t want to fiddle or futz with tinctures, oils or green capsules—and may fear a medicine that’s been criminalized for more than 80 years. I think companies like Panaxia stand a great chance of succeeding. After all, the pharma industrial complex has medicalized death, birth, and school. Why should cannabis be any different?
With its cutting-edge inhaler, Panaxia dresses up plant-derived THC and CBD in drab but familiar clothes. The inhaler has a 2.5 mg hit of THC, which Eran Goldberg, Panaxia’s CTO, claims hits as fast as a dab and offers immediate pain relief. In March, Panaxia announced that it had entered into a joint venture with Ultra Health, a New Mexico medical marijuana producer, to manufacture the inhalers, as well as tablets and suppositories, at a planned $1 million facility in Bernalillo, a few miles north of Albuquerque. The products may eventually be available in both New Mexico and in Nevada, as Ultra Health is working with the Paiute Tribe on their grow and retail facilities in that state.

Panaxia’s sublingual pastilles have a special heat-activated compound that helps cannabinoids absorb into the mouth tissues more quickly. The bitter taste of THC molecules in the lozenges are “wrapped” in a food grade polymer and camouflaged by menthol. Rectal suppositories are used for colitis or IBS; vaginal for menstrual cramps.

All of these developments are impressive, but there are two things missing: One are formulations with a ratio of THC to CBD. The mixing of these two compounds has been shown to yield better results than single-compound formulas. The second missing element: There no reports from patients who have used them yet, so we won’t know how effective they are for a while.

One thing is clear: the facility that produces these pills is one of the most secure pharma labs in the world. Did I say “facility?” Sorry, “fortress” is more accurate. The Israeli police insisted the company build a $1.5 million steel wall around its lab and then install a 24-hour armed guard to watch over the “raw product” stored within. No other lab—even those that produce opioids—is required to have this kind of security. Does it make sense? Of course not, but that’s the high cost of being a cannabis pioneer.

See the top-grossing medical marijuana companies in New Mexico (slideshow)

By Juliana Vandals / Albuquerque Business First
Published on July 7, 2017

The medical marijuana industry is getting pretty big in New Mexico. How big? In 2016, the top 25 medical marijuana companies made over $46 million in gross receipts and paid over $12.3 million in compensation to their employees.

One of the largest medical marijuana companies is R. Greenleaf Organics, which has 70 employees and nearly 10,000 patients who purchased in Q1 2017.

In total, 108,729 patients purchased from the top 25 medical marijuana companies on The List in Q1 2017. These companies have a total of 9,054 plants in production as of the same time period. The average price per gram among the top companies is $11.08, with the most expensive price per gram coming from Sacred Garden at nearly $30.

Marijuana has a history in the country of being a controversial substance. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 imposed a tax on the sale of cannabis, hemp or marijuana.

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act classified marijuana as a drug with “no accepted medical use.” In 1976, activist Robert Randall petitioned for his use of medical cannabis being a “medical necessity.”

California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. New Mexico became the 12th state to allow medical cannabis with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act in 2007.

The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act allows for the “beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.”