DEA Destroyed Medical Cannabis

When federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents visited a Santa Fe medical cannabis dispensary after an explosion last week, they seized what local police originally described as “evidence” for an investigation. SFR has since learned that the federal agency yanked all the marijuana plants that were growing there and hauled them away for destruction…

As investigators try to determine more details about what caused the explosion, suspected to have occurred during an extraction process at New MexiCann Natural Medicine’s compound on West San Mateo Lane, attorney Marc Lowry says the management and staff are more concerned about the health and recovery of Nick Montoya, 29, and Aaron Smith, 28, who received third-degree burns and remain hospitalized.

Yet the loss of the 150 plants—conservatively valued at $750,000—will impact New MexiCann’s fall harvest and ongoing operation…

In the meantime, SFR has also learned inspectors from the city’s fire marshal office visited New MexiCann’s facility after the producer filed a certificate of occupancy, but Fire Marshal Rey Gonzales Jr. says the gas extraction equipment was not in place during his team’s original site visit…

Meanwhile, Lowry says that Len Goodman, the founder of New MexiCann, is engaged in open dialog with all law enforcement and government agencies and is waiting to get a green light after the investigations are concluded before reopening his Santa Fe location.

Other state-licensed producers tell SFR they’re in discussions and plan to provide New MexiCann new plants so Goodman’s patients have a consistent supply of medication and he’s set back up in time to plant a new winter crop…

New MexiCann is one of the largest dispensaries in New Mexico, and one of the few that are expanding.  New MexiCann’s owner has said in the past that this state doesn’t need additional dispensaries.  I wonder what he thinks now?  There’s been talk of shortages ever since the program began about 8 years ago, and the resulting shortages from this explosion will add to the problem.

Growing plants is a risky business.  There’s bugs, mold, weather, chemicals, bad seeds, and other things that can ruin your product.  (And there’s always the DEA.)  The small number of dispensaries in this state (and all the things that can go wrong) harms patients every day.

Explosion Burns Two Santa Fe Pot Dispensary Employees

Two parallel law enforcement investigations are under way this afternoon following Thursday’s fiery gas explosion that injured two employees at NewMexiCann Natural Medicine’s cannabis dispensary in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Police tell SFR they are vigorously working to determine the cause of the explosion that left Nicholas Montoya and Aaron Smith, both in their 20s, with serious third degree burns. At noon, both men remain hospitalized after being airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center last night. Montoya was listed in critical condition. Smith is listed in serious condition.

Police spokeswoman Lt. Andrea Dobyns tells SFR that investigators believe that butane gas was involved in the dangerous explosion, but it is still unclear what ignited the gas…

A dispensary worker who says he can’t comment turned away a line of cars at NewMexiCann’s closed facility on Friday afternoon, and patients reported that the nearby New Mexico Top Organics dispensary was crowded and running out of some supplies…

After 30 gas-related explosions in Colorado, regulators there imposed strict new extraction rules July 1. While licensed producers are allowed to safely manufacture the products via gas extraction, amateur patients who attempt to use hazardous gases in private homes could face felony charges.

Jason Marks, an attorney who represents multiple cannabis producers, says that rules governing New Mexico’s medical cannabis program don’t prohibit the gas extraction.

During a recent review of the program’s rules, Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward decided not to impose any new gas extraction restrictions. Ward’s spokesman, Kenny Vigil tells SFR he is not aware of any similar accidents at any other locations.

UPDATED: Sean R Waite, the special agent in charge of the DEA in New Mexico tells SFR the agency’s investigation is ongoing in cooperation with the US Attorney’s Office but the agency won’t comment about whether the evidence it seized includes medical cannabis products sold in the dispensary to qualified patients. While the federal government lists marijuana as an illegal controlled substance, the US Attorney General has previously told the DEA to stand down on medical cannabis producers as long as they follow state rules. 

All 50 States Ranked By The Cost Of Weed (Hint: Oregon Wins)

The map says the cost for an ounce in New Mexico is $286, “according to, a site where users can anonymously submit the cost of weed in their area purchased either from the black market or legally through a dispensary.”

I’d say that was closer to the underground market price.  For instance, New MexiCann’s price is $320 an ounce, and at Medzen, it’s $364.

This is why I couldn’t afford edibles

From today’s New MexiCann newsletter:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Glutten Free
30 mg – $5.25

Glutten (glutton) free, that’s hilarious. 🙂

High THC Capsules
mix oil / hybrid
100 mg per cap
2 caps per bag – $28

That’s $14.00 per pill, while a 10mg hydrocodone is $1.54 per pill, according to this link.  But with insurance, I got 180 pills per month for about a $10 copayment (that’s 5 cents per pill).

You’d think if the federal government was really concerned about the opioid “epidemic,” prescription medications wouldn’t be so cheap and medical cannabis would be covered by insurance.

Bud sale!

From today’s New MexiCann newsletter:

***$10 grams***

CBD AK47 Flower

THC/THCA 13.4% , 8.2% CBD/CBG

CBD Hula Buddha

THC/THCA 5.7%, CBD/CBG 10.6%

I have noticed that dispensaries in New Mexico only have sales on high-CBD strains.  And I have to wonder why that is…  Obviously, these weak strains aren’t as popular. While $10 a gram is a good price, how many patients does this sale help?

“How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?”

This song (Dear Mr. President by Pink) is dedicated to the members of the New Mexico Medical Cannabis program — patients, patient associations, producers and dispensaries, doctors, and the Department of Health.  And to the New Mexico State Medical Board and every politician in this state.

While all of you enjoy your holiday weekend, take a moment to think about those who can’t afford this program and have to suffer, and suffer, and suffer, without any pain relief.

“How do you walk with your head held high?  Can you even look me in the eye?”


The subject of this issue is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which occurs naturally in the plant. THCA needs to be heated so it changes into THC, the active form that gets you high. All cannabinoids occur naturally in their acid forms, that’s just how their enzymes make them. The difference between THCA and THC is a carboxy group. Upon smoking, cooking or vaping heat gets rid of the carboxy so THCA gives off CO2, loosing about 12 percent of its weight in the process.

Why does this matter for lab testing? Because THCA is heavier than THC, and lab results are given in mass percent.

The root of the confusion is the fact that different lab techniques give inherently different potency values. Depending on the lab, the analysis machine might use one of two separation methods: gas chromatography (GC) or liquid chromatography (LC).

GC uses temperatures high enough to completely decarboxylate all the cannabinoids in the mixture. This means GC does the decarboxylation for you, giving you only one reading for THC.

This makes GC useless for testing edibles because you need to be able to tell the difference between inactive THCA and active THC…

Stuff like this is confusing to me, and I don’t pretend to understand it all.  There’s a New Mexican dispensary that combines both THC and THCA results in one listed percentage, which if I understand it correctly, is not how to determine the THC value in bud.  And yet, New Mexicann is the only dispensary to carry the Americans for Safe Access PFC label, which makes it even more confusing.  For more info: