Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – A former Colorado lobbyist who played a role in drafting that state’s marijuana legalization laws was hired as the first director of the Cannabis Control Division in New Mexico.
Kristen Thomson started her new job on November 1st and has short deadlines. Commercial cannabis sales are slated to begin nationwide by April at the latest.
Legislature approved a bill to make New Mexico the 17th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adult users during a special session convened by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in March.
While commercial sales won’t begin until next year, possession and consumption of small amounts of marijuana is already legal under the new law.
Legislature also approved a separate measure to erase certain cannabis-related convictions from New Mexico criminal records, although the mechanisms for erasing such records have proven difficult.
According to her résumé, Thomson has worked for various lobbying and consulting firms.
Most recently, she campaigned for a bill that would allow trademark initiatives – but not explicit advertising – by Colorado cannabis companies in her position as Senior Director of Government Affairs at The Green Solution, a cannabis retailer that operates around 20 different pharmacies.
As director of the Cannabis Control Division of New Mexico, Thomson will lead the division’s licensing mandate and oversee additional rules in the run-up to legal cannabis sales.
The state has already enacted regulations on grower licenses, fees, and limits on the number of marijuana plants for licensed growers.
The latest proposed rule would require licensed cannabis retailers to have a labor peace agreement with every union that represents retail workers.
Such an agreement would prohibit boycotts, strikes and pickets against a pharmacy, the proposal, which will be the subject of a public hearing on December 1st.
The Cannabis Control Division, established in June under the New Mexico Legalization Act, is part of the state’s Regulatory and Licensing Division.
As director of the department, Thomson will earn an annual salary of $ 105,000, an RLD spokeswoman said.
Colorado was the second state to legalize recreational cannabis, but the first state to actually introduce licensed sales in 2014.