Hundreds of people vying to join New Mexico’s newest legal industry gathered in downtown Albuquerque on Wednesday, the day after cannabis became legal for recreational use in the state.
On the first day of the two-day cannabis legalization conference, dozens of stalls attended by marketers, growers, and cannabis teachers.
Guest speakers at the conference included state regulators and current medical cannabis manufacturers, but the keynote speaker was Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who convened a special session earlier this year to pass legislation to legalize cannabis. She then signed the bill after it was passed by lawmakers.
Lujan Grisham told a crowd of hopefuls that she would like to see a cannabis industry that can rival those in nearby states.
“Here’s what every governor wants, me included: I want you to knock the socks off this industry and make sure that states like Colorado, like green chilli, keep pointing and saying New Mexico to the best cannabis industry the country is in New Mexico, ”said Lujan Grisham. “I expect that. I’ve already prepared to buy the billboards in Colorado so I can make fun of myself a little productively and competitively [Colorado] governor [Jared] Polis, who you should know, is a champion and a very good colleague and friend of mine, but that’s what good governors do. “
Lujan Grisham also spoke about the special session that passed cannabis legalization, recalling that she didn’t want lawmakers to finish until cannabis legalization was complete and it got on her desk. She praised the work of lawmakers and regulators for their work in getting it passed, but also took a moment to encourage cannabis entrepreneurs to take the proverbial baton.
“The government is cumbersome, complicated, not very flexible,” said Lujan Grisham. “You can create an opportunity in any context that we’re not like, that we just lean in and meet the needs for you to be a successful entrepreneur. This is what i need You need an industry where the whole world is saying, ‘Have you heard of New Mexico? My God, it’s no longer green and red, it’s just green and green. They have the best cannabis. ‘”
You can watch the livestream of her speech below, courtesy of New Mexico PBS and Growing Forward, the joint podcast between New Mexico PBS and NM Political Report.