The Alamogordo Daily News reports that local cannabis company UltraHealth’s 2017 lawsuit against New Mexico State Fair officials has resulted in a first-of-its-kind ruling that reaffirms cannabis producers’ right to First Amendment protections. The 37-page District Court ruling concludes that State Fair officials’ restriction of imagery depicting cannabis in UltraHealth’s educational booth was unreasonable, thereby violating the company’s right to freedom of speech and expression.
The ruling concludes by ordering the reimbursement of State Fair penalty fees, passing UltraHealth’s legal bill on to the state and enjoining State Fair officials against the prohibition of cannabis photographs and other representative imagery. This outcome has notable precedent-setting potential, as plaintiff attorney Brian Egolf notes: “Licensed medical cannabis producers now know that their work serving patients is protected under the law and the United States Constitution.”
For the record, this isn’t UltraHealth’s first—or final—legal fight involving medical cannabis. In the Santa Fe New Mexican, Steve Terrell reports that UltraHealth filed a $1.5 million lawsuit on Jan. 17 against the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. That complaint rests on state law that exempts prescription drugs and medications from the gross receipts tax, alleging that refusal to process said deductions was motivated by a longstanding “bias against medical cannabis.” Damages sought include the refund of $1.5 million in taxes collected between January 2015 and June 2018—plus resulting interest—and the payment of court costs and attorney fees.
Sponsored by State Senators and Representatives Candace Gould (R-Albuquerque), Jacob Candelaria (D-Albuquerque), Gail Armstrong (R-Magdalena) and Rebecca Dow (R-Truth or Consequences), Senate Bill 204: Medical Marijuana in Schools would allow for the possession, storage and administration of medical cannabis to licensed patients in school settings. On Jan. 30, SB 204 advanced to the Senate Public Senate Judiciary Committee as a “Do Pass” with amendments.
In convo with KNME, Safe Access New Mexico’s Jason Barker summed up SB 204: “What we’re seeking there in the legislation is to make it so that all the students, pediatric patients, the kids that are attending public schools or charter schools or any schools in the state can still attend school but also receive their medical cannabis treatment in case an emergency comes up.” For an in-depth human interest perspective on SB 204, check out Civilized’s feature on local mom Lindsay Sledge and her fight for in-school access to medicinal cannabis for youthful patients similar to her child. Sledge’s 5-year-old daughter Paloma suffers with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, and cannabis tinctures have proved the sole effective and tolerable treatment.
P.S. Visit bit.ly/NMCannaExpo to RSVP to Weekly Alibi’s Organabus CBD-sponsored 2019 New Mexico Cannabis Expo, happening Saturday, Mar. 23 from 11am to 5pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Learn more about our efforts toward achieving a New Mexican cannatopia at alibi.com/