Emergency cannabis rule for manufacturers enacted, Ultra Health responds

·3 min read

A new emergency rule enacted by New Mexico offered insight into the certification process for cannabis manufacturer Ultra Health as it works to establish a new cannabis manufacturing plant in Alamogordo.

The emergency rule regulates edible and topical cannabis products and was enacted on Dec. 2 by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD) Cannabis Control Division (CCD) in partnership with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).

"The new manufacturing rules do not introduce a whole lot of newness in the industry," Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez said. "It does codify language to specifically outlaw certain extraction methods that were at the core of two explosions by one bad actor.

"Outside of prohibiting open loop extraction, most of the changes bring the New Mexico Environment Department more into the new adult use program. Their expertise could prove helpful in raising the standard of care and protocols."

More: Alamogordo adds $500 fee to manufacturer licenses in amended cannabis ordinance

Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez, an Alamogordo native, surveys the factory floor at Western Baking Corporation.

New Mexico-based cannabis company Ultra Health will be moving into the former Western Baking Corporation at 1301 LaVelle Road in Alamogordo.
Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez, an Alamogordo native, surveys the factory floor at Western Baking Corporation. New Mexico-based cannabis company Ultra Health will be moving into the former Western Baking Corporation at 1301 LaVelle Road in Alamogordo.

This emergency rule is enacted for 180 days and allows members of the cannabis industry to get their manufacturing facilities built and have operational procedures in place prior to applying for a cannabis manufacturer's license to the Cannabis Control Division.

"Manufacturers of edible and topical products are required to complete a certification process with NMED prior to completing the CCD application process," a news release from the state Regulation and Licensing Department states. "The certification ensures the safety of the facility and manufacturing process with respect to food production and storage. Together, the certification and licensing processes will ensure a robust and safe cannabis industry in New Mexico."

Beginning Dec. 10, cannabis manufacturers may use a web-based portal through the New Mexico Environment Department to meet the emergency rule's certification requirement, the news release states.

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"Consumer safety is key to standing up a thriving adult-use cannabis industry in New Mexico,” Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Linda Trujillo said.

“The Cannabis Control Division is grateful to be working with the New Mexico Environment Department, the state's food-safety experts, to set manufacturing rules that ensure that in New Mexico consumers have access to only quality, safe edible and topical cannabis products."

Prior to the emergency rule's expiration, a permanent rulemaking process will take place that will include a public comment period and a public hearing before the final rule is enacted. The final rule is expected to be enacted in May 2022.

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Ultra Health's Alamogordo manufacturing facility was a licensed food processing facility - used a cookie factory - prior to being sold to the company.

"The new rules will be more favorable for quality facilities like the 200,000 square foot facility in Alamogordo," Rodriguez said. "The facility is in its final week of allowing the previous owner to remove some of their kitchen equipment and hardware. More than 60 semi-trucks of previously installed heavy equipment have been loaded and are ready to be relocated."

Once the final cleanup is concluded, the Alamogordo Ultra Health facility will be "the single largest cannabis production, processing and manufacturing facility in not only New Mexico, but in the entire western U.S.," Rodriguez said.

More: Ultra Health to assume LEDA obligation from cookie factory

Nicole Maxwell can be contacted by email at nmaxwell@alamogordonews.com, by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter.

This article originally appeared on Alamogordo Daily News: Emergency cannabis rule for New Mexico manufacturers enacted

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