Medical marijuana dispensaries expand ahead of anticipated recreational legalization

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After state lawmakers failed to pass legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana, the governor announced that there would be a special session to get it done.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and local medical marijuana dispensaries said they’re feeling confident it’ll pass this time around.

“We try to be agile all the time because we know that these changes are coming,” said Rachael Speegle, CEO of the Verdes Foundation.

The Verdes Foundation, which has shops in Rio Rancho and the Albuquerque area, said they expect to see a market growth of five times what it is now. They’re already preparing for new customers.

“We’re expanding everything from our grow facilities, to our manufacturing and our throughput in our manufacturing cannabis-derived products, and we’re also adding new dispensaries and increasing our staff in our dispensaries,” Speegle said.

Speegle said they’re making those changes now so that they’re ready to go by day one. She also said they’ve been ready.

“There are some legislators who are unwilling to engage with the chamber because they represent private interests instead. And that’s, I believe, a real contributing factor to the breakdown in this year’s legislation, and why were now having to spend more time and more money,” she said.

Speegle said she hopes lawmakers will pay special attention to safety, regulation around home grows, and involving industry leaders in decisions surrounding legislation.