New Mexico taps Colorado industry insider as new top cannabis regulator

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New Mexico’s marijuana regulatory authority has selected Todd Stevens, a veteran of Colorado’s Native Roots Cannabis Co., to serve as the state’s MJ chief.

Stevens’ “experience as an industry leader made him the ideal candidate to take the lead” at the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) of New Mexico’s Regulation and Licensing Department, the agency’s superintendent, Linda Trujillo, said in a news release.

“I am confident in his ability to lead this team and make New Mexico’s regulated cannabis industry one to rival,” she added.

Stevens served as a manager at Native Roots since 2015, most recently acting as the company’s head of training and development, according to the release.

“In the past year, New Mexico has established a thriving new industry, licensed more than 2,000 cannabis businesses, and held those businesses to the high standard that comes with an adult-use cannabis market,” Stevens said in a statement.

“I am committed to building on this success while protecting consumer safety and promoting business practices that help this new industry continue to be a transformational economic driver.”

He is the second veteran of the Colorado marijuana industry to head New Mexico’s regulatory agency.

The CCD’s inaugural director, Kristen Thomson – a former cannabis executive and lobbyist in Colorado – resigned in 2022 to take a private sector role after less than a year on the job, prompting criticism.

After Thompson’s departure, the CCD was led by interim director Carolina Barrera and then by acting director Andrew Vallejos, according to a CCD spokesperson.

Recreational marijuana sales in New Mexico launched in April 2022 and exceeded $300 million in Year One.

July cannabis sales in New Mexico totaled nearly $47.8 million, including roughly $34.1 million from the adult-use market and $13.7 million from the medical marijuana program, according to CCD data.