New Mexico taps marijuana industry veteran for top adult-use job

Kristen Thomson, a former marijuana executive and lobbyist, has been appointed director of New Mexico’s new Cannabis Control Division, which is responsible for developing the state’s adult-use framework.

Thomson served as a lobbyist for more than 15 years and most recently was director of government affairs for The Green Solution, Colorado’s largest vertically integrated marijuana operator, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

New York-based Columbia Care completed its acquisition of The Green Solution in September 2020.

On her LinkedIn page, Thomson described the appointment as “heading up a team dedicated to creating an equitable and sustainable cannabis regulatory framework for the state of New Mexico. Proud to be working for Governor (Michelle) Lujan-Grisham to support her vision for cannabis legalization for the people of New Mexico.”

Retail sales are slated to start in New Mexico by April 2022. The 2021 MJBizFactbook projects annual sales of $150 million in the first full year and $425 million in the fourth year.

Columbia Care would like to expand into New Mexico, Adam Goers, senior vice president of corporate affairs, told the New Mexican.

But he said the company’s connection to Thomson would not give the company an advantage.

The newspaper reported that a state official declined to disclose how many people applied for the director’s position and how many had been interviewed.

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Duke Rodriguez, CEO of Ultra Health, the state’s largest medical cannabis operator, told the New Mexican that he hopes that Thomson’s industry experience “will provide some balance to treating the operators more collaboratively.”

Ultra Health long has had legal disputes with the state on issues such as plant-growing restrictions and dispensary expansion.