Ultra Health, New Mexico’s number one medical cannabis company, recently announced that it will soon start construction on the state’s largest and most sustainable cannabis production and distribution site in Tularosa.
The growth site will sit on 200 acres on Old Tularosa Farm Road. It will include indoor and outdoor medical cannabis cultivation, as well as hemp production.
The cutting-edge medical cannabis cultivation site is expected to open in 2019. It will initially employ 25 people when the facility opens then employ 100 people once it’s at full capacity. The site should be at full capacity by 2020.
Ultra Health’s largest and most advanced cultivation center is currently in Bernalillo, New Mexico. The cannabis cultivation campus sits on 11 acres and is home to a total of 90,000 square feet of greenhouse space and production buildings where the medical cannabis is grown and processed.
The cultivation site in Tularosa will take advantage of natural sunlight and secure water rights to more than 1,000 acre feet of water, the equivalence of 325.9 million gallons of water per year.
Ultra Health Communications Manager Marissa Novel said the Tulie cultivation site is going to be home to a few different types of cannabis products.
“There will be 20 greenhouses which will be growing the cannabis plants. We’re also planning on doing 80 acres of outdoor cannabis fields which will produce a different variety of cannabis. It will also produce hemp, which is a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) type of cannabis, higher in cannabidiol (CBD),” Novel said. “CBD is therapeutic and non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t get the user high but still provides a lot of therapeutic effects.”
The medical cannabis plants will be grown indoors on 20 acres in air-supported, wind-assisted greenhouses. The outdoor medical cannabis fields will stretch across 80 acres of land on the west side of the ultramodern greenhouses. Behind the cannabis fields will be the area where hemp is produced where it will be manufactured into high CBD oils, topicals and concentrates as well as fibers and other products which will be available at the Ultra Health’s Emporio in Albuquerque.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), currently there are two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of medical interest, THC and CBD.
THC can increase appetite and reduce nausea. THC may also decrease pain, inflammation (swelling and redness) and muscle control problems, according to NIH.
Unlike THC, CBD is a cannabinoid that doesn’t involve giving patients a high. It may be useful in reducing pain and inflammation, controlling epileptic seizures and possibly even treating mental illness and addictions, according to NIH.
Novel said the cannabis producing facility in Tularosa will be an exciting addition to southern New Mexico and will have a positive impact on the local economy.
“This is something that people should be really proud of, mainly because Southern New Mexico does have a very prime climate for growing cannabis,” Novel said. “Tularosa was the perfect candidate for this project because the climate is great, the soil is great for growing crops and there’s room for expansion. We have set up meetings with Mayor Ray Cordova to discuss this project to bring representatives up to speed on the opportunity here.”
The Daily News attempted to contact Mayor Cordova seeking comment for this story but telephone calls were never returned as of press time.
She said now that Ultra Health has opened several dispensaries across the state after careful inspections from the New Mexico Department of Health, she hopes that people will be more accepting of the controversial plant.
“From an agricultural standpoint, cannabis is a very unique plant. When it’s planted on pieces of land that have been deteriorated from a bean or corn crop, the cannabis plant can actually restore the soil,” Novel said. “In terms of changing people’s minds, I think if people start seeing more hemp products available in New Mexico they’ll start to recognize the versatility of the cannabis plant as well as the medicinal value that can help a lot of people.”
Ultra Health opened its eighth dispensary in New Mexico right here in Alamogordo, 607 N. White Sands Blvd., in August 2017. There are currently more than 45,000 enrollees in the state’s Medical Cannabis Program, 980 are from Otero County.
The Medical Cannabis Program was made possible by the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act which was passed by the New Mexico Legislature in 2007.
The Senate bill states that licensed producers are exclusively granted the authority to produce, possess, distribute and dispense cannabis.
The current limitation on how many plants a producer can grow in New Mexico is at 450 plants.
Anyone interested in applying for the Medical Cannabis Program and obtaining a medical cannabis ID card can download an application on the New Mexico Department of Health’s website.