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Growing Forward: Cannabis and New Mexico Podcast

1st Place Winner of a 2021 New Mexico Press Women Award

Growing Forward Logo with mic and marijuana leaf

A podcast exploring the cannabis industry in New Mexico. Hosted by Andy Lyman, reporter at New Mexico Political Report, and Megan Kamerick, correspondent at New Mexico PBS, on-air host at KUNM radio and former business reporter.

Cannabis Comes Full Circle for Former Gov. Gary Johnson | 4.5.21

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson made national headlines back in the 90s by publicly advocating for the legalization of adult use cannabis. His comments were made years before the state even set up a medical cannabis program. And still today, it is one of the top things that Johnson is known for, both here in New Mexico and nationally. In a special episode of Growing Forward, co-hosts Andy Lyman and Megan Kamerick catch up with Governor Johnson to get his reaction to the New Mexico legislature's historic vote last week, sending an adult use legalization bill to the Governor's desk, along with a companion bill creating a process for the expungement of cannabis-related offenses. You can read more of Andy Lyman's reporting on Gov. Johnson and last week's Special Legislative Session over at New Mexico Political Report.

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

Episode Art by: Elsa Olofson via Flickr

Put a Bow On It | 4.2.21

It's (almost) official. Recreational use of cannabis will be legal in New Mexico. After a two-day special session, lawmakers approved the cannabis regulation bill – HB 2 – which now heads to the Governor's desk for her signature. So, to put a bow on cannabis legalization, our hosts Andy Lyman and Megan Kamerick chatted with two of the bill sponsors that got it done.

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

Episode Art by: Elsa Olofson via Flickr

Special Session Day 2 Recap | 3.31.21

Another busy day in the Roundhouse, as lawmakers once again took up the legalization of adult use cannabis in New Mexico. At the time the Growing Forward team recorded this update, much of the work had been completed, and just minutes after we finished recording the Senate passed House Bill 2 the Cannabis Regulation Act by a vote of 22 to 15.  The House concurred with the changes just a few minutes after that, so the measure is headed to the Governor's desk, along with Senate Bill 2, which creates automatic expungements for cannabis related offenses, as well as Senate Bill 1 which made changes to the Local Economic Development Act, or LEDA. Read more on the completion of this Special Session, from co-host Andy Lyman at New Mexico Political Report.

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

Special Session Day 1 Recap | 3.30.21

Day one of the 2021 Special Legislative Session saw several proposals introduced dealing with the legalization of adult use cannabis in New Mexico. There are competing bills in the House and Senate, known as the Cannabis Regulation Act (in the House it is House Bill 2, and in the Senate, Senate Bill 3). Both are being treated very differently, with HB 2 getting two committee assignments and SB 3 being sent straight to the Senate Floor. There is also a separate bill, Senate Bill 2, which deals with expungement of some cannabis-related crimes, if SB 3 or HB 2 were to pass. And, there are also pieces of the cannabis legalization in the so-called Feed Bill, House Bill 1. Additional appropriations were included to pay for aspects of running the legal cannabis market, again should HB 2 or SB 3 pass. That led to a lot of debate about whether or not it was right to be discussing these things before a legal market is even approved.

Our “Growing Forward” team breaks it all down for you, as it stands right now. We’ll be back again tomorrow night with another recap of day 2. And be sure to check in on co-host Andy Lyman’s latest reporting over at New Mexico Political Report.

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund – “Hallon”
Poddington Bear – “Good Times”

Up in Smoke

Legalizing recreational cannabis was the hot ticket item of the recent New Mexico legislative session, but the last ditch effort to get it done – House Bill 12 – went up in smoke. Now, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is calling for a special legislative session to once and for all address legalization head-on. In this episode of Growing Forward, our team sat down with Politico reporter Natalie Fertig to wrap up the session with her national perspective and with advocate Moises Gonzales to talk about what he wants to see added to future cannabis legislation.

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Greylock"

Episode Art By: N.ico via Flickr

The Race to the Finish Line

With just over a week left in the legislative session, lawmakers are racing against the clock to get recreational cannabis legalized in New Mexico. Hosts Andy Lyman (NM Political Report) and Megan Kamerick ( KUNM & NMPBS) sat down with Representative Andrea Romero to talk about one of her bills that might make the cut before it's too late.

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Lupi"

Legalization & The Legislature

Hosts Andy Lyman (New Mexico Political Report) and Megan Kamerick (NMPBS & KUNM) discuss the cannabis legalization efforts during the current 60-day legislative session. The pair starts off the episode by updating us with what's new in the current proposals with Santa Fe Reporter Editor and Publisher Julie Ann Grimm, followed by a deep dive into the legislation with Emily Kaltenbach of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

Let's Talk Cannabis in New Mexico: Special Episode

This week, we want to share some of the great work from our colleagues over at KUNM Radio, where co-host Megan Kamerick also works as an on-air host. She helmed this week's "Let's Talk New Mexico" call-in show, which focused entirely on the push for cannabis legalization during the 2021 legislative session. Co-host Andy Lyman from the New Mexico Political Report joined her as a guest to give important context on the bills introduced so far, and the history of the state's medical cannabis program. They were also joined by Representative Javier Martinez and Senator Cliff Pirtle, along with Shannon Jaramillo and Ben Lewinger from the Cannabis Chamber of Commerce. We wanted to share this with you, as many of the conversations we've had so far in this project are playing a role in the legislative drafted by lawmakers and the debates to come! 

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Neon Drip"
Kevin MacLeod - "Back Vibes Clean"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Greylock"

Cannabis Education Efforts

If lawmakers approve the legalization of recreational cannabis in this year's legislative session, the issue of education and training for industry workers and medical professionals will be a top priority. This week on "Growing Forward" we dive back into this important issue. Hosts Andy Lyman (New Mexico Political Report) and Megan Kamerick (NMPBS & KUNM) talk with Shannon Jaramillo, cannabis educator and founder of Seed Crest. Jaramillo has worked with Northern New Mexico College to set up an accredited cannabis education program. Also joining them is Matthew Fogel, a registered nurse and author of "The Green Elephant: The Healthcare Provider's Essential Guide to Understanding and Addressing Medical Cannabis and CBD."

Note: This week, a pair of bills related to the legalization of recreational cannabis were officially filed in the New Mexico Legislature. You can read much more about the bills and what they would do, in Andy's latest article for the NM Political Report.

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

New Mexico Senate Majority Leader Senator Wirth on 2021 Legislative Session & Cannabis Legalization

We kick off season 2 of "Growing Forward" where we left off with season 1: the 2021 Legislative Session. The Legislature convened on Tuesday, January 19th to kick off the 60-day session, which will be unlike any of us we have ever experienced before. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers will do their work mostly remotely and the public is not allowed into the Roundhouse at all this year. There is still a lot of uncertainty about just how the peoples' work will get done over the next two months, but one thing we know is that legalizing recreational cannabis will be debated and discussed. We wanted to get a better idea of how supporters plan to attack the issue this session, so hosts Andy Lyman and Megan Kamerick sat down on zoom with Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth (D). If you want to see the interview, you can also watch on Youtube. And, you can read more about some of the legislation, as we know it right now, in Andy's latest report for the New Mexico Political Report.

 

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

Cannabis Risks and Concerns - Special Episode

In this special bonus episode of "Growing Forward," we investigate some of the concerns that still exist around cannabis use and the potential legalization of recreational use in New Mexico. Dr. Brant Hager, a Psychiatrist at UNM, reached out to us recently to point out some of those risks and concerns, in relation to both recreational and medicinal use of cannabis. He spoke with hosts Andy Lyman and Megan Kamerick about what exactly those concerns are and what lawmakers still need to be considering when debating a legalization bill next year. (Note: Dr. Hager is speaking from his own perspective and his opinions are in no way representative of UNM as a whole).

 

Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

Holiday Leftovers

This week, we conclude Season 1 with a good 'ole batch of holiday leftovers. We covered a lot in this first season, but there are still plenty of issues left to discuss when it comes to New Mexico's existing medical cannabis program and the potential for a recreational-use market if lawmakers approve legalization in 2021. Hosts Andy Lyman and Megan Kamerick discuss everything from revenue projections, to banking challenges for cannabis-related businesses and much more!

 

Episode Music:

Blue Dot Sessions - "Lupi"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Pastel De Nata"
Chad Couch - "Wilsons Snipe"
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

Field Trip

Going into a cannabis dispensary can be confusing. Not only do patients juggle the many strangely-named strains of the plant, but they also have to figure out how to ingest it. Do they smoke the bud? Use a topical cream? A wax concentrate? Well, this week on “Growing Forward,” our crew grabbed their mics (and masks) for a field trip to a local Albuquerque dispensary & manufacturing facility to answer some of these questions. Listen, as we talk to the brains behind the cannabis products that patients all around the state rely on!
Episode Music:
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Poddington Bear - "Good Times"
Blue Dot Sessions – "Detailing"

Cannabis and Indigenous Communities

A missing piece of most cannabis conversations in New Mexico, whether it has to do with medical or the potential for legalization of recreational- use, is how Indigenous Communities are impacted. It's a complicated scenario, especially when you consider the 23 Tribes in our state are all sovereign nations. This week on "Growing Forward" we dive into those sovereignty issues, and how Indigenous communities perceive the future of cannabis in their communities.

 

Additional Reading - We talk a lot in this episode about a hemp-growing operation in Northwest New Mexico. As the episode points our, there are a lot of concerns about how that operation is being handled and operated. A lot has happened in this story since we taped out interview with Navajo Times Reporter Arlyssa Becenti, but here are some of her most recent updates and related reporting from other news outlets:

Coalition of Officers Raids Benally's Hemp Farms - Navajo Times

Redfeather-Benally Replaces Dineh Benally on Farm Board - Navajo Times

Police Agencies Still Investigating Hemp Farms on Navajo Nation - Farmington Daily Times

Uprooted: A Police Raid Near Shiprock Has All But Ended an Illicit Cannabis-Growing Operation - Searchlight New Mexico

Episode Music:

Christian Bjoerklund - " Hallon"

Poddington Bear - "Good Times"

Testing and Regulations

The clock is officially ticking, if New Mexico wants to legalize recreational-use cannabis. That's because voters in Arizona approved a measure last week, legalizing the drug in another neighboring state. Lawmakers and Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham will no doubt make it a top priority for the 2021 session, but there are many questions still to be answered as the legislation is drafted. One of those questions as to do with testing and regulations. This week on Growing Forward, hosts Megan Kamerick and Andy Lyman dive into this issue as it relates to the state's medical program. As with most things, it turns out New Mexico is different than other states in how they handle testing and regulation, in a lot of different ways.

Arizona Legalizes Recreational Cannabis | Special

This week, Arizona voters approved an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis in that state. Hosts Andy Lyman and Megan Kamerick talk to Arizona Republic reporter Andrew Oxford about what that initiative entailed and what impacts it may have on New Mexico's push to also legalize recreational cannabis in the upcoming 60-day session.

Cannabis Education

This week, we go back to school on cannabis education. And, we're not just talking about understanding how to get your medical card and how the plant can help alleviate pain and discomfort or even, potentially, help a person kick an addiction to opiates. It also has to do with how much cannabis dispensary employees should know about medical conditions and advising patients on the proper strains and doses to take. We'll walk you through the process from beginning to end and find out what kind of training requirements the experts say there should be in this burgeoning industry.

Episode Music:
Podington Bear - "Good Times"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Neon Drip"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Building the Sled"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Svela Tal"
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"

Pulling Back the Leaves

This week on "Growing Forward" we are truly pulling back the leaves, exploring more about the cannabis plant itself. Have you ever wondered how the plant works? Do you know what terpenes are? You will after listening to this episode! We'll also discuss other important issues, what goes into growing cannabis, and what it means for one of New Mexico's most precious resources: water.

 

Episode Music:
Podington Bear - "Good Times"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Doghouse"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Building the Sled"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Pastel De Nata"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Roundpine"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Low Light Switch"
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"

Who's Running Things

This time on Growing Forward we take a closer look at those people running the medical cannabis program, and how legalizing recreational cannabis would impact how they do business. This includes manufacturers and dispensary owners. It's a diverse group of people at the heart of this industry, and includes some surprise names. We'll also delve into other issues like plant limits and licenses and well as management companies, a fairly new approach to work within those license limits.

Episode Music:
Podington Bear - "Good Times"
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Building the Sled"
Kevin MacLeod - "Backed Vibes Session"

The Dynamics of Legalization

The push for the legalization of recreational cannabis has really picked up in recent years in the New Mexico legislature. In this week's episode, we look back at those efforts to date, and the strategy behind the legislation proposed in past sessions. We talk to lawmakers and advocates about how that legislation addresses complicated issues like restorative justice, protecting the medical cannabis program, and other regulation concerns.

An Abridged History of Medical Cannabis in New Mexico

The debate over medical cannabis use in New Mexico goes back to the 1970s. But it really cranked up in the 1990s, when former Governor Gary Johnson came out in support of legalization and decriminalization. It was a controversial stance at the time, but was coupled by the early stages of a push for legislation creating a medical cannabis program. That debate would last for nearly a decade, but the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act was signed into law in 2007. In this episode of "Growing Forward" we look back at that time and talk to lawmakers and advocates who worked tirelessly to create the nation's 13th medical cannabis program.

Episode Music:
Blue Dot Sessions - "Svela Tal"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Highride"
Blue Dot Sessions - "Neon Drip"
Chad Crouch - "American Coot"
Chad Crouch - "Western Tanager"
Chad Crouch - "Wilson's Snipe"
Podington Bear - "Good Times"
Christian Bjoerklund - "Hallon"

Growing Forward Season 1 Preview Episode

"Growing Forward" is a podcast dedicated to covering the cannabis industry in New Mexico. Right now that only includes the medical program, but lawmakers are inching closer to legalizing recreational cannabis as well. Before we dive into all the intricacies and nuances of legalization, we wanted to take a step back and give you the history of how we got to this place and time. Hosts Andy Lyman of the NM Political Report and Megan Kamerick, Correspondent at NMPBS and on-air host at KUNM discuss the start of the medical program in New Mexico, and what happened with recent attempts to pass legalization legislation in the Roundhouse. Be sure to subscribe to "Growing Forward" today and listen in next week (September 29) as we officially premiere episode 1 of season 1.

Growing Forward Season 1 Trailer

Growing Forward is a journalistic endeavor designed to cover the cannabis industry in New Mexico. Season 1 officially premieres on Tuesday, September 22nd. The podcast is a collaboration between New Mexico PBS and New Mexico Political Report, with funding provided by the New Mexico Local News Fund.

Note: Interviews for Growing Forward were all conducted via Zoom as a part of our COVID-safe practices. Originally our plan was to do interviews in person, but in order to maintain social distancing and to keep everyone involved safe and healthy, we decided to use the technology available to us.

 

Growing Forward Logo Created By: Katherine Conley