New Mexico teachers quit classroom to open marijuana dispensary
A group of middle school teachers in Albuquerque, New Mexico, decided over a happy hour late last year to quit their jobs and open a cannabis dispensary.
Details: La Tiendita de Motita opened last week. It was founded by five women—Mary Jean Garcia, Mallory Garcia, Jamie Munsey, Gina Mares and Laura Legarda — who wanted to do something different and destigmatize marijuana use. Only one still teaches.
- The women were teachers for several years but wanted to spend more time with family and take on a new challenge, they said.
- "I do feel like we were raised being taught weed is bad," Mallory Garcia said.
- She said they want to teach others — especially elderly people for whom marijuana is still deeply stigmatized — that cannabis can have medicinal benefits.
Between the lines: Hispanics account for only 5.7% of licensed cannabis business owners, according to the National Hispanic Cannabis Council, an organization formed to address the underrepresentation of Hispanics in the cannabis business. The council based its findings on a survey and says there's no national database tracking dispensary owners' race or ethnicity.
- Finding financing is among the biggest struggles.
- The teachers said they sold assets and cashed out retirement funds to start La Tiendita. They hope eventually to have their own cannabis farm.
State of play: The New Mexico bill that legalized recreational weed earlier this year included provisions to help people with limited funding and resources get in the door, its Democrat co-author Sen. Gerald “Jerry” Ortiz y Pino tells Axios.
- Low-cost loans are also available for micro producers, micro manufacturers, and micro retailers, Democratic State Rep. Javier Martínez, another author, told Axios.
The intrigue: The New Mexico law also allows cannabis business owners to extend their retail license to cover other ventures, like production, manufacturing or courier services, state Rep. Javier Martínez, a co-author, said.
- "That is a game changer," Martínez said.
- The law allows for a micro-business license to cultivate up to 200 plants for a flat $1,000 fee aimed at attracting first-time commercial growers.
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