At a time when many businesses are struggling to survive, an Albuquerque-based company has made its Roswell debut.
R. Greenleaf Organics Inc. opened a medical marijuana and CBD dispensary Friday at 4311 N. Main St., the former Galactic Sushi site. The company typically goes by the name R. Greenleaf.
The business had worked for about six months to open the location, its first in southern New Mexico, said Chairman Willie Ford.
“Obviously we wanted to serve the patients of Roswell for years, and we were waiting for the right opportunity,” Ford said, explaining that plans were able to go forward when the company found a suitable site.
“We wanted to make sure that we provide not just access to medicine, but safe access and quality access to medicine, and this location that we found did all those things,” Ford said. The location also gives the company and the industry its first drive-up window.
Licensed by the New Mexico Department of Health in 2010, R. Greenleaf grows, manufactures and distributes cannabis and CBD, or cannabidiol, to patients with medical cards in several New Mexico cities.
Ford said it has seven growing facilities, production sites and dispensaries. They are located in Albuquerque, in Bernalillo County just outside Albuquerque and in Grants. A Las Cruces store also is planned for an opening in a few months. The company has about 90 total employees, Ford said. The local store has a staff of about 10.
Ford said it has become one of the largest distributors in New Mexico and credited that to having a consistent supply, quality products and reasonable prices. The company has won several readers’ choice awards sponsored by various publications.
In addition to marijuana and CBD flowers and buds, the company sells derivatives such as salves, tinctures and oils, as well as edibles, including candies, cookies and chocolate.
Providing medically prescribed marijuana and CBD is considered by a New Mexico Public Health order to be an essential business, so all of the company’s operations have been continuing through the COVID-19 emergency.
“This is medicine. People count on it for quality of life and medicine,” Ford said, adding that the business is accustomed to having strict sanitary guidelines because it serves immuno-suppressed patients. But he added that new practices have been instituted as well during this time.
“We’ve been limiting the number of people who are allowed inside at any one time, and then we also have an employee who will pass out numbers so the customers won’t lose their place in line. They can wait in the car,” he said.
He added that all of its products are pre-sealed at its manufacturing facility and then shipped to Roswell, so the product cannot be contaminated at local sites.
Ford said the company explored growing marijuana in southeastern New Mexico and hopes to do that at some point.
Chaves County has three other licensed marijuana producers as of April 8, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. It also has a handful of other medical cannabis dispensaries, as well as several stores that sell pre-packaged and manufactured CBD products.
Ford said he cannot predict how many customers the store will serve, but he thinks there is a sizable market in Roswell and surrounding communities.
According to the state Health Department, medical cannabis can be prescribed for 28 medical conditions. As of February 2020, Chaves County had 2,635 people with medical cards for cannabis, while the state had 82,147.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.