County company gets one of the first cannabis business licenses for recreational sales

Lava Leaf received its license on Dec. 15

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Lava Leaf LLC was the first producer-license issued to the Martinez family, comprised of father Steve Martinez and sons Tony and Mitchell Martinez.
  • The Cannabis Control Division selected the three licenses from more than 120 applications submitted.
  • The company aims for an operation of about 5,000 plants as workers aim to grow boutique craft cannabis that is sustainably produced.

FARMINGTON — A family-run San Juan County medical cannabis company is eager to expand its operations. It’s one of the first to get a cannabis business license from the state.

The license will let the company build a retail storefront in a Farmington shopping center next year.

The Cannabis Control Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department on Dec. 15 announced the first three cannabis licenses, according to an agency news release.

Lava Leaf LLC was the first producer-license issued to the Martinez family, comprised of father Steve Martinez and sons Tony and Mitchell Martinez.

The Cannabis Control Division selected the three licenses from more than 120 applications submitted. BAUDABOOMZ2 LLC of Edgewood and the Carver Family Farm of Albuquerque were also approved for a producer license.

“We’re just very excited to have the opportunity to have this plant count that we can expand and grow with,” CEO Tony Martinez said in phone interview with The Daily Times.

An undated photo of the cannabis plants produced by San Juan County cannabis company Lava Leaf. The company just received one of the state's first cannabis business licenses on Dec. 15.

Tony is an advocate and believer in the medical power of cannabis, learning from his time as a massage therapist for “elite athletes” and sick medical patients who were becoming addicted to pain killers.

Lava Leaf has been operating for the last six years in a space southwest of Aztec near Flora Vista.

The company has been growing cannabis plants as part of a management agreement with Urban Wellness, a medical cannabis dispensary in the Albuquerque area.

Tony said the company started with 25 cannabis plants but has expanded to growing 300 plants in the last two years.

More:Farmington City Council approves municipal code changes for cannabis use, sales

Lava Leaf struggled to get its own medical cannabis license in the past but will be able to expand its operations with the new producer license issued by the state.

The company aims for an operation of about 5,000 plants as workers aim to grow boutique craft cannabis that is sustainably produced, according to Tony.

Tony and the company didn’t seem interested in becoming a larger commercial producer and hitting the 10,000 cannabis plant limit.

“At this point of scale, 10,000 might as well be 10 million,” Tony Martinez said. “We're a long way from that because we're in this business, and we know how hard it is to grow this plant.”

More:San Juan County Commission approves amended cannabis regulation measure

The additional cannabis plant capacity and construction of a climate-controlled greenhouse will allow Lava Leaf to bring on staff throughout the year, instead of focusing on one big harvest a year.  

Lava Leaf is also preparing its retail storefront in GoTo Plaza at 5100 E. Main St. in Farmington, near Durango Joe’s coffee shop and Rambler Taproom.

Tony believes the store will be up and running no later than April 1.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e