Budding operation: NM's nonprofit medical marijuana takes 'big business' turn

Eric Howard takes great pride in his “ladies,” each of which can yield up to 16 ounces of medical cannabis in a 16-week life cycle.

“They get so heavy, they fall over right at the end,” said Howard, master grower at an 11-acre growing facility in Bernalillo owned by Ultra Health LLC. A trellis system is needed to support the heavy flowering branches of the mature plants.

Howard urges a visitor to feel one of the dense flowers, which leaves a sticky resin on the fingers.

Flowers of medical cannabis plants on a drying rack at an Albuquerque growing facility owned by R. Greenleaf & Associates. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)“I’m very proud,” he said. “A lot of care goes into these ladies.”

Duke Rodriguez, the principal of Ultra Health, also expresses pride in the facility, where he grows 450 marijuana plants at a time, the maximum allowed under...

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