Cannabis sales soon
The fledgling recreational cannabis business is about to launch in New Mexico.
A recent article in The Paper revealed a little know fact about cannabis cultivation: cannabis growhouses — huge, windowless warehouses — consume enormous amounts of energy. Evan Mills, a retired energy efficiency researcher formerly at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, compares a growhouse’s electric power use to that of a data center filled with servers (think Facebook). Put another way, they use 10 times the electricity as a typical office building.
Cannabis can be grown much more efficiently using sunlight (what a concept!) in greenhouses or outdoors in fields. We need new industries to diversify our economy, but we don’t need to be spawning what Mills calls “Walmart-sized, windowless, energy-intensive factory farms.”
New Mexico is in the process of accepting applications from growers. We can hope the Cannabis Council enforces the new law’s sustainability rules for these applicants.
But cannabis shouldn’t distract us from much larger problems. Last October, New Mexico’s Climate Change Task Force released its annual report. “Fossil fuel development remained the highest generator of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in New Mexico … representing 53 percent of the state’s GHG emissions, followed by transportation at 14 percent and electricity generation at 11 percent.”
The CSU report showed oil and gas generated 60 million metric tons of GHGs in 2018, about four times more than previously estimated. In comparison, the estimated future New Mexico cannabis market, optimistically producing as much as 177 metric tons of product, would produce about 390,000 metric tons of CO2, or less than 1 percent of the emissions from oil and gas.
So yes, we need to hold new industries to a higher standard. But there are small problems and much bigger problems — like the 60 million metric ton elephant in the room.
Alex Sanchez, Los Lunas
Learning and enjoying Older Americans Program
This summer, from July 6-30, we were fortunate enough to be a part of the New Mexico Public Education Department’s internship program.
Our names are Sidney, Serenity and Alondra, and we have learned a lot from the people in the Older Americans Program. Many people in our community depend on the OAP for care and meals. They provide more than 600 meals a day, and for some people, that’s their only meal.
We’ve learned that in order to work in the OAP, you have to have a big heart. They all work as a team to provide as much as they can for the elderly. We had to pick our top three choices out of 11 and we were honored to be a part of the team in the Older Americans Program.
The staff all enjoy their jobs and helping out the elderly. No matter what situation happens, they always find a way to continue helping the seniors, even if it comes out of their own pocket.
Our mentor, Lydia Maldonado, the operations manager, makes sure the centers are in compliance with state rules and manages the OAP staff.
We asked Melissa Martinez, the client service representative, “Have you been able to make any relationships with the seniors?” She said, “Yes, I enjoy doing home visits and engaging with the seniors in their own surroundings because our main goal is to keep them in their home.”
Dallas Walters, the kitchen manager, responded to the question, “Why do you think what your doing is important?” by saying, “I order food and make sure the menus are fulfilling the nutritional needs of the seniors.”
Carrie Miller, one of the hotshot drivers, also responded to this question by saying, “It’s always a second eye on the senior community.”
Our mentors, Lydia and Melissa, have taught us a lot. They’ve taught us patience is key and not every day is going to be as good as the last, but you’ll get through it. The OAP does a lot for our community — they help seniors socialize and help them stay healthy.
Us interns have tried to help as much as we can by helping in the kitchen, entering data into the computers, printing, filing, organizing and helping other centers. We’ve enjoyed our short time here and appreciate what these wonderful people do.
Sidney Chandler, Belen
Serenity Chavez, Belen
Alondra Espinoza, El Cerro
Older Americans Program interns
Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history.