Federal Judge Recognizes Free Speech for Cannabis Producer

First-of-its-kind Federal Court ruling affirms medical cannabis speech cannot be restrained.
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For the first time in history, a Federal Court order has recognized the First Amendment protections guaranteed to producers of medical cannabis.

The 37-page ruling comes after Ultra Health, New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company, filed a complaint against New Mexico State Fair officials for unconstitutional attempts to limit UltraHealth’s rights to display a cannabis educational booth at the 2017 State Fair.

While Federal Court decisions have upheld protections for medical cannabis states, no prior decision has affirmatively ruled that providers’ speech about medical cannabis, its benefits, and its contributions to a state’s health and economy cannot be restrained.

United States District Court Judge James A. Parker found New Mexico State Fair staff infringed upon Ultra Health’s speech and civil rights by restricting the provider’s ability to display images of cannabis plants and items used to produce medical cannabis. Judge Parker also ordered the New Mexico State Fair to cover Ultra Health’s attorney fees and cost.

“The State Fair’s restrictions ... as applied to Ultra Health’s 2017 State Fair application were unreasonable in light of the purpose of the forum and the surrounding circumstances and therefore violated Ultra Health’s First Amendment right to free speech,” Judge Parker stated in his published ruling.

“This is a clear victory for cannabis advocates in New Mexico and across the nation,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and President of Ultra Health®. “Judge Parker’s recognition that medical cannabis producers’ free speech should be protected is a first-of-its-kind ruling defending the right to fully educate and inform the public on the benefits of cannabis.”

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"Judge Parker’s decision will be heard throughout the country. We now have a Federal Court decision upholding licensed medical cannabis producers’ fundamental rights, including the rights protected by the First Amendment,” said Brian Egolf, partner in Egolf + Ferlic + Martinez + Harwood, LLC. “Licensed medical cannabis producers now know that their work serving patients is protected under the law and the United States Constitution.”

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