Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Let’s be perfectly clear on this: You can not walk around the New Mexico State Fair toking on a fatty.

However, nearly anything you may have ever wanted to know about marijuana will be explained in a “Discovering Cannabis” exhibit in the Manuel Lujan Building at Expo New Mexico in Albuquerque.

The New Mexico State Fair opens today and runs through Sept. 18.

The title sponsor of this first-of-its-kind exhibit at the fair is the Verdes Foundation, which operates dispensaries in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe.

Education about the different industries in the state is also part of the mission of the New Mexico State Fair, “and there’s no better event to educate the over-21 cannabis curious,” said State Fair general manager Dan Mourning.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis more than 20 years ago, Butterman said she didn’t like the way prescribed pharmaceuticals made her feel, so she began searching for an alternative.

“I started learning more about cannabis and ended up getting my medical cannabis card,” she said. It was employees at Verdes who helped educate Butterman and provided the right product to treat her illness.

Representatives from the state Regulation and Licensing Department will be on hand to speak about the regulations for cannabis growers and dispensaries, as well as the laws that apply to using cannabis medicinally and recreationally.

New Mexico in June 2021 became the 17th state to legalize recreational cannabis, with commercial sales beginning in April.

Visitors will also get fun facts and information on the history of cannabis, including how an English doctor went to India in 1839 and observed people there consuming a drink called bhang (pronounced bong), which he later determined was made with cannabis. “He brought it back to England but it didn’t grow well there, so he started making tinctures with it,” Butterman said.

Among those using the tinctures was Queen Victoria, who found it relieved menstrual cramps.

The Discovering Cannabis exhibit is open only to people age 21 and older, “and there will be no free samples,” said general manager Mourning.