Rosa Cazares Toured the New Mexico State Capitol in March—and … – Willamette Week

The CEO of the embattled La Mota dispensary chain visited the New Mexico state Capitol in March, records obtained through a public records request show. Shortly afterward, the company would aggressively begin its expansion into the state, where it now holds an estimated seven cannabis licenses, some in run-down buildings in small towns.

WHY IT MATTERS

Cazares’ visit is notable for several reasons.

First, Cazares and her longtime business partner, La Mota owner Aaron Mitchell, ingratiated themselves in recent years with top Oregon Democrats, including Gov. Tina Kotek and former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan—who resigned this spring after WW reported on a private consulting contract she signed with Cazares and Mitchell. Part of the couple’s strategy was to donate hefty sums to those politicians’ campaigns and host lavish parties for them.

La Mota’s political influence dimmed after WW’s reporting showed Cazares had tried to reduce state regulatory scrutiny through her connection to Fagan.

Second, the office of New Mexico Lt. Gov. Howie Morales hasn’t been forthcoming about what he and Cazares discussed.

Morales’ office told Oregon Public Broadcasting in May that he met twice with Cazares about La Mota’s expansion into New Mexico. (Cazares donated $7,200 to Morales’ reelection campaign last November.) “They were here

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