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Former educators leave teaching to open cannabis dispensary

La Tiendita De Motita
La Tiendita De Motita

We have heard a lot about teacher shortages, which were made especially acute by the pandemic. Last year Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham even turned to the National Guard for substitute teachers to fill vacancies around the state. Many educators have called it quits and one former educator who is now in New Mexico’s newest industry: cannabis.

After 20 years in the education field, Jamie Munsey, along with four other middle school teachers, left teaching to open La Tiendita De Motita, a cannabis dispensary in Albuquerque’s South Valley last summer.

Munsey said she always promised herself that once education was no longer fun it was time to leave.

Munsey said the educational bureaucracy takes away the creative side of teaching and many educators are left with a canned curriculum.

"When you go into it, you’re able to be this creative person who creates these things to help students learn and everything gets bogged down on standards and expectations and testing. So your autonomy is taken from you in the teaching industry" Munsey said.

Last August the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s largest teacher union, warned the shortage was reaching a “five-alarm crisis” nationally with about 300,000 educators and staff leaving the profession. Munsey said how we look at education as a whole needs to change in order to keep the teachers like her from leaving.

"It’s a bigger societal problem cause I don’t think education in general is valued in America as it is in other countries and that’s a societal shift that has to happen" said Munsey.

Compared to teaching, which is overwhelmingly female, women are still underrepresented in the cannabis industry. But recently Munsey and her partners joined with another women-owned cannabis business, Dynamic Jack, to launch a line of THC-infused edibles created by Rude Boy Cookies under the name Rude Girl Goodies.

Munsey said even though she has left teaching, she is still using her background to educate the public in order to break the stigma of cannabis use.

This coverage is made possible by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and KUNM listeners.

Taylor is a reporter with our Poverty and Public Health project. She is a lover of books and a proud dog mom. She's been published in Albuquerque The Magazine several times and enjoys writing about politics and travel.
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