New Mexico launched adult-use cannabis sales on Friday, April 1, 2022. Sales were staggering.
In just one weekend, the Cannabis Control Division reported a total of $4.5 million in sales. Nearly 70% are from recreational purchases.
The state’s medical cannabis program has been in place since 2007. Friday’s change places New Mexico among 18 states that have legalized adult-use cannabis.
The state’s proximity to Texas, a staunch prohibitionist stronghold, could usher in added sales as cannabis hungry consumers from the Lone Start State slip across the border to meet their needs.
Texans who choose to return home with cannabis in their possession face stiff penalties. Concentrate possession, particularly, is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
New Mexico consumers will initially rely on medical cannabis providers that have expanded their offerings to include recreational sales.
These legacy retailers may corner the market until new license holders are able to open their doors. New Mexico’s cannabis regulators have issued 230 cannabis business licenses so far for growers, retailers, and manufacturers.
Local governments can restrict locations and hours of operation, but cannot ban cannabis businesses entirely. Users can consume in their homes or in designated hotels, casinos, or cigar shops. There is a $50 fine for public consumption.
The state is enacting a 12% excise tax on recreational cannabis sales. Local governments will receive a minority share of excise taxes. New Mexico is also issuing $5 million in low-interest loans to small cannabis businesses unable to access traditional lines of credit.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday that adult-use legalization is a response to popular demand and will generate small business opportunities. “This is what consumers want,” Lujan Grisham said.
The ultimate goal for lawmakers is to eliminate the illicit marketplace, increase employment, and provide new sources of government income.