Having to wait 12 months from the time adult-use cannabis became legal until the time recreational sales actually launched was enough to send customer demand at New Mexico dispensaries through the roof this month. The fact that 4/20 also happened to be on the calendar added another shot of business in the arm.
The Land of Enchantment reported $27 million in cannabis sales through April 20 between the new adult-use program and its enduring medical marijuana industry, with the former accounting for just under 62 percent of sales and the latter just over 38 percent. State officials are expected to release updated numbers for the full first month on Monday.
Booming cannabis business
Heather Brewer, spokeswoman from the state’s Cannabis Control Division, said final totals for April could exceed $35 million.
“It has been incredible so far,” Brewer said. “Smooth and peaceful, and we haven’t seen any major compliance issues from our retailers. What we’re experiencing is the results of being prepared and learning from other states who did this before us.”
New Mexico’s 118 recreational dispensaries aren’t just learning from other states. They’re also welcoming marijuana shoppers from outside the Land of Enchantment’s borders.
Visitors from neighboring Texas accounted for some 12 percent of all New Mexico cannabis sales through the first week of April, with 22 dispensaries located within five miles of the border reporting $1.2 million of the state’s $9.9 million in total cannabis sales.
Victor Reyes, the CCD’s deputy superintendent, said over the weekend that legalization has boosted the state’s lagging economy while also creating hundreds of new jobs. Just one year ago, 37 dispensaries across the state sold medical cannabis. Now 118 retail dispensaries are in business, along with 51 licensed cultivators, 56 micro-cultivators and 16 cannabis producers.
“There is so much job creation happening because of the cannabis industry. It’s unreal,” Reyes told CBS 4 in El Paso, Texas. “It has created a foundation for economic growth in a way that no other industry has had the opportunity to do here in New Mexico.”
Reyes said New Mexico regulators will not limit the number of cannabis business licenses they approve as the industry continues to expand. The state’s adult-use cannabis laws also call for social equity applicants — such as women, minorities and people from communities disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition laws — to receive preference on the new licenses.