December 2022 has proved to be the best month yet for New Mexico's legal weed industry, as retailers set new records for adult-use and all-time cannabis sales.
According to new data from the state Cannabis Control Division (CCD), adult-use dispensaries sold more than $28 million worth of product in December, breaking October's $25 million record. Medical cannabis sales also increased to $15.1 million last month, up from around $14 million in November. The combined monthly total comes out to over $43 million, beating out July's record of $40 million in total sales.
"New Mexico really showed up for recreational cannabis markets,” said Trishelle Kirk, CEO of Everest Cannabis Co, to KOAT7. "We're still seeing people joining the market of recreational cannabis. We doubled in size and added 100 jobs in 2022. We also opened five new stores.”
“We saw an enormous amount of expansion in the cannabis industry in 2022,” Kirk added. “Now, the industry is going to mature. We're going to see prices come down as the market matures and expands. We're going to see even more customers saying this is a good option for their families.”
Since legal sales began in April 2022, the Land of Enchantment has made more than $214 million in adult-use sales. Insiders are now confident that the industry will meet its goal of selling $300 million worth of adult-use bud by April of this year. And even though medical sales have been shrinking since the recreational market came online, dispensaries still sold over $144 million of medicine between April and December of 2022.
“This is very impressive on a statewide, macro level, but I think what’s more indicative of the early success of this industry is when you look at smaller, rural communities,” said Ben Lewinger, executive director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, to the Albuquerque Journal. “Places like Alto, Cloudcroft, Raton and Tularosa each boast more than 10,000 total transactions for the month of December. That’s tax revenue for those municipalities and their counties, as well as for the state.”
Smaller towns on the Texas border also reported record-breaking sales in December. Sunland Park sold over $2 million worth of adult-use bud for the first time ever, and Hobbs sold a record $1.7 million. But as usual, the vast majority of the state's overall cannabis sales still took place in Albuquerque. Last month, the city set a new record with $8.4 million in adult-use sales and over $6 million in medical sales. Las Cruces and Santa Fe also raked in about $2 million in recreational sales each.
“I don’t know exactly what attributed to certainly the increase both in medical and recreational, as a bump up in December, but it was kind of surprising to us to see how robust those numbers were,” said CCD acting director Andrew Vallejos to the Albuquerque Journal. “The sales (numbers) are interesting in and of themselves, but what I’m encouraged by is the fact that it means a steady cash flow for (businesses) to stay open and to make a profit.”
The December boost shouldn't really have come as a surprise, though, given that the final month of the year is typically one of the highest-selling months for adult-use states. Illinois, for example, sold a record $144 million worth of adult-use weed last month, breaking the prior monthly sales record of $136 million, which was set in December 2021. Many other states have also seen their monthly sales peak in December as well.
Cover image via