New Mexico sold just over $40 million worth of legal cannabis last month, the largest monthly total recorded since adult-use weed sales kicked off in April. But despite the new sales record, industry stakeholders are concerned that the market is growing slower than they'd hoped.
July's adult-use sales also set a new monthly record, according to data from the state Cannabis Control Division (CCD). Dispensaries sold nearly $23.5 million worth of recreational bud last month, up 5.8% from the $22.1 million sold in April. This new record is welcome news for the industry, especially since monthly sales slipped down to around $21 million in May and June.
But although adult-use sales have rallied, medical sales are continuing a downward trend. Licensed dispensaries sold $16.8 million worth of medicine in July, slightly up from $16.5 million in June, but still down from the $18 million sold in April. Even so, the record adult-use sales helped push July's combined total cannabis sales to $40.3 million, breaking April's previous record of $39.1 million.
As usual, Albuquerque takes the crown for selling the most weed. The city sold nearly $14.6 million worth of recreational and medical cannabis combined, accounting for over a third of the state’s total monthly weed sales. Santa Fe and Las Cruces came in second and third, but these cities only sold around $3.4 million worth of legal bud apiece. Hobbs and Rio Rancho round out the top five with around $1.6 million in sales each.
“These numbers show that the impressive sales generated in the first month of legalized recreational cannabis sales were no fluke – and this is only the beginning,” said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in a statement. “We’ve established a new industry that is already generating millions of dollars in local and state revenue and will continue to generate millions more in economic activity across the state, creating thousands of jobs for New Mexicans in communities both small and large.”
Local cannabis business owners are not quite so enthusiastic, though. "The results are nowhere near our true potential," said Duke Rodriguez, CEO of local cannabis producer Ultra Health, to the Las Cruces Sun News. "At best it rates a report card grade of maybe a C.”
Rodriguez believes that the state should be seeing at least $50 million a month in sales by now, especially since Montana, “with only half the adult population of New Mexico and without the benefit of Texas at the doorstep, did $19.2 million” in adult-use sales last month.
Industry insiders are arguing that their growth is being stifled by high prices and excessive regulations, a situation that has become all too common in adult-use states. The CCD imposes a strict limit on the total number of cannabis plants each producer can grow in order to help smaller businesses compete with wealthy multistate operators. Local producers are arguing that these plant limits are actually pushing prices up, though, making it harder for them to compete with the black market. Taxes on adult-use sales can also reach up to 21% in some areas, driving prices even higher.
"We will never be competitive with the illicit market until we can be more competitive with the amount of product, the quality of the product and the price of the product," Rodriguez told the Las Cruces Sun News.
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