New Mexico's new adult-use cannabis market is off to a promising start, with over $4.5 million worth of weed sold in the first three days of legal sales.
Cannabis lovers lined up around the block last Friday to celebrate the kickoff of the state's newly-legal adult-use market. By the end of the day, dispensaries had sold $1.96 million worth of recreational pot. Sales stayed strong throughout the weekend, and by noon on Sunday, adult-use shops had made 49,552 transactions, totaling $3,092,712 in sales. Medical marijuana sales also picked up over the weekend, adding another $1,425,000 to the weekend's grand total.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Land of Enchantment's adult-use bill into law last April, and the state was able to get its dispensaries open in a little less than a year. By the end of 2022, the state is predicted to rake in as much as $125 million in legal sales. That figure is expected to grow to $200 million by next year and then to double to $400 million by 2026.
$400 million might seem like a lot of weed for a state with only 2.1 million residents, but insiders expect that pot tourists from nearby Texas will account for a major portion of these sales. New Mexico shares 500 miles of border with Texas, which just happens to be the second-most populous state in the country. And Texans are especially eager to find a legal source for weed, given that their home state still bans adult-use weed and doesn't even have a comprehensive medical marijuana program.
“It’s pretty clear looking at data from other states such as Washington, Colorado and Oregon that cross-border sales are common,” said Kelly O’Donnell, economist and professor at the University of New Mexico School of Public Administration, to the Santa Fe New Mexican last year. “The population of Texas within 90 miles [of the New Mexico border] is almost the population of New Mexico. We have a lot of evidence that folks are traveling long distances to purchase cannabis. It’s not unreasonable to assume that a significant fraction of those individuals would go to New Mexico instead.”
“Our studies show that 40 to 42 percent of all adult-use cannabis will be derived from out-of-state purchases, particularly Texas,” said Duke Rodriguez, founder of New Mexico cannabis company Ultra Health, to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Insiders predict that cross-border sales will only provide a short-term sales boost, though. “Either Texas is going to legalize [cannabis] at some point in the next five years, or it’ll be federally legal,” said Emily Kaltenbach of the Drug Policy Alliance to MJBizDaily. “And that’s going to change the whole dynamics of the market in some of these border communities.”
Texas has been slow to embrace substantive cannabis reform, but the House of Representatives just voted to approve the MORE Act, a bill that would end the federal prohibition of cannabis. And New Mexico Rep. Melanie Stansbury was one of the many lawmakers who voted to pass the bill.
“Today the U.S. House took a major step in addressing the failed legacy of the War on Drugs and its disproportionate impacts on our communities by passing the MORE Act to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level,” Rep. Stansbury told The Paper. “I was proud to support this legislation in New Mexico as a state legislator and today’s vote as our Congresswoman in order to help promote justice, equity, and economic development. Now, it’s time to get it through the Senate.”