New Mexico became the newest state to enter the recreational cannabis market on the 1st of April this year. The state’s Legislature approved the Cannabis Regulation Act on the last day of March, allowing adults of 21 years and above to purchase up to two ounces of marijuana flower or its equivalent in other forms. This move is a significant step for the cannabis industry in the Land of Enchantment.
The legislation was seemingly long overdue in the state, as the first day of legal recreational cannabis sales brought nearly $2 million in sales. Although the total sales per day reduced as time went by, retailers had sold an upward of $22 million in recreational weed after the first month of legal adult-use cannabis in the state. Together with the medical marijuana market, the weed industry in New Mexico racked up $40 million in sales that month alone.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham estimated that sales would reach about $300 million within the first year of the legal adult-use market. To realize this goal, New Mexico must maintain an average of $25 million in monthly sales.
According to recent reports by the Cannabis Control Division (CCD), sales in areas around the Texas border also registered remarkable sales. Clovis had nearly one million dollars in sales, while Hobbs and Sunland Park had $1.3 and $1.2 million, respectively.
Since counterfeiting has proven to be a menace in numerous industries, state regulators hope to mitigate its influence using a legitimate market. Introducing a legal adult-use cannabis market will provide thousands of employment opportunities across the supply chain. Not to mention, it will generate substantial financial resources for the state through taxes and revenue.
Regulations and Prohibited Conduct
Even so, before going all out on your smoking pipes, it’s incredibly vital to remember the regulations that come with the recreational marijuana market. For instance, pot aficionados can only purchase 2 ounces of cannabis per transaction. However, medical cannabis patients can get more significant amounts and higher potency products.
Consumers can only carry 2 ounces of cannabis but are allowed to have more in their homes. They can also possess 16 grams of concentrated marijuana or 800 grams of edible weed. Having more than 2 ounces but less than 8 ounces in public could lead to a year in prison. Anything more will land you a felony charge. Smoking in public is also against the law and punishable by a $50 fine.
Moreover, driving under the influence of cannabis remains illegal. Getting your first marijuana DUI can cost you $500 in fines or 90 days behind bars. Similarly, refusing to take a drug test when arrested for driving high can lead to the confiscation of your driving license for up to a year.
Regulators have already issued more than 230 licenses to growers, processors, retailers, and manufacturing facilities. Applicants are yet to request permits for cannabis cafes or lounges. For this reason, consumers have been forced to only indulge in their homes and designated places.
Anyone who attempts to distribute recreational marijuana without the proper permits will face fourth-degree felony charges. Currently, more than 500 permits have been awarded to cannabis businesses, 225 of which went to retail outlets.
Social and Criminal Justice
Like many other emerging adult-use marijuana markets, New Mexico’s legalization laws also seek to reverse the effects that the war on cannabis has had on minority communities. The New Mexico Finance Authority has shown its support by preparing a $5 million line of credit for marijuana entrepreneurs.
There are also measures underway to expunge cannabis infractions from criminal records. The state Department of Public Safety has identified nearly 155,000 instances, arrests, and convictions as eligible for expungement. Similarly, law enforcement can no longer cite the smell of marijuana as a cause for searching vehicles and private property.