New Mexico Marijuana Sales Soar to New Highs
Large population centers including Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe are driving much of those sales, according to data from the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department. But smaller markets such as Alamogordo are seeing significant growth especially from tourism.
New Mexico set a new record for marijuana sales in August, with more than $48 million in combined medical and adult-use cannabis purchases, state data shows.
The New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department’s (NMRLD) cannabis reporting portal shows $34,707,557 in recreational marijuana sales and $13,525,500 from medical cannabis last month, for a total of $48,233,057.
Those numbers come from 1,095,922 marijuana transactions at the state’s 1,021 licensed retailers.
All told, patients and adult consumers have made almost $724 million in combined medical and recreational cannabis purchases since each program launched. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) touted the industry’s sales figures, as well as the job creation associated with legalization, back in April.
The governor didn’t say whether she participated in the adult-use market in its first year by making any purchases, but she didn’t rule it out last year during a visit to a cannabis retailer on opening day.
If you remove Albuquerque and other population centers from the equation, the story of recreational sales in New Mexico is based on tourism and Texas.
Sales in border communities such as Clovis, Hobbs and Sunland Park are outpacing what would be expected given their smaller populations - a clear indication that Texans are crossing the border to purchase marijuana from New Mexico.
The same pattern can be seen with tourist destinations such as Carlsbad, Alamogordo with over $10 million in sales as well as Ruidoso and Taos.
Sparsely populated Sunland Park, situated on the border across from El Paso, is home to two of New Mexico's leading store locations based on total recreational sales.
Per MJDaily.com, Ultra Health and Everest Cannabis Co. brought in almost $6.1 million in combined sales from August 2022 to February 2023 and growing by leaps and bounds from February to August of 2023. While impressive, the figures are even more meaningful when factoring in the number of residents in the area. Earlier this year it was reported that The per-person recreational marijuana spend (sales divided by population) for Sunland Park's 88063 ZIP code was $1,044, topping any other New Mexico ZIP code. Other border towns also performed well.
The per-person spending for ZIP codes in Clovis (88135) and Hobbs (88240) were $499 and $258, respectively, much higher than those in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Tourism also buoyed per-capita spending in less densely populated areas of the state.
Ruidoso ($546), known for its skiing, and Taos ($598), a popular art and history destination, both outperformed for the number of people living in their respective ZIP codes, according to MJDaily.com
New Mexico liscening again under scrutiny as sales continue to grow. An Oregon-based cannabis company was recently granted licenses to operate six dispensaries and one manufacturing facility in New Mexico despite its parent company, founders and affiliates facing tax liens and a federal investigation in their own state.
La Mota companies were recently granted licenses to operate dispensaries in Albuquerque, Deming, Jal, Clovis and Raton. Records show they are facing more than $1 million in tax liens and being linked to a scandal earlier this year that led to the resignation of Oregon’s secretary of state.
"This is a business that's been on our radar now for a couple of months,” said Robert Sachs, an attorney for the New Mexico Regulations and License Department. “From our investigation, again, we couldn't find any suspension, any revocation or any conviction. We are definitely keeping an eye on active litigation, particularly from the state, and are hoping to see what concludes of that.”
Sachs said the state of New Mexico is monitoring what is going on in Oregon and that developments there could lead to New Mexico RLD to take a look at La Mota's license.
"While the allegations are severe at this point, we can't take any action until there is some concrete conclusion to those allegations and investigations,” Sachs said.
Currently, New Mexico is not running federal criminal background checks on cannibals license applicants.
State officials as mentioned in prior stories with AlamogordoTownNews.com that they are supposed to be doing federal background checks. However, the FBI is not allowing them to do so.
After the New Mexico recreational cannabis law was passed, the FBI sent a letter to state officials in 2021 saying the state law requiring federal background checks for people who run dispensaries was overly broad.
State officials, however, said if they learn that owners of dispensaries have been in trouble in other states, they will investigate. Meanwhile sales continue to grow and the tax dollars to the state continue to grow at a pace better than anticipated.
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