New Mexico Weed Sales Hit $5.2 Million in First Weekend

Stephen Andrews
05 Apr 2022

A busy opening day followed on Friday, April 1, as New Mexico officially launched legal sales of cannabis for recreational use. Purchases of legal weed were available at some 250 licensed dispensaries across the country. Data from New Mexico's Cannabis Control Division shows that sales went $2,757,151.50 on Friday or 53 percent of the weekend total. On Saturday, this figure reached $1,560,743.72, followed by $901.680.51 on Sunday.

New Mexico hit new highs over the weekend after spending surpassed $5.2 million on both medical and adult-use cannabis. Notably, recreational cannabis goods and products accounted for $3.5 million, or 67.5 percent of sales between Friday and Sunday. 

CCD documented 87,773 transactions of both medical and recreational cannabis goods, with the average purchase being $59.47. Some 57,890 transactions were for adult-use products, and the rest, or 29,883, were for medicals. 

CCD Director Kristen Thomson wrote in a statement that state tracking systems run smoothly Friday through Sunday and that stocks were sufficient to serve all customers, including medical patients. 

"Customers and patients across the state were all able to get the products or medicine they wanted and needed," Thomson said. 

"Through careful regulatory planning hand-in-hand with industry, New Mexico cannabis producers have done something that's never been done before. This weekend's successful launch is something we can all be proud of," she said.

New Mexico launched its medical cannabis program in 2007. Until last year, the program was managed by the New Mexico Department of Health. CCD, part of the state Regulation and Licensing Department, took over the program this year. 

Under state law, New Mexico operators must protect supplies for patients enrolled in the state's medical program. Ahead of the "adult use" marketplace's launch, some dispensaries reported that medical users of the plant products stocked up in advance. Some dispensaries also decided to grant privileged entrance to medical users or launch online shopping for card-holding patients.

Recreational use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and above was made legal in New Mexico last year. Under the new law, users were allowed to possess a small amount of cannabis as of last June. It took several months of administrative rulemaking to create a regulatory framework for licenses and permits, to allow dispensaries to open to all adult customers by the statutory deadline of April 1. 

As in other legal states, cannabis is expected to become a new viable stream of tax revenue. Medical cannabis is exempt from excise taxes in New Mexico, however, for recreational products, it's set to remain at 12 percent. A similar tax rate is also observed in neighboring states such as Arizona and Colorado, however, an increase to 18 percent is anticipated for these two states by the summer of 2025.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico's Democratic governor who signed the state's legalization bill into law last year, has projected that the recreational retail of cannabis will generate as many as 11,000 jobs statewide. Sales are expected to generate above $300 million in the first fiscal year, with approximately $50 million of that sum going to state coffers. 

The governor reportedly paid a half-hour visit to a cannabis dispensary in Albuquerque on Friday and talked with customers and employees. 

"I'm excited, this is what New Mexicans said they wanted. They said they wanted it long before was I running," she said, according to the local television station KRQE

While Grisham didn't make any purchases herself, she implied she might supply a stash sometime in the future. 

"I don't have to decide today, because it's not going to end today. It's going to stay forever," she was quoted as saying, according to KRQE. 

New Mexico was the 18th U.S. state to legalize marijuana. Historically, it was the first state to enact a medical cannabis bill in 1978, which allowed medical use, but only via a federally-approved research program. 

Stephen Andrews