New Mexico’s legal weed stores open April 1. Here’s what you need to know

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Congratulations, New Mexico!

After waiting nearly a full year since legalizing marijuana for all adults last April, New Mexicans age 21 and older will finally get their chance to legally purchase the plant on April 1, 2022.

Here’s what you can expect when dispensaries open their doors to adult-use customers.

When do stores actually open?

It’s no April Fool’s joke. New Mexico’s 118 medical marijuana dispensaries will be licensed to serve all adults starting the morning of Friday, April 1, 2022.

Where are the open retail stores?

The Leafly app currently lists New Mexico’s medical dispensaries here. On April 1, 2022, we’ll list all adult-use cannabis stores as well. (Hint: They’re the same.)

Later this week we’ll publish a full website page to help you find stores in your town.

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Red Barn Growers in Santa Fe is located near the Cordova Rd. Trader Joe’s. (Photo: Red Barn Growers)

How much can I buy?

Every adult 21 or older may legally buy and possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis extract, or up to 800 milligrams of edible cannabis at one time. Budtenders (dispensary store employees) will help keep track of your total while you’re shopping.

What products can I buy?

All product types that are currently available in New Mexico’s medical marijuana dispensaries will be available for adult-use customers. The potency and formulations for adult-use customers may differ from the medical version, however, as medical patients are allowed higher per-package dosages of THC.

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Very much like a well-designed, well-lit, and cleanly-kept retail boutique. Cannabis stores are designed to put customers at ease, and most stores will connect each customer with a budtender to answer all your questions. The products are kept in glass displays or on shelves. Customers typically do not handle the merchandise. This isn’t because store management doesn’t trust you. In many states, strict regulations prohibit customers from handling the merch prior to purchase.

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Here to help: The budtending staff at CG Corrigan in Albuquerque will help you find the products you’re looking for. (CG Corrigan photo)

Is there enough weed on hand? Will stores run out?

New Mexico dispensary owners have vowed to stock their shelves abundantly for the first few weeks of retail sales to ensure that every customer can find the products they want. They’ve learned from Nevada, Maine, Illinois and several other states that suffered varying degrees of inventory shortages after being overwhelmed by thousands of new adult-use customers.

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At PurLife’s Albuquerque store near the corner of Montgovery and Eubank, a staff member will check your ID as you enter. (PurLife photo)

Sure, there will be lines. But they won’t be too bad.

New Mexico is way ahead of many other new adult-use states, thanks to the sheer number of medical dispensaries that will turn rec on April 1. The Land of Enchantment has 118 medical marijuana dispensaries stores currently operating. All 118 will be licensed to sell adult-use cannabis products on April 1, 2022.

For comparison’s sake, neighboring Nevada had just over 30 dispensaries selling adult-use products on its first day of legal sales back in 2017. Arizona had fewer than 70 stores ready to sell on its Rec Day One.

A greater number of dispensaries theoretically means customers will spend less time waiting in line. But on Day One, the excitement of the history-making event will draw big crowds. Come and enjoy the excitement, dress for the weather, and make new friends.

Most dispensaries will keep normal hours

Strict regulations in several counties and cities will prevent nearly all of the state’s dispensaries from throwing midnight celebrations or staying open 24 hours on launch day. In fact, the lion’s share of weed stores will keep the same hours as usual. Only some will open an hour or two earlier or close any later than normal.

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The Pecos Valley Production cannabis store in Ruidoso features an inviting customer waiting area. (Photo: Pecos Valley Production)

Wait times will improve

Dispensaries will be significantly more crowded during the first weekend of the state’s retail sales launch. But the lines will eventually get smaller and disappear as dispensaries adjust their staffing to meet consumer demand. Medical dispensaries in other states report seeing about two to four times as many daily customers once rec launches, but they’re usually quick to adapt and become more efficient.

Adult-use marijuana will be taxed

Adult-use cannabis will have an excise tax of 12%, which will come in addition to state and local sales taxes.

Limited homegrowing is legal for all adults 21 and older in New Mexico. Since April 2021, adults have been allowed to possess up to six mature plants per person, with a maximum of 12 plants per household. That regulation will not change when dispensaries start selling the plant for adult-use on April 1, 2022.

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More shops are on the way

You’ll have 118 stores to choose from starting April 1. But that number is almost certain to increase in the months to come. New Mexico has no cap on licenses, according to state spokeswoman Heather Brewer, and opening a retail weed store will be as easy as “applying to become a barber.”

The state is also developing a cannabis micro-business loan program to help New Mexico-based mom-and-pop shops compete with large multi-state operators.

Medical cannabis won’t go away

And medicinal products are allowed to contain much stronger potency than adult-use produts. Similar to just about all other adult-use states, New Mexico allows medical products to contain up to 500 mg of THC, while recreational cannabis goodies can have no more than 100 mg of THC.

To purchase medical marijuana, you’ll still need a state-issued medical marijuana patient card.

Is there an expungement process for previous cannabis convictions?

Individuals convicted of cannabis possession crimes for what’s now considered a legal amount of weed will have their records automatically renewed and expunged, according to last year’s Senate Bill 2.

Towns and local municipalities can’t ban cannabis stores

New Mexico law prevents a local municipality from enacting moratoriums or outright bans on adult-use cannabis stores. Local governments do have a say, though, in regulating or prohibiting cannabis consumption lounges.

Limited cannabis advertising

Retail cannabis stores can’t advertise in local newspapers, TV, radio, or mass transit.

Leafly lists legal medical marijuana dispensaries in New Mexico, and will list licensed adult-use cannabis stores on our website and app starting April 1, 2022.

No credit cards or debit cards allowed

Bring your ID and cash. Until banks receive federal approval to work with cannabis companies, or until the feds legalize the plant, most financial institutions are going to decline to work with state-licensed cannabis companies.

Chris Kudialis's Bio Image

Chris Kudialis

Chris Kudialis is a Las Vegas–based cannabis reporter. He has written articles for the Los Angeles Times, Las Vegas Sun, Charlotte Observer, Houston Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, and Brazil’s Rio Times, among other metropolitan dailies.

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