New Mexico’s first recreational marijuana stores open with ‘full-on party’ vibe

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After waiting nearly a full year since legalizing marijuana for all adults last April, New Mexicans will finally get their chance to purchase legally on Friday, April 1, 2022—and Leafly will be there to cover it.

Leafly will offer live coverage of New Mexico’s opening day of retail cannabis sales, all day long.

We’ll have live on-scene reports throughout the morning from Chris Kudialis, Leafly’s Southwestern correspondent, as well as a lively mix of photos, quotes, anecdotes, and social media chatter curated by Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott.

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Two early birds showed up near dawn at a PurLife dispensary in Albuquerque to celebrate the opening day of adult-use cannabis sales. (Chris Kudialis photo)

Everything kicks off in Santa Fe on Friday morning at 7 a.m., when R. Greenleaf Dispensary will make the first legal sales of cannabis in the state’s regulated retail marijuana era.

Dozens of other licensed stores in Santa Fe and Albuquerque—where a local ordinance prevents cannabis shops from opening before 8 a.m. — will start between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

“People can expect a full-on party with a DJ and food trucks,” said Jessie Hunt, an executive with R. Greenleaf’s parent company, Schwazze. “We are ready to serve every customer that comes to our doors, that’s for sure.”

All of New Mexico’s 118 currently-operating medical marijuana dispensaries are scheduled to open their doors to adult customers on Friday, marking a key milestone in the legalization movement. Follow along as we chronicle the first day of sales and provide hourly updates on the ground in New Mexico.

Related

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Everyone 21+ welcome, starting today

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A staff member at PurLife Dispensary in Albuquerque tapes over the “Medical” sign on the front door, prior to opening the store to all adults on Friday morning, April 1. (Chris Kudialis photo)

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a longtime legalization proponent who helped pass the new law last year, will be visiting Santa Fe and Albuquerque cannabis stores on Friday morning to chat with dispensary staff and customers. Similar to elected officials in other adult-use states, Lujan Grisham will also make a number of celebratory “first purchases.”

Gov. Lujan Grisham’s day will begin at R. Greenleaf’s 7 a.m. opening in Santa Fe. She’ll then stop briefly at a smaller dispensary in town, according to spokeswoman Heather Brewer, for a private event where store capacity is limited to 18 people.

Finally, she will visit Everest Cannabis Uptown in Albuquerque from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., where she’ll chat with cannabis customers waiting in line and address many more with a public speech to commemorate the historic day.

– Chris Kudialis

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A Texas buying rush?

Reporter Solomon Israel over at MJ Biz Daily noted, perceptively, that New Mexico borders America’s biggest prohibition state, Texas. And there’s a lot of border there. Legal cannabis stores near the state line of a prohibition state typically do a booming business—just ask those Oregon stores near the Idaho border.

Those border towns are counting on Texans to enjoy some canna-tourism in 2022.

Ben Lewinger, executive director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, told MJ Biz Daily: “For those towns along the border, like Clovis and Tucumcari and Texico … all the way down to Las Cruces, it represents a time-constrained opportunity to realize tourism dollars.”

Just remember: Crossing a state line with cannabis is illegal—heck, just being in Texas with cannabis is illegal—and the Texas Highway Patrol is highly aware of what’s going on in New Mexico.

Be legal, be safe, Texans.

– Bruce Barcott

One company, 50 new jobs created

Everest Cannabis CEO Trishelle Kirk called the chance to kick off rec sales Friday and host the governor a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Kirk said Everest created 50 new jobs across its seven dispensaries to meet expected demand for adult-use products.

“The opportunity to be in a business that’s growing and helping so many people is phenomenal,” she said. “It’s a great economic development driver that helps keep New Mexicans working here in our state instead of losing them to jobs in Colorado or Texas.”

The latest edition of the Leafly Jobs Report found that New Mexico’s existing medical marijuana system supported roughly 4,000 in-state jobs as of early 2022. Nationwide, legal cannabis now supports 428,059 jobs.

– Chris Kudialis

Tip your budtender!

Tip my dude: Adam, a budtender at R. Greenleaf’s Nob Hill (Albuquerque) store, is here to guide you.

Word to the wise: It is extremely good form to tip your budtender at the purchase point—especially on a crazy day like today.

For most consumers, budtenders aren’t merely personal shoppers who fill your order. They will help you find the right product (read: dosage) for your desired experience.

Please listen to this hard-earned wisdom: Be brutally honest with your budtender. They aren’t judging you based on your weed knowledge. They just want you to have a wonderful experience.

I can’t emphasize this enough: If you are new to legal cannabis products, tell your budtender. Put yourself in their hands, tip them well, and you will reap the rewards in the prized coinage of relaxation and bliss.

– Bruce Barcott

Police on alert, but not alarmed

As with any major holiday or special occasion affecting millions of people, Friday’s retail marijuana sales launch has state police and local agencies aware but unalarmed.

Ray Wilson, spokesman for the New Mexico State Police, reminds cannabis users not to drive under the influence of the plant. Doing so could turn a celebratory day into an unforgettable one for all the wrong reasons.

“Driving under the influence puts others at risk — plain and simple,” Wilson said. “Drivers who are impaired to even the slightest degree can get DWIs and go to jail.”

Wilson notes that cannabis impairment varies tremendously. A first-time user might feel high after consuming a few puffs on a joint, taking an edible, downing a cannabis-infused drink, ripping a dab, or hitting a vape.  More regular cannabis users figure to have a greater tolerance.

Apart from giving the usual obligatory warnings, though, New Mexico police say they’re not beefing up staff or increasing sobriety checkpoints for Friday’s retail sales launch. Spokespeople from agencies in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho and Las Cruces say April 1 will be business as usual.

A general rule? If you feel any different than normal, don’t get behind the wheel.

“If the public chooses to consume cannabis and their consumption is responsible, everybody wins,” Wilson said.

– Chris Kudialis

Patients not forgotten

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When any state opens its medical-only dispensaries to full adult-use sales, patients can feel a little left behind. Suddenly their easy-access medical dispensaries have long lines of adult-use consumers.

Not to worry: The long lines usually dissipate within a few days.

But a number of New Mexico companies, aware of their patients’ concerns, have offered special deals and longer hours for their medical patients this past week. This can be especially helpful, as patients might be stocking up with extra large purchases prior to the April 1 start of adult-use sales.

– Bruce Barcott

Leafly has all sorts of resources, from an FAQ about what to expect on day one to how to handle a too-intense cannabis high. If you’re new or recently returning to cannabis, start with some of our Cannabis 101 resources. For more specific information, check out our HealthLifestyle, or Strains and Products sections. Want to know more about cannabis products that you can buy in the Land of Enchantment? We’ve got you covered there, too.

Congratulations, New Mexico! All of us here at Leafly wish you a warm welcome and smooth sailing in the legal era.

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.

View Chris Kudialis’s articles





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