Three days and millions of dollars later, the New Mexico adult-use cannabis industry is off to a roaring start.
Local television station KOAT reports that, as of noon on Sunday, recreational pot sales in the state had eclipsed $3 million.
The station, citing state officials, said that 49,552 transactions for recreational cannabis transactions had been recorded at that time, which totaled $3,092,712.
Sales officially kicked off after midnight on Friday, when hundreds of eager customers lined up outside the dispensaries in anticipation of the historic opening.
New Mexico is the 18th state to legalize recreational pot use for adults after its Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, signed a bill into law last spring.
“The legalization of adult-use cannabis paves the way for the creation of a new economic driver in our state with the promise of creating thousands of good paying jobs for years to come,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement at the time. “We are going to increase consumer safety by creating a bona fide industry. We’re going to start righting past wrongs of this country’s failed War on Drugs. And we’re going to break new ground in an industry that may well transform New Mexico’s economic future for the better.”
From the start, Grisham has hailed legalization as a force for economic prosperity in the state. After signing the legislation into law last year, her office said that “sales of adult-use recreational cannabis could amount to $318 million in the first year, creating over several years what could be more than 11,000 new jobs.” Her office added “that the excise tax will raise at least $20 million for the general fund in the first full fiscal year, with significant growth in subsequent years.”
“As we look to rebound from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, entrepreneurs will benefit from this great opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises, the state and local governments will benefit from the added revenue and, importantly, workers will benefit from the chance to land new types of jobs and build careers,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement after the bill signing.
“This legislation is a major, major step forward for our state,” the governor added. “Legalized adult-use cannabis is going to change the way we think about New Mexico for the better — our workforce, our economy, our future. We’re ready to break new ground. We’re ready to invest in ourselves and the limitless potential of New Mexicans. And we’re ready to get to work in making this industry a successful one.”
As recreational pot sales launched throughout the state on Friday, Lujan Grisham visited a dispensary in Albuquerque.
Local television station KRQE reported that the governor “didn’t buy anything herself,” but did spend about a half-hour at the store conversing with customers and employees.
“I’m excited, this is what New Mexicans said they wanted,” Lujan Grisham said, as quoted by the station. “They said they wanted it long before was I running.”
While she didn’t procure any bud to take back to the governor’s mansion, Lujan Grisham didn’t rule out a purchase 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 said, according to KRQE.
According to local television station KOAT, more than $4.5 million in total cannabis sales had been reported in New Mexico last weekend, including medicinal cannabis.
On Friday, there was $1.96 million in recreational cannabis sold in New Mexico, according to the station.
“By noon Friday, recreational sales had reached $476,000. About 70 percent of all cannabis sales Friday were for recreational use,” the station reported.