NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – One-year after New Mexico lawmakers voted to legalize recreational cannabis, retail sales officially kicked off across the state Friday raising nearly two-million dollars in sales. According to the state’s Cannabis Control Division, New Mexico netted nearly half a million dollars in sales in the first 12 hours, and more than 1.9-million dollars by the end of the day.
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Some people waited hours in line to buy products off the shelves, while others got lucky to find a dispensary with fewer customers. One customer named Mateo told KRQE News 13 Friday he enjoys talking to employees to find out more about the products he’s buying.
“It’s awesome having someone you can pick the brain of, [someone] that’ll give you advice,” Mateo said. Buying products inside of an Ultra Health dispensary on Menaul, Mateo said he liked being able to hear more detailed descriptions about the cannabis products he was buying. “This is what will sit you down, this is what will pick you up, those are really cool things.”
Owner of a cannabis company called Cloud 9 Zendustries, Glenn Trahan says he’s happy to finally see customers, but says it’s been tricky getting started. He’s also worried about supply in respects to projected demand.
“It has been very rocky, a lot of unknowns,” Trahan said. “We didn’t know where we were going to get our product, how much the product was going to be. The prices have actually already increased since we bought last week.”
Another cannabis retailer, R. Greenleaf says the numbers they are seeing are exactly what they were hoping for. Prior to recreational cannabis sales, R. Greenleaf has produced and sold cannabis to medical patients in New Mexico for years.
“[Sales] have been fantastic, we are happy with what we are seeing,” said Joshua Cruse, manager of R. Greenleaf on Menaul Blvd. “Of course, we want to see more, everybody wants to see more. We are going to try and get as much [product] we can, but its looking good and we very happy with that.”
Commenting on the opening day of sales Friday, state officials were also excited. A top official in the state’s Cannabis Control Division say the surge in demand is a good indication for what’s to come in the future.
“Today is definitely a star, but I would not call it a finish,” said Victor Reyes, deputy superintendent of licensing for the CCD. “We are going to see more businesses open, more producers get onto the market and more locations to serve New Mexicans in this industry.”
The CCD says it has given licenses to around 250 different cannabis retail stores in the state, so far. Prior to recreational sales, New Mexico’s medical cannabis program started in 2007. The state is now among 18 states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. There is no limit on how much someone can have at home, out of public view.
There are still rules surrounding the use of recreational cannabis in public. Regulators with the CCD are reminding people that smoking marijuana in public is still illegal. A violation carries a $50 fine.