ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – You might have already heard that the first weekend of retail recreational cannabis sales brought more than $3.5 million in purchases. But which communities had the most cannabis customers?
Across New Mexico, buyers made nearly 58,000 adult-use cannabis purchases from Friday, April 1 through Sunday, April 3. Now, new data from the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) shows which cities had the most business on opening weekend.
Albuquerque, perhaps unsurprisingly, topped the list in terms of total dollar value sold. Albuquerque’s retailers sold $1.3 million worth of adult-use cannabis on opening weekend. Santa Fe and Las Cruces were next at $316,105 and $309,218, respectively.
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Interactive Chart: Albuquerque led the state in terms of total sales. But many communities got in on the action. Data: CCD
Note: Totals do not equal previously reported sales figures due to some test transactions and refunds.
Rounding out the bottom of the list were several smaller communities. Madrid, Cedar Crest, and Alto, New Mexico each recorded less than $5,000 in recreational sales over opening weekend. But the absolute bottom of the list was Roswell, with no recreational sales.
While statewide legal sales began April 1, not all communities participated. Would-be retailers in Roswell, for example, weren’t able to start selling due to local restrictions.
Roswell City Council amended the city’s code to require relatively strict requirements for cannabis shops. Retailers must, for example, provide a map of their location showing the distance from any residential zoning district, any other cannabis business, and the distance from any school, park, church, childcare facility, retirement facility, medical facility, or recreational facility.
KRQE News 13 previously reported that the strict requirements mean that Roswell retailers were left out of the opening day excitement. “So, they basically crafted an ordinance to exclude everybody from participating,” Duke Rodriguez, the President, and CEO of Ultra Health told KRQE News 13.
To be clear, Roswell is likely to have approved retailers soon. But no applicant was able to make it through the process in time for opening day.
On the flip side, some communities had retailers ready to sell as soon as the clock rolled over from March 31 to April 1. In Las Cruces, for example, Jeremy Sandoval was the first in line at the R. Greenleaf Dispensary. “We’ve all been waiting for this for a long time,” Sandoval said, speaking to KTSM-TV late Thursday night.
While New Mexico’s larger cities saw the largest share of the action on opening weekend, smaller communities were able to participate too. Madrid, New Mexico, on the Turquoise Trail that winds behind the Sandia Mountains, only has a couple hundred residents or so. But the community saw over $3,000 in adult-use cannabis sales on opening weekend.
“I think it was mostly tourists. I would probably say 70/30 — 70% tourists and 30% locals,” says Cid Isbell at CannaBliss in Madrid. And Isbell expects continued tourism sales to support the community.
Cannabis is “a big part of the community here,” Isbell told KRQE News 13. The idea is “to add a vendor, a store who can pay a decent wage and and perhaps, in the near future, provide benefits and provide a really good job for the people that live in this community.”
And while a smaller community could mean more competition for customers, Isbell says that’s not the case. At least not in Madrid.
“We’re the first to open,” Isbell says. But there are others looking to enter the industry. “We’re actually helping them get all their county paperwork together, because we’ve been through it.”
Ultimately, the goal in Isbell’s eyes is to make Madrid a “weed destination.”
“This has been known as a weed community, probably since the 70s. So a lot of people know this. We call it the Humboldt County of New Mexico,” Isbell says. “One of the things we want to do is make it like a weed destination — weed capital of New Mexico, right here in our little community.”