New Mexico’s recreational weed industry is off to a strong start this month with cannabis sales topping $5 million during the first weekend of regulated purchases. Legal recreational cannabis sales began in New Mexico on April 1, only a year after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the state’s Cannabis Regulation Act into law. On Monday, the Cannabis Control Division of New Mexico’s Regulation and Licensing Department announced that Friday’s sales figure was nearly double Colorado’s first day of adult-use sales in 2014.
“New Mexico’s launch of recreational cannabis has been one of the most successful, if not the most, of any state,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement from the governor’s office. “Not to mention that we beat Colorado’s numbers for first-day sales. New Mexicans demonstrated the strength of the demand for this exciting new industry, and it is clear that adult-use cannabis is going to be a contributor to our diverse state economy.”
Between midnight on Friday, April 1, and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 3, cannabis retailers made $5,219,575.73 in combined medical and adult-use cannabis sales, the division reported. The total includes more than $3.5 million in adult-use cannabis sales and nearly $1.7 in medical cannabis purchases.
According to state records, licensed cannabis retailers from “every corner of the state” recorded a total of 87,773 individual cannabis transactions during the first weekend of recreational sales. As of Friday, the state had issued 151 retail cannabis licenses covering nearly 250 locations.
“New Mexico was ready for this historic opportunity to end prohibition,” said Cannabis Control Division Director Kristen Thomson. “Whether it’s people moving from the illicit market to the safe, regulated legal market or brand-new customers excited to try high-quality New Mexico products for the first time, New Mexicans supported cannabis businesses in record numbers this weekend.”
First Weekend’s Cannabis Sales: ‘Impressive’
Duke Rodriguez, president and CEO of the state’s largest cannabis operation, New Mexico Top Organics-Ultra Health, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that it is too early to tell if the first weekend’s sales figures are indicative of a trend. He explained that an analysis of more data expected soon is needed to accurately project the cannabis industry’s future performance.
“The three-day weekend total was impressive,” Rodriquez said. “The numbers were strong, and the good news is they are in line with where they should be.”
“It would have been worse if we had thrown a party and nobody showed up,” he quipped.
Before last week’s launch of recreational marijuana sales, some patient advocates were concerned that supplies of cannabis would run short in New Mexico. But regulators say precautions to protect the supply of medical marijuana for patients have been successful.
“In every state that launched adult-use sales before New Mexico, some retailers sold out on opening day,” Thomson said. “In New Mexico, that was simply not the case. Customers and patients across the state were all able to get the products or medicine they wanted and needed. Through careful regulatory planning hand-in-hand with industry, New Mexico cannabis producers have done something that’s never been done before. This weekend’s successful launch is something we can all be proud of.”
Many of the customers patronizing licensed retailers in New Mexico on the first weekend of recreational marijuana sales made the trip from neighboring Texas, the nation’s largest state with legal cannabis. At Bryan’s Green Care in Hobbs, less than five miles from the Texas border, customers began lining up more than an hour before the store opened.
“They were coming in so fast it was hard to keep up,” said sales director Jordan McIlroy, adding some customers waited in line as long as 90 minutes.
“I would say around 70 percent of our customers over the weekend were Texas residents,” McIlroy said.