New Mexico gears up to legally sell recreational cannabis… on April fool’s day

A New Mexico agency responsible for providing regulatory oversight for the state’s newly launched recreational Cannabis Market is prepared for the industry to officially get underway this April 1.

This is according to the director of the Cannabis Control Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, Kristen Thomson. 

Although this day is known as April Fool’s Day, the rollout of New Mexico’s legal cannabis market is not a joke. In fact, hundreds of business owners are anticipating an influx of adults aged 21 and above to enter the store on April 1, but not before they stock up on the necessary products and merchandise.

“We really expect that first day of business to be filled with excitement,” said Thomson, whose agency is focused on doubling its employee count from 12-24 to ensure adequate support and oversight for cannabis companies

Thomson went on to say that her staffers will be present on the inaugural day of New Mexico’s cannabis industry. In regards to potential supply issues, she is not concerned.

“We do not have concerns about lack of product. As with any new gadget or restaurant or something opening, some products may come up short, but we do not anticipate a massive statewide shortage of product on opening day,” she explained.

State officials have approved in excess of 225 cannabis retail licenses in New Mexico

While it remains uncertain as to how many shops will begin ushering in customers on April 1 to recreational cannabis sales, one thing’s for certain: some of the retailers will be existing medical cannabis retailers.

So far, 225 cannabis retail stores have received licenses to operate legally. Examples of those licenses some of which cover numerous business sites include licenses for companies that deliver, manufacture, produce and sell cannabis goods.

However, since some retailers are still busy figuring out the local zoning regulations and, in some instances, waiting for their chosen municipality to approve cannabis sales, not all license holders are likely to start business right away.

Residents have been legally allowed to use cannabis products in New Mexico since late June. Regardless, consumers are still waiting for the opportunity to visit a local store and legally buy products.

Supply shortage issues for New Mexico’s legal cannabis market raise concerns 

If the president and CEO of Ultra Health, Duke Rodriguez, is correct in his predictions, major supply issues will become apparent in the future.

Rodriguez, whose company is acknowledged as the largest vertically-integrated medical cannabis provider in the United States, told reporters that the state limited cannabis production at 20,000 per cultivator while granting an unlimited amount of retail licenses.

We will probably need to pare back as many as 100 locations [within the first year] and there will be a lot of small businesses that will be hurt very badly,” he (predicted.)

He remains concerned even though the Cannabis Control Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department doubled the maximum plant-growing limit for producers in July of last year.

State law requires retailers to save at least 20 percent of their products for patients registered under the state’s Medical Cannabis Program.  

Figures from the state Department of Health show that close to 132,000 New Mexicans were registered to receive medical cannabis under the state’s Medical Cannabis Program as of February.