Marijuana Legalization

Select retailers will begin selling marijuana and cannabis-infused products to those age 21 or older on Friday, April 1, the first day that adult-use sales are legally permitted.

State lawmakers last year passed House Bill 2: The Cannabis Regulation Act, which immediately allowed for adults to possess and home-cultivate marijuana, and which also established a framework and timeline for the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis products. Under the law, adults may legally purchase up to two ounces of marijuana and/or up to 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers.

According to Victor Reyes, Deputy Director of the state’s Cannabis Control Division, the agency has already issued nearly 100 licenses for cannabis producers, manufactures and retailers. However, not all of those establishments are anticipated to be open for business on April 1st.

State officials are also taking steps to permit certain Native American tribes to apply for state licensure to engage in cannabis-related activities.

“A robust, above-ground retail marijuana market is necessary in order to disrupt the unregulated marketplace and to assure that consumers have adequate access to lab-tested, high quality products at competitive prices,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said.

The speed to market in New Mexico is in contrast to the delayed roll-outs that several other states are currently experiencing. For example, adult-use sales in New York are not expected to begin until 2023. In Virginia, the timeline for the launch of retail sales is in limbo after lawmakers failed to agree this session on legislation to regulate the adult-use market. In New Jersey, lawmakers recently announced the formation of a special legislative committee to investigate why regulators have missed the state’s initially scheduled adult-use sales launch.

A 2019 economic analysis estimated that adult-use legalization in New Mexico will create an estimated 11,000 new jobs within five years.

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