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It’s official. As of April 1, anyone 21 and older in New Mexico can now legally purchase weed. And no, this is not an April Fool’s joke.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation in June 2021 that allowed adult residents to legally possess, use, and grow recreational cannabis. Retail sales wouldn’t start until this year, and that day is today.
It’s a big change. After 15 years of being a medical-only state with tight restrictions, as of midnight on Friday, April 1, adults can purchase up to 2 ounces (57 grams) of marijuana, which is enough to roll about 60 joints, or comparable amounts of liquid concentrates and edible treats.
“This is what consumers want,” Grisham, up for reelection in November, told NPR. “We have the potential for 11,000 more workers, jobs in places where young people can work and stay, like Torrance County and Texico and Tucumcari and Raton.”
Come and get it!
For now, consumers can only buy from 35 legacy marijuana businesses that have been in place for the last 15 years. Regulators have issued another 230-plus licenses for new weed-related outfits, including growers, retailers, and manufacturing facilities.
A store in Las Cruces opened at 12:01 a.m. to a line of people waiting to purchase recreational cannabis, according to Alquequrque’s KOAT. In Santa Fe, a new marijuana shop will open across from the city’s visitor center, smack dab in the middle of tourist-friendly galleries, boutiques and restaurants. In Clovis, about 10 miles from Texas, a former gun shop and shooting range will soon become a cannabis shop and growing room.
“I can’t explain how happy I am,” Earl and Tom’s co-owner Earl Henson told NPR. “I think these cities that are near Texas, for the next two years it is going to change their economies.”
But watch out, Texas
While New Mexico is now among 18 states that have legalized pot for recreational use, issues arise for neighboring states, like conservative Texas, which still has pretty strict laws against cannabis use and possession.
Best to leave that weed behind, says experts. According to Paul Armento, deputy director of NORML, Texas leads the country for marijuana-posession arrests. For instance, having concentrates alone, which are legal in New Mexico, and get you up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
It’s also important to note that New Mexico residents without a license can not legally grow their own marijuana, and as cannabis continues to be illegal at the federal level, traveling with weed or any cannabis products across state lines is not the best idea in general.