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New Mexico December Cannabis Sales Total More Than $40 Million

New Mexico’s December regulation of marijuana sales topped $40 million. Recreational marijuana sales set a new monthly record at $28 million. Sales of medical marijuana totaled about $15.1 million for the last month of 2022, up from about $14 million in November, according to data released this week by the state’s Cannabis Control Division. An upward trend in medical marijuana sales that had been declining for the last four months has reversed with this month’s growth. This is going back to August.

Andrew Vallejos, the acting director of the Cannabis Control Division (CCD), said that the record-breaking month for adult-use cannabis sales coupled with an increase in medical marijuana purchases was a welcome surprise for the state’s cannabis industry and regulators.

“I don’t know exactly what attributed to certainly the increase both in medical and recreational, as a bump up in December, but it was kind of surprising to us to see how robust those numbers were,” Vallejos said in a statement quoted by the Albuquerque Journal, adding “The sales (numbers) are interesting in and of themselves, but what I’m encouraged by is the fact that it means a steady cash flow for (businesses) to stay open and to make a profit.”

Recreational Marijuana Sales Launched In April

Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico signed the Cannabis Regulation Act into Law in April 2021. It legalized adult use of cannabis and established a framework for regulating the sale of this product. In April 2022, recreational marijuana was licensed in New Mexico at dispensaries that were licensed. This happened just one year later.

The April launch of recreational cannabis in New Mexico has resulted in sales exceeding $214 millions in 2022. According to data from the state, sales of medical marijuana totaled $144.2 million during that same period. With the current sales rate, New Mexico’s recreational marijuana sales are expected to surpass $300 million by the end of the first full year.

Ben Lewinger, the executive director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, said that December’s recreational sales numbers illustrate how small towns are taking advantage of the economic opportunities associated with the state’s newest industry.

“This is very impressive on a statewide, macro level, but I think what’s more indicative of the early success of this industry is when you look at smaller, rural communities,” Lewinger said. “Places like Alto, Cloudcroft, Raton and Tularosa each boast more than 10,000 total transactions for the month of December. That’s tax revenue for those municipalities and their counties, as well as for the state.”

New Mexico’s small towns, particularly those that are near the Texas border, have shown strong gains in monthly recreational marijuana sales since the April launch. Sunland Park saw its highest month yet in December with more than $2 million in recreational cannabis sales. Hobbs posted record numbers with $1.7 million worth of recreational marijuana sales. Clovis saw the largest ever recorded recreational marijuana sales of nearly $832,000 last December.

Albuquerque is leading the state for recreational marijuana sales. The city posted $8.4million in December sales. This was a new record. Medical marijuana sales added another $6 million to the city’s overall total for December, bringing it to more than $14 million. Santa Fe and Las Cruces saw their highest monthly recreational marijuana sales, with Santa Fe recording the best showing.

Sales of recreational marijuana have dominated New Mexico’s cannabis industry since the April launch, representing about 65% of total sales dollars and about 68% of all dispensary transactions. Medical marijuana users spend much more per visit. The average state medical cannabis transaction is $52.57. In comparison, recreational cannabis sales averaged $45.31 in the last nine months.

Vallejos, CCD Director, stated last month that New Mexico’s legalization of recreational marijuana is more than just destigmatizing its use. Additionally, the reform of cannabis policy offers new economic opportunities to New Mexico.

“I think there was a push by the people who wanted to have legalized, adult-use cannabis,” Vallejos said. “But there was also opportunity for economic growth. … I don’t want to pretend like cannabis is going to be oil and gas — the state isn’t going to rely on cannabis profits to fund massive amount[s] for schools — but as we diversify our economy, it’s just another arrow in the quiver.”