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New Mexico Pot Sales Hit Record in October

Regulated sales of cannabis hit record levels in New Mexico during October, with licensed sales of marijuana totaling nearly $40 million for the month, according to data released last week by the state’s Cannabis Control Division (CCD). New Mexico dispensaries have launched adult-use marijuana regulation in April. October marked the fourth consecutive month with record-breaking sales.

According to CCD data, October’s monthly cannabis sales reached $39.8million. Recreational marijuana sales in New Mexico topped $25 million for the first-time. However, medical marijuana sales fell to $14.7million last month. This is a significant drop since the beginning of adult-use cannabis sales earlier in this year. Dispensaries have been able to sell $161 million worth of recreational cannabis since April.

New Mexico Regulators Launch New Online Data Portal

The updated cannabis sales figures were provided via the state’s new Cannabis Reporting Online Portal, which began operating on Thursday afternoon. In addition to providing data on cannabis sales, the portal also offers other information on New Mexico’s cannabis industry, such as the number of licensed dispensaries operating in the state.

“A few months ago, CCD saw an opportunity to provide greater information about the New Mexico cannabis industry through a data portal similar to other states,” said Bernice Geiger, a spokeswoman with the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department. “We were able to capture data from our seed-to-sale software to further disseminate data in intuitive, customizable graphical form.”

Sales of adult-use cannabis were particularly strong in towns close to New Mexico’s border with Texas, where recreational marijuana is still illegal. Sunland Park saw its recreational marijuana sales surpass $1.5 million last October. This is a record-breaking achievement for the small town with only 22,000 residents. Hobbs was also a border town with Texas and saw record sales of adult-use marijuana, with $1.47million. Last month, $731,000.00 was earned by Clovis dispensaries, which are also located on the border with west Texas.

Reilly White, an associate professor with the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, told the Albuquerque Journal that cannabis sales are likely to remain strong in New Mexico’s southern and eastern border towns as long as recreational marijuana remains against the law in neighboring Texas.

“We’re likely going to see continued growth in month-to-month cannabis sales as the market becomes more mature,” White said, noting that border towns in Colorado have seen a dip in sales since recreational marijuana sales began in New Mexico earlier this year.

White explained that the 50th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta brought thousands to New Mexico, boosting adult-use cannabis sales. Albuquerque’s October sales of recreational cannabis reached $8.1million, which is a record.

“The Balloon Fiesta did result in a positive increase in sales for local cannabis firms, as greater tourism traffic boosted recreational use,” he said. “The big test ahead for the industry will likely be macroeconomic conditions in 2023 – if we have a recession, how will consumers cut back on recreational cannabis?”

Medical Marijuana Sales Decline

The decline in sales for medical marijuana continued despite the high sales of adult-use cannabis. Ultra Health’s president and chief executive officer, Duke Rodriguez, stated that medical marijuana is declining due to the increased availability of recreational cannabis dispensaries.

“Medical sales are reclassified into adult-use sales,” Rodriguez said. “They’re just being transferred from one bucket to the other.”

Ben Lewinger (executive director of New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce) stated that medical marijuana sales have declined in other states since the legalization of adult use cannabis. Data from New Mexico Department of Health shows that there has been a drop in medical marijuana use in the state over the last year. The total number of patients fell to 123.990 as of September.

“We knew that the number of enrolled medical patients was going to contract, as it has in every other medical state that has shifted to adult use,” Lewinger said. “What’s important is that we continue to invest in the medical program by continuing to add more qualifying conditions so that more people can receive cannabis treatment, without paying taxes on their medicine.”

After the four-month-long run of cannabis sales records, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke out about the economic benefits that regulated adult-use cannabis offers.

“These numbers show that the impressive sales generated in the first month of legalized recreational cannabis sales were no fluke – and this is only the beginning,” Grisham said in a statement from the governor’s office. “We’ve established a new industry that is already generating millions of dollars in local and state revenue and will continue to generate millions more in economic activity across the state, creating thousands of jobs for New Mexicans in communities both small and large.”