Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
Expect long lines. Or maybe not.
Look for the stigma around cannabis to subside slowly.
And remember, it’s good for the state’s economy.
Those are a few of the views New Mexicans have about the start of recreational marijuana sales, beginning Friday. New Mexico joins more than a dozen other states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
It’s an industry expected to bring in $300 million in sales the first year, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday.
“I was thinking about just going to one of our local dispensaries here – and if they’re not sold out – getting some (cannabis), and taking it back to my house and enjoying it at the end of the day,” said Joshua Long, a University of New Mexico student majoring in political science and psychology, about his plans for day one.
Long, 21, said he expects short-term shortages as customers flock to dispensaries on opening day and the days following.
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But Nicholas Havens, 20, a patient in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program, said he believes dispensaries will be well-equipped to supply the flood of customers that he expects.
“I know that they stock up pretty well, at least at the medical ones,” Havens said. “I feel like the recreational ones are probably going to stock up even more because I feel like the demand is going to be even greater. … If they don’t do that, (that would) honestly surprise me.”
Recreational sales are for adults 21 and older, while residents under 21 can qualify for medical marijuana.
Eddie Sanchez, 27, also has concerns about supply running out.
“I think (Friday is) going to be crazy,” he said. “I think they’re probably going to sell out.”
Breaking the stigma
Some say that the legalization of recreational cannabis on June 29, 2021 and sales starting Friday will slowly help break the stigma of cannabis consumption.
Imani Crawford, a 21-year-old psychology major at UNM, said marijuana sales in New Mexico are “a sign that things are changing.” Crawford has used cannabis once, she said, but plans to purchase cannabis in the future now that it is legal to consume in New Mexico.
“I feel like older people are going to see their peers using it and realize, like, it’s not as big of a deal as they’ve made it seem. All their myths are going to be squashed,” she said.
UNM graduate student Inusah Mohammed said people tend to equate marijuana with smoking. But that’s not the case.
“Cannabis is a whole lot of things,” Mohammed, 32, said. “It can be used for menstrual cramps (and) a whole lot of medicinal purposes. … I feel a lot of people have been marginalized – people who (have) believed in cannabis and what have you for some time. I think this is the time for us all to be free and come out freely.”
Jesse Bullock, 37, recently moved back to New Mexico from Florida with his wife, who has family here. He said the start of adult-use sales “takes a lot of the stigma out of it for a lot of people.”
“Hopefully, it’ll open up a new industry, and some more money and income for certain people, without taking away potentially from other industries or businesses,” Bullock said.
Good for economy
Many agree that cannabis will be good for New Mexico’s economy going forward.
Havens said he expects restaurants, convenience stores and other businesses to reap the benefits of adult-use sales.
“It’s going to bring a lot of business to everybody around the whole city,” he said. “Everybody’s going to get, like, the munchies.”
In the long term, cannabis can play a large part in New Mexico’s story, said Andrew Seeger, a 36-year-old medical patient and cannabis consultant based in Santa Fe.
“We’re not going to fulfill all of our promises in the cannabis market right away here in New Mexico,” Seeger said. “It’s going to take a while, but the tax revenue is going to be quite large. This is a good that is rivaling alcohol in some areas.”
Sanchez said he would like if some of the money the state reaps from recreational cannabis sales could be used to fix infrastructure.
“We can fix the roads, get bridges done,” Sanchez said.