You can buy up to 2 ounces (57g) of marijuana for 21 years old. This is enough to make 60 joints, cigarettes, or similar amounts of liquid concentrates or edible treats. Early Friday evening, sales of marijuana products had reached $2 million in the first day.
Since 2007, New Mexico has had a medical marijuana program. However, there have been strict restrictions. Friday's launch is a significant step forward for taxation officials, local law enforcement officers, commercial growers, and residents who believed full legal access to marijuana would never be possible.
Customers at a Santa Fe dispensary said that they were happy to buy openly and cut off black market ties.
Devin Killoy, a handyman and painter dressed in white-streaked clothes, said, "When they legalized marijuana here, I didn’t need my guy anymore."
Antonio Rodriguez, a 38 year-old grocery worker, stated that he is happy to pay taxes on recreational marijuana: "I want everybody to be legitimate, even if this is more expensive."
As experienced marijuana producers increase production and open retail shops, potential cannabis farmers are bidding on water rights.
New Mexico is one of 18 states that have legalized recreational marijuana, along with Colorado and Arizona, as well as the whole West Coast. This has implications for both cannabis tourism and conservative Texas where efforts to legalize pot have been slow.
The U.S. House approved Friday a marijuana decriminalization bill, but it is unlikely that the Senate will pass it. Republicans claimed potent marijuana is causing impairments to users and described marijuana as a gateway drug for opioids and other dangerous substances.
Clovis is a New Mexico town in the high plains, home to about 40,000 people. Earl Henson and his business partners teamed up to transform a former gun shop into a cannabis store.
Henson, who was once a real estate agent and said that his love for marijuana was a burden, stated that "I cannot explain how happy" he is. He is currently harvesting the first crop of marijuana for Earl and Tom's. "These cities near Texas will see a dramatic change in their economies over the next two-years."
Santa Fe's state capital, Santa Fe, has marijuana for sale. It is located across from the newly constructed visitors center, which is situated on a block of galleries, clothing boutiques, and restaurants.
LeRoy Roybal is the manager of a downtown Santa Fe shop for producer and dispensary chain Minerva Canna. He hopes that pot stigma will quickly disappear.
He said, "We're liberating many hearts and souls." It's like ordering a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
Legislators who support legalization hope it will end black markets, increase employment, and create stable new sources for government income.
In the beginning, consumers will heavily rely on 35 legacy cannabis businesses that have been in operation for over 15 years. More than 230 marijuana business licenses have been issued by regulators to growers, retailers, and manufacturing facilities for extracts or edibles.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham visited a busy store on Friday to see if legalization is responding to public demand and creating small business opportunities.
Lujan Grisham said, "This is what consumers need." He was up for reelection this November. "We have the potential to hire 11,000 additional workers and jobs in areas where young people can stay and work, such as Torrance County, Texico, Tucumcari, and Raton."
Although they cannot ban all cannabis businesses, local governments can limit hours and locations. Public consumption is subject to a $50 penalty.
The business licenses to operate cannabis lounges or cafes have not been requested yet. This leaves people free to enjoy their favorite beverages at home, in designated hotels, casinos, and cigar shops.
Sunland Park is surrounded by the Rio Grande and U.S. Mexico border fencing. Mayor Javier Perea has announced that marijuana retailers are allowed to set up shop in the tiny city of 17,000 people. According to Perea, about 30 businesses applied for authorization. They are relying on tourism from Mexico's Ciudad Juarez and El Paso in Texas.
Perea believes the industry will create economic opportunity and generate tax income that will help to boost city services. The state will give a minor share to local governments of its 12% excise taxes on recreational marijuana sales. There will also be a share in additional sales taxes. Medical cannabis is exempt from tax.
He said, "The only thing we are going through is that we are running out of buildings" to support new businesses.
Experts warn that New Mexico residents who return to their home state could face criminal penalties, arrest, and imprisonment -- especially in Texas.
Paul Armento is the deputy director of NORML's drug policy group. He stated that Texas is one of the most popular states for marijuana possession arrests. Concentrating marijuana in Texas can result in up to 2 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
Federal law still prohibits marijuana possession, use, or sale. This applies to large tracts of federal land as well as Indian Country in New Mexico.
New Mexico's cannabis industry is still dependent on cash to avoid being in violation of federal law. However, it has gained access to banking services via an alternative certification system for credit cooperatives and banks that is supported by state attorneys general.
The state will also underwrite $5,000,000 in low-interest loans for small cannabis businesses who can't get traditional credit.
Lawmakers sought to reverse the harm caused by marijuana criminalization on minorities and poor households by automatically dismissing, erasing, or erasing previous cannabis convictions. This encourages social and economic diversity in employment, and reduces financial barriers for startups.
A state micro-business license allows you to grow up to 200 plants at a flat $1,000. This is appealing to first-time commercial growers such as Kyle Masterson, a retired Marine and Ivy, who are both Hispanic Army veterans with business consulting experience. They have three children and are making a career change to cannabis in their mid-life.
Residents of Rio Rancho, the Mastersons searched for a building that would allow them to grow high-quality marijuana under lights. They found it in a small village near the Jemez mountains, which was a former movie theatre.
Kyle Masterson, a veteran of four combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, said, "It felt right. It felt good, it felt great, and out of vision of what we can do." "We are used to working in difficult environments, without any direction, and trying our best.