Cannabis sales grew in New Mexico’s cities that border Texas as the southeast and southwest portions of the state sales increasing sales between August and September.
Industry leaders said Texans flocked to dispensaries along the state line for products still illegal in the Lone Star State.
Carlsbad continued to rank seventh in New Mexico in adult-use cannabis sales, which rose from $794,000 in August to $817,000 in September, according to data from the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (NMRLD).
Sales of adult-use cannabis also rose slightly in September for Hobbs and Sunland Park with nearly $1.3 million each, per the NMRLD.
Hobbs ranked fourth in adult-use cannabis sales in New Mexico and Sunland Park was fifth, per an NMRLD news release.
Adult-use cannabis sales dropped from $436,000 in August to $431,000 in Alamogordo. Sales also dropped from $741,000 in August to $632,000 in September for Ruidoso.
Between medical adult-use and medical sales Hobbs had $1.7 million in sales last month. Sunland Park had $1.5 million in sales. Carlsbad had $1.1 million in sales and Ruidoso and Alamogordo both had less than $1 million in sales.
Albuquerque remained No. 1 in overall cannabis sales with $14 million in September, records show, while Santa Fe was second with $3.3 million and Las Cruces was third with $3 million in sales.
Combined medical and adult-use sales dropped across New Mexico from $40 million in August to $39 million in September, according to NMRLD.
Duke Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of Ultra Health Dispensaries, which operates cannabis businesses throughout the state, said New Mexico communities bordering Texas reported strong sales.
“Hobbs and Carlsbad both continue to trend upward,” he said. “September should have been a gangbuster (sales month). In September we had five Friday’s. Fridays are the biggest months (as) those Texans are coming in,” he said.
Ultra Health has nearly 40 dispensaries in New Mexico including Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Ruidoso and Sunland Park.
Adult-use cannabis is not legal in Texas, but an extract of the marijuana plant, CBD oil is legal under state law passed in 2015.
The Compassionate-Use Act allowed medical patients to use some marijuana extracts for relief of diseases and side affects of treatments, per the Texas cannabis website.
William Boston, co-owner of the Mellow Harvest dispensary in downtown Carlsbad, said their business was half-and-half between out-of-state visitors and residents.
“We are getting quite a bit of Texas customers driving past Hobbs,” he said.
Mellow Harvest opened nearly four months ago at 117 South Canyon Street. Boston said sales have stayed steady since the business opened.
He said Mellow Harvest planned some community activities creating awareness of not only his but other and cannabis dispensaries across Carlsbad, hoping to drive even more sales.
“We need to do something to draw people here,” Boston said.
NMLRD’s Cannabis Control Division (CCD) approved licenses for cannabis retailers, manufacturers, microbusiness producers and producers in Carlsbad and Artesia.
As of Oct. 10, Carlsbad had two license approvals for two retailers, one manufacturing license was approved and two licenses were approved for a cannabis producer. Two licenses were also approved for a cannabis producer microbusiness, per NMLRD’s website.
Artesia had two cannabis producer license drafts submitted along with a single manufacturer. NMRLD approved a license for a cannabis producer microbusiness as of Oct. 10.
Texas tourists drive cannabis business in Village of Ruidoso
Ruidoso Mayor Lynn Crawford said the Village has 17 cannabis retail outlets for the 8,069 residents in Lincoln County’s largest community.
Crawford said economic models forecasted a significant amount of sales tax revenue from cannabis sales.
He said the Village of Ruidoso had a successful summer tourist season with festivals and the horse races at Ruidoso Downs, generating about $32,000 in tax money from cannabis sales to the Village in July.
“So, we had a lot of those folks coming in from Texas and I knew there would be a lot of those people that would be going in the recreational stores,” Crawford said.
NMRLD data indicated continued growth in the Village of Ruidoso with nine cannabis retail business licenses issued along with three cannabis manufacturers licensed approved. One licenses approval was pending and another one was drafted.
A cannabis production microbusiness license was drafted before NMRLD, and a producer’s license was drafted.
Crawford said multiple steps are taken with the Village and State of New Mexico before a license was granted.
“We took a wait-and-see attitude since it was pushed on us. We didn’t have a choice. We looked at zoning and how we could restrict them from zoning and how we could do some other things. We’ve just worked with the businesses that have come in,” he said.