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New Mexico Approves Cannabis Legalization During Special Session

by Sarah Cawthon April 09, 2021

Last week, New Mexico’s legislature approved the Cannabis Regulation Act and the Expungement of Certain Criminal Records, which would legalize adult-use cannabis in the state. The bills have been sent to the governor to be signed into law. This came just one day after New York legalized adult-use cannabis.  

The state is expected to produce roughly $20 million in revenue by 2023, with an additional $10 million going to local governments.  

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special session to pass cannabis legalization legislation. Gov. Lujan Grisham had been working to pass cannabis legalization legislation for the past several years to no avail, and in March stated, “We’re going to get cannabis because I am not going to wait another year.”

After the bills finally passed, she stated, “This is a significant victory for New MexicoWorkers will benefit from the opportunity to build careers in this new economy. Entrepreneurs will benefit from the opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises. 

New Mexico’s legalization is in line with the growing demand for cannabis in the U.S. According to a Pew Research survey from 2019, 91 percent of Americans supported legal medical or adult-use cannabis. Once the bills have been signed, New Mexico will become the 17th state to legalize adult-use cannabis in the U.S.  

Under the new law, those aged 21 and over will be allowed to possess up to two ounces of cannabis and six plants at home or up to 12 plants per household. Sales are slated to begin no later than April 2022 with products taxed at 12 percent, and the tax rate eventually rising to reach 18 percent. The bill also includes measures aimed at easing entry into the industry for those disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition. 

While New Mexico is still awaiting the governor’s signature, the state has already begun preparations to regulate the new adult-use market. The Cannabis Control Division falls under the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department and will be in charge of regulating and licensing cannabis across the state.  

The division’s website lays out the timeline and fees New Mexicans can expect if they apply for cannabis business licensesThe fees range from a $35 cannabis server permit to an annual $7,500 fee for cannabis business licenses such as retail, cultivation and transportation.   

However, it is not defined exactly when the Cannabis Control Division will begin accepting applications for cannabis business licenses. The bill just requires the division to begin processing licenses for cannabis producers and microbusinesses no later than September 1, 2021. For all other application types, including retail stores and manufacturers, the division has until January 2022 to begin accepting those licenses.  

Prepare for New Mexico Adult-Use Cannabis Retail Opportunities 
If you’re seeking hands-on, custom assistance with applying for and operating a cannabis retail store in New Mexico, contact our Unity Rd. team to learn how you can receive help from an industry veteran.  

 The Unity Rd. franchise opportunity offers a deep network of seasoned experts, trusted resources, turnkey blueprint and ongoing operational support to confidently operate dispensaries that are compliant and profitable.