With adult use cannabis sales now happening in New Mexico, is anyone bothering to buy medical cannabis – and can they even access it?
Last Friday saw the first day of adult-use sales in the state, and business was brisk. The Governor’s office claims the first day of sales was nearly double that of Colorado’s first day, which has a similar population.
Between midnight on Friday April 1, and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday April 3, cannabis retailers racked up $5,219,575.73 in sales – that’s medical and adult-use purchases combined. From 87,773 individual transactions, adult-use sales comprised $3,522,811.27 of the total while medical cannabis represented $1,696,764.46.
One of the fears concerning the launch of recreational sales was the experience of other states where supply of medical cannabis was severely impacted as manufacturers changed their focus to cater to the adult-use crowd. The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) recently assured patients in the state it had secured a stable, long-term supply of medical cannabis.
And so far, it appears, so good.
“Customers and patients across the state were all able to get the products or medicine they wanted and needed,” said Cannabis Control Division Director Kristen Thomson. “Through careful regulatory planning hand-in-hand with industry, New Mexico cannabis producers have done something that’s never been done before.”
A very happy Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the launch of recreational cannabis in the state “has been one of the most successful, if not the most, of any state.”
One of the reasons for the Governor’s enthusiasm is recreational marijuana will be a cash cow to be milked for the state’s coffers. There’s a 12 percent excise tax on top of the state’s 8 percent sales tax on recreational cannabis – so, the State raked in more than a million dollars over the first three days. The adult-use sector is expected to generate more than $300 million annually in sales, create more than 11,000 jobs and provide $50 million in state revenue in the first year alone.
Medical cannabis sales are not subject to the Cannabis Excise Tax, and these sales are eligible for the GRT (Gross Receipts Tax) deduction for prescription drugs. Currently, more than 131,000 residents are enrolled in the New Mexico’s medical cannabis program and it will be interesting to see how the popular program continues to evolve, or otherwise, from here.