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NM's recreational cannabis industry goes live

A close-up of a marijuana plant outdoors.
Chmee2 via Flickr
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CREATIVE COMMONS

As of April 1, adults in New Mexico can buy recreational marijuana, making it the latest Mountain West state to legalize cannabis as federal lawmakers consider broader decriminalization.

Under the new law, anyone 21 and older can buy up to 2 ounces of recreational marijuana, and on Friday many New Mexicans lined up to shop at some of the state’s roughly 250 licensed retailers.

At Carver Family Farm's dispensary in Albuquerque, TJ Emerick bought a strain of flower called Apple Fritter. He says he's happy to finally be spending his money locally.

“We’ve been excited — been ready for this," Emerick said. "Don’t have to drive to Colorado, especially with the gas prices right now.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham expects the industry to generate over $300 million in sales, and $50 million in revenue, in the first year. The AP reports that dispensaries in eastern New Mexico are ready to serve their neighbors in Texas, where marijuana remains illegal despite demand that could drive a multi-billion dollar industry there.

Across the American West, most states now have legalized medical and recreational cannabis. Only medical cannabis is legal in Utah, and neither is legal in Idaho and Wyoming.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2022 KUNM. To see more, visit KUNM.

Emma Gibson
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