New Mexico’s recreational cannabis industry is barely six months old, but regulators say there are already more than two dozen businesses that are not in compliance with state rules.
Local television station KRQE reported last week that the state’s Cannabis Control Division has conducted 100 inspections since adult-use pot sales kicked off in April, finding that “31 businesses are not in compliance.”
The station reported that the division’s inspectors “go out with a checklist and look for any issues,” and that the “list includes control of waste, fire safety, and making sure businesses have security measures.”
“For retailers, they don’t typically have as extensive of a checklist because they’re not growing,” New Mexico Cannabis Control Division Director Andrew Vallejos told KRQE.
According to the station, the state “has not cited any recreational marijuana licenses since it became legal,” and regulators are not taking a punitive approach to the inspections.
“One of the grounds for suspension; is if businesses don’t enter their product in the state’s seed to sale software,” KRQE reported. “Plants are tracked whether they come from New Mexico or out of the state. However, even if businesses slip up on rules, the goal is to get them back on track.”
But per the station, New Mexico officials are “looking to hire two more compliance officers,” given that the “cannabis control division currently has eight compliance officers to inspect 478 businesses that have a recreational marijuana license.”
New Mexico legalized recreational pot for adults in 2021, when Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill into law.
“The legalization of adult-use cannabis paves the way for the creation of a new economic driver in our state with the promise of creating thousands of good paying jobs for years to come,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement at the time. “We are going to increase consumer safety by creating a bona fide industry. We’re going to start righting past wrongs of this country’s failed War on Drugs. And we’re going to break new ground in an industry that may well transform New Mexico’s economic future for the better.”
Adult-use weed sales officially began on April 1 of this year, with sales eclipsing $3 million on the opening weekend.
In July, adult-use cannabis sales in New Mexico exceeded $40 million, which was a new record for the state’s fledgling recreational pot market.
“These numbers show that the impressive sales generated in the first month of legalized recreational cannabis sales were no fluke – and this is only the beginning,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement at the time. “We’ve established a new industry that is already generating millions of dollars in local and state revenue and will continue to generate millions more in economic activity across the state, creating thousands of jobs for New Mexicans in communities both small and large.”
When she signed the legalization bill into law back in 2021, Lujan Grisham framed the measure as a potential economic boon for a state that, like many others, was still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we look to rebound from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, entrepreneurs will benefit from this great opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises, the state and local governments will benefit from the added revenue and, importantly, workers will benefit from the chance to land new types of jobs and build careers,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
“This legislation is a major, major step forward for our state,” the governor continued. “Legalized adult-use cannabis is going to change the way we think about New Mexico for the better — our workforce, our economy, our future. We’re ready to break new ground. We’re ready to invest in ourselves and the limitless potential of New Mexicans. And we’re ready to get to work in making this industry a successful one.”