Recreational cannabis in New Mexico is moving closer to its long-anticipated launch, thanks to new regulations that went into effect on Wednesday.
The state’s Cannabis Control Division enacted a slew of policies that make it easier for licensed cultivators and producers to grow and manufacture marijuana products, while also laying out rules for transporting cannabis to dispensaries, sales limits and a host of other new policies.
According to state legislation passed in New Mexico earlier in the year, the rules needed to be in place by the end of 2021.
Requirements for security cameras, proof of water rights and workplace training programs were included as necessary items from marijuana businesses to document to state authorities. The regulations also demand manufacturers destroy any tested batches of cannabis that fail New Mexico’s health and safety tests. Also notably, dispensaries are banned from giving out complimentary cannabis samples for adult-use buyers, even though the law still allows medical patients to try the plant for free under special circumstances.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham legalized adult-use marijuana earlier this year for adults 21 and older, though sales of the plant won’t begin until April 1.
At least six other states to legalize retail cannabis in 2021 also hope to launch sales by the beginning of 2023. Montana on Jan. 1 will be the first of the six to do so when medical dispensaries across the state are permitted to go recreational on that day. New Jersey will likely follow with a February debut, then New Mexico on April 1. Connecticut could start during the late spring or early summer months, and New York remains a possibility for 2022 in spite of stalled progress by state authorities. Finally, Virginia plans to begin adult-use sales on January 1, 2023.
Several other states look to pass recreational cannabis in the new year: officials in Maryland are pushing a bill to land adult-use on the November ballot while advocates in Missouri are confident about their chances of gathering a required 170,000 signatures to do the same. Ditto for Arkansas, where advocates aim to collect the roughly 89,000 signatures needed to put rec on the ballot. A proposed constitutional amendment in Oklahoma could legalize adult-use there in 2022, while retail legalization efforts in Pennsylvania will likely remain stalled as a result of partisan gridlock in its state legislature.