Cannabis sales in New Mexico grow slowly as more retailers join market

Algernon D'Ammassa
Las Cruces Sun-News

Commercial cannabis sales in August grew by about $374,000 over July in data released Wednesday by New Mexico's Cannabis Control Division.

Total sales topped $40 million for the second consecutive month, a high (if you will) since regulated sales of cannabis opened for adults on April 1.

Meanwhile, tax data suggests the number of retailers sharing the market is growing much more quickly than the market for adult-use cannabis.

More:Second cannabis dispensary granted business license in Mesilla on divided vote

In July, the state Taxation and Revenue Department collected returns from 149 retailers for total excise taxes of $2,472,376.45 from June sales, in addition to GRT that varies based on local tax rates. As of last week, the department said 171 had filed returns due on Aug. 25, which would be for July excise taxes amounting to $2,524,255.65.

Based on that data, the number of cannabis retailers filing their taxes grew by 15 percent while the revenue collected in excise taxes grew by just 2 percent.

The Las Cruces 420 Hemp and Cannabis Festival featured over 40 vendors and a couple hundred estimated attendees throughout the day at Sassy Grass Juice Bar and Lounge on April 20, 2022.

Total reported sales back in July topped $40.3 million, which had been the high point since the state opened sales of cannabis for adult use. In August, the total of medical and non-medical cannabis products was reported at $40.7 million, with a 2.1 percent drop in medical cannabis sales since July.

Out of $40,679,290.19 in sales reported by dispensaries in 54 municipalities, $24,219,338.50 were for adult use and subject to excise and gross receipts taxes. $16,459,951.69 were for non-taxable medical products available to those enrolled in the state's medical cannabis program.

Adult use or "recreational" cannabis sales increased by 3 percent over the month.

The top five cities, who also topped July sales, accounted for 61 percent of the total market in August: Albuquerque ($14.6 million), Santa Fe ($3.5 million), Las Cruces ($3.3 million), Hobbs ($1.7 million) and Rio Rancho ($1.6 million).

More:Should outdoor cannabis consumption be allowed at licensed facilities in Las Cruces? Public meeting scheduled.

Showroom at Pecos Valley Production's cannabis dispensary in Sunland Park, N.M. on Friday, April 1, 2022, the first day of legal recreational cannabis sales in the state.

Cities neighboring Texas, where cannabis remains illegal except for select medical applications, continued to see robust sales, with Sunland Park (adjacent to El Paso) seeing growth in both medical and especially non-medical weed. The city reported combined sales of $1.5 million including $1.3 million in adult use — the fourth highest in the state.

The unincorporated community of Chaparral, also situated close to El Paso, saw a 92 percent leap in total sales, to $306,533 from July's $159,426 including leaps in both classes of product.

Carlsbad in the southeast also saw month-to-month growth with a total of $1.2 million in sales including increases in both classes of product.

Although Ruidoso was among the top 10 municipalities for sales in August with a combined $1.08 million, its sales of both medical and non-medical product dropped from July to August.

Jason Little of New Mexico Alternative Care stands behind the counter of his Farmington medical marijuana dispensary that will celebrate its 10th anniversary in December.

Alamogordo's combined total of $980,570 in sales was slightly higher than its July receipts thanks to recreational sales.

Farmington also saw increased sales during August, totaling $800,655, due to increased sales of recreational cannabis as sales of medical product there backed off by 4.1 percent.

Toward the southwest, meanwhile, Deming saw an increase in medical cannabis sales, with $100,983, while recreational cannabis sales were lower than in July, for total sales of $252,846 including $151,864 for adult use.

Algernon D'Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, adammassa@lcsun-news.com or @AlgernonWrites on Twitter.

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