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Farmington cannabis sales topped $190,000 in first week of legal sales


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FARMINGTON — As the owners of Farmington's first new retail cannabis dispensary hung their new city business license and prepared to open their doors, the state released figures showing that the first week of legal sales raised more than $190,000 in Farmington between April 1 and April 7.

Medical sales in Farmington added up to $60,353.32 while recreational sales raised $130,607.94, communications consultant Heather Brewer of HB Strategies told The Daily Times on April 8 via email.

New Mexico's cannabis retailers made about $10 million in sales, with shops in Albuquerque and Santa Fe posting high sales numbers at $3.8 million in Albuquerque and just over $893,265 in Santa Fe, a state news release said.

More: As police enforce cannabis sales law, New Mexico offers tips to newbies about getting high

More businesses in Farmington are proceeding through licensing, with one getting licensed by the state and recently receiving a city business license.

The City of Farmington and San Juan County enacted cannabis ordinances ahead of the April 1 opening of retail sales to deal with potential issues of shop locations and where cannabis products can be used.

"We have issued business registrations for recreational cannabis sales to The Grass Station LLC at 928 E. Main St., Building C and NM Alternative Care at 534 E. Broadway," Farmington City Clerk Andrea Jones said via email on the morning of April 11.

The New Mexico Alternative Care dispensary on East Broadway Avenue has been selling cannabis products for more than 10 years to those with a medical marijuana card. Jones said the business was required to get the additional license to sell recreational cannabis.

Ryan Lefebre, a partner in The Grass Station, said they hope to have a grand opening on April 20 for the new retail facility. 

The store was shaping up on April 8 as Farrell Charley sat on the edge of a ladder laid across the floor to create a mural on the wall next to the front door. 

Lefebre said the next step is to pick up inventory and stock the shelves.

State says initial sales went well

"New Mexico was ready for this historic opportunity to end prohibition," Cannabis Control Division Director Kristen Thomson said in a prepared release on April 8. "Whether it's people moving from the illicit market to the safe, regulated legal market or brand-new customers excited to try high-quality New Mexico products for the first time, New Mexicans supported cannabis businesses in record numbers this week."

State officials made no pretense about the lure of recreational cannabis to a large, neighboring state.

"While the state's largest city saw the highest sales, smaller communities – especially those near the Texas border – saw a lot of business, which will bring dollars right back to their communities," the release noted.

A tale of two businesses: What goes on behind the scenes of a New Mexico cannabis dispensary

Nuts and bolts of the sales numbers

The state's money-count began at midnight on April 1, when many lined up in towns that didn't restrict business hours. Some shops sold through the wee hours of that Friday morning until closing time. The state's weekly count ended at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 7.

The state reported that cannabis shops sold $9,998,332.58 in medical and adult-use sales combined, although adult-use sales tallied just over $6.1 million of that total.

Supply worries were unfounded

The Cannabis Control Division in its news release discussed supply issues, a complication during the legalization process that in other states caused a shortfall in available product and in production processes for new crops.

The state entity in its release said, that "adequate supply continues to be available for consumer and patients," because New Mexico engaged in the careful planning between the state and industry.

"In every state that launched adult-use sales before New Mexico, some retailers sold out on opening day or ran low during the first week," Thomson stated in the news release. "In New Mexico, that was simply not the case. Customers and patients across the state were all able to get the products or medicine they wanted and needed. Through careful regulatory planning hand-in-hand with industry, New Mexico cannabis producers have done something that's never been done before. This week is something we can all be proud of."

More: Farmington bars and breweries wary of yet unknown impacts from legal cannabis sales

Thomson said that other states have also seen "statewide seed-to-sale tracking system problems that limited or halted sales altogether. Again, New Mexico did not experience those problems and the statewide system worked without a hitch throughout the week."

Thomson is "thrilled with the opening week sales and looks forward to seeing the market develop moving forward," the release stated.

"This is just the beginning," Thomson said. "Over time, the cannabis market in New Mexico will continue to grow, bringing more craft New Mexico products to consumers. The future is bright."

Contact John R. Moses at 505-564-4624, or via email at jmoses@daily-times.com.

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