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Some new Farmington cannabis retailers near opening day as New Mexico reports soaring sales


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FARMINGTON – Some new local cannabis dispensaries have received city business licenses but could not open their doors in time for April 20, a significant (and high sales volume) date among many cannabis customers. Two new shops plan to open soon.

Dispensaries across New Mexico that day almost matched sales records set during the first day of legal recreational sales.

State regulators said dispensaries saw twice the usual daily cannabis sales on "420," which a news release from the Cannabis Control Division of the Regulation and Licensing Department termed "an unofficial but much-celebrated cannabis holiday."

The amount of revenue raised on 420 from sales in Farmington was not available on Thursday, when the state announced that April 20 sales statewide raised $2.2 million in that single day, bringing total sales since April 1 to $26.9 million. 

But a supply hitch kept Toke Dispensary at 4339 E. Main St., Ste. A, from firing up those cash registers and creating new jobs.

"We are hitting the ground running in Farmington, to provide relief, that medicinal patients and adult-use consumers can enjoy, heal and prosper from, however we have hit all the major roadblocks or "Pot Holes," as we call it at Toke, with securing and bringing supplied product to our shelves,” said General Manager Fred Chambers via email on April 22.

Chambers, like others opening locally, said the business is in preparation mode and said when the operation can open all federal state and local laws will be followed.

“We have not opened our doors and missed the biggest sales days of the year, however we are still working tirelessly to secure necessary product,” Chambers continued. 

While many industries are having trouble finding workers, Toke reports that it didn’t take long to accumulate a lot of applications via an employment website.

"We had 400+ applicants apply to the six positions we posted indeed, within 72 hours," Chambers said. He noted the dispensary's  website received 12,000 views since April 1.

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

“I have consulted, created and worked in the NM industry for 10 years and see a bottle-neck, when it comes to supply,” Chambers said. “ We ask for grace and assistance for all dispensaries in this NM, to safely be able to secure, flourish and consistently provide a high-grade product that provides relief to patients and consumers.”

One new cannabis business announced an opening date.

Justin Lewis of Distinguished Dispensary at 4601 English Road set an opening date of May 2.

His phone message to customers apologized for the long wait on the opening, but said,  “we look forward to seeing you there.”

The dispensary’s facility was finished before April 1 but only recently received a state and city business license.

Lewis said on April 23 that the business has a good supply of “flower,” cannabis buds, and a contract with a local grower means unique cannabis varieties will be on sale.

“We do have some product the no one else in town will have,” Lewis said.

Supply problems are limiting the kinds of edible and other non-flower cannabis products available for purchase by the dispensary. Lewis said he expects that the actual product suppliers in those merchandise categories may change from week to week for a while as the New Mexico cannabis business moves forward.

The first to get licensed was The Grass Station LLC at 928 E. Main St., Building C. Co-owner Ryan LeFebre said on April 22 that the business hopes to open very soon.

“We have everything,” said LeFebre via email on April 22, including “edibles, carts, waxes, topicals.” He said the products the business was “waiting on are flower.”

He said he expects the business should have that product by Tuesday and they “hope to open mid next week.”

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

State celebrates high sales numbers on April 20

“Legal cannabis sales have brought 420 out of the shadows and into the mainstream of our state’s economy,” Cannabis Control Division Director Kristen Thomson said April 21 in a news release. “New Mexicans celebrated responsibly yesterday and came out in strong numbers to celebrate and enjoy high-quality New Mexico products.”

The release noted that the day’s sales didn’t top the initial rush to legally buy cannabis.

“On 420, cannabis retailers sold $2.2 million in cannabis products statewide, which is nearly double a typical Wednesday and only slightly less than the $2.7 million from April 1, the first day of sales,” the release stated.

“The bottom line is that the cannabis industry in New Mexico is strong,” Thomson said. “From a strong opening and reliable supply to the sales bump on 420, New Mexicans have worked together to create a thriving industry that is part of the state’s diverse economy.”

Communications consultant Heather Brewer of HB Strategies, who released Farmington’s first week of local totals on April 8 for the state,  told The Daily Times on April 21 that only statewide numbers on April 20 sales were available. 

The Cannabis Control Division on April 21 announced its intention to release sales numbers “on a monthly basis, with data being available at the beginning of each month for the month prior.”

Brewer said the monthly numbers, which will come out for the first time on May 1, will be broken down by city.

The division said it plans to be transparent about tax revenues after the taxes are collected.

“All adult-use cannabis sales in the state are taxed,” the April 21 Cannabis Control Division news release said. “Medical cannabis sales are tax exempt. The first tax payments from adult-use cannabis retail businesses are due on May 25 and data on state revenue from cannabis sales will be available after that date.”

While the local April 20 revenue amounts were not disclosed, Farmington’s sales during the first week were well below those generated in the state’s highly-populated areas. 

Between April 1 and April 7, medical cannabis sales in Farmington raised $60,353.32 while recreational sales were $130,607.94, Brewer said on April 8 via email.

Albuquerque alone sold a combined $3.8 million in medical and recreational cannabis the first day of legal sales April 1.

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

New businesses get city licenses

A handful of cannabis retail businesses have claimed their Farmington city business registration.

The Toke Dispensary at 4339 E. Main St., Ste. A, received a business registration for recreational  cannabis sales recently, said Farmington City Clerk Andrea Jones via email on April 21.

So did Ultra Health at 4251 E Main St., Ste. D and E, an existing medical dispensary.

“Distinguished Dispensary has also been issued a business registration for recreational cannabis sale,” Jones said in earlier email. That facility is located at 4601 English Road.

An existing medical cannabis facility, NM Alternative Care at 534 E. Broadway, received its adult use retail license as well.

“NM Alternative Care was registered for medical marijuana only and was required to obtain a new business registration for the new use,” Jones said via email. The business received that license on April 5. Its existing medical sales license did not cover recreational sales, Jones said.

Contact John R. Moses at 505-564-4624, or via email at jmoses@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e