clearn.png
Sunday August 14th, 2022 9:46PM

New Mexico launches cannabis sales, within Texans' reach

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is bringing sales of recreational marijuana to the doorstep of Texas, the largest prohibition state, as the movement toward broad legalization sweeps up even more of the American West.

As of Friday in New Mexico, anyone 21 and older can purchase up to 2 ounces (57 grams) of marijuana — enough to roll about 60 joints or cigarettes — or comparable amounts of marijuana liquid concentrates and edible treats.

New Mexico has nurtured a medical marijuana program since 2007 under tight restrictions. Friday's changes still represent a sea change for local law enforcement, taxation officials, commercial growers and residents who thought full-blown legal access to pot would never come.

Across the state, would-be marijuana farmers are bidding for water rights and learning to raise their first cannabis crops, as experienced medical cannabis producers ramp up production and add new retail showrooms.

New Mexico is among 18 states that have legalized pot for recreational use, with implications for cannabis tourism and conservative Texas, where legalization efforts have made little headway.

In Clovis, New Mexico, a high plains town of about 40,000 residents less than 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Texas, Earl Henson and two business partners have pooled resources to convert a former gun shop and shooting range into a cannabis store and companion growing room at a Main Street address.

“I can't explain how happy I am,” said Henson, a former real estate agent who says his affection for marijuana was a burden in the past. This week, he began harvesting the first crop for a cannabis store titled Earl and Tom's. “I think these cities that are near Texas, for the next two years it is going to change their economies.”

In the state capital of Santa Fe, marijuana is going on sale across the street from the city's newly built visitors center on a block lined with galleries, clothing boutiques and restaurants.

LeRoy Roybal, manager of Minerva Canna's downtown cannabis store, said he hopes the stigma of cannabis use quickly fades.

“I think we're liberating a lot of hearts and souls," he said. “It's going to be like getting a cup of joe at Starbucks."

Supportive lawmakers hope that broad legalizing of marijuana will stamp out black markets, boost employment and provide stable new sources of government income.

Consumers initially will rely heavily on supplies from 35 legacy marijuana businesses that took root over the past 15 years. Cannabis regulators have issued more than 230 new marijuana business licenses so far — to growers, retailers and manufacturing facilities for extracts and edibles.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday said that broad marijuana legalization responds to popular demands and is generating small business opportunities.

“This is what consumers want,” said Lujan Grisham, up for reelection in November. “We have the potential for 11,000 more workers, jobs in places where young people can work and stay, like Torrance County and Texico and Tucumcari and Raton.”

Local governments can’t ban cannabis businesses entirely, though they can restrict locations and hours of operation. Public consumption is prohibited under threat of a $50 fine for first-time infractions.

New business licenses for cannabis cafes or lounges haven’t been requested yet — leaving people to indulge in their homes or designated hotels, casinos and cigar shops.

In southern New Mexico, Mayor Javier Perea of Sunland Park says marijuana retailers can set up anywhere across the small city flanked by the Rio Grande and fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico.

He said about 30 marijuana business have sought authorization in the city of just 17,000 residents, banking on tourism from nearby El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico.

Perea hopes the industry creates economic opportunity and tax income to bolster city services. Local governments will receive a minority share of the state's 12% excise tax on recreational marijuana sales, along with a share of additional sales taxes. Medical cannabis remains tax-free.

“The one thing that we are going to struggle with is we are going to run out of buildings" for new businesses, he said.

Legal experts warn that people who purchase cannabis in New Mexico and chose to return home to other states could risk criminal penalties, arrest and incarceration — most notably in Texas.

Paul Armento, deputy director of the drug policy group NORML, said Texas is among the leading states for marijuana-possession arrests, and that possession of marijuana concentrates, which are legal in New Mexico, is punishable in Texas by up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Marijuana also remains illegal under federal law to possess, use or sell — a standard that applies across vast tracks of federal land and Indian Country in New Mexico.

New Mexico’s cannabis industry, still reliant on cash to avoid running afoul of federal law, is gaining access to banking services through an alternative certification system for credit unions and banks supported by state attorneys general.

The state also plans to underwrite $5 million in low-interest loans to small cannabis businesses that can't access traditional credit.

Lawmakers in New Mexico have sought to reverse harm inflicted by marijuana criminalization on minority communities and poor households by automatically dismissing or erasing past cannabis convictions, encouraging social and economic diversity in employment and reducing financial barriers for startup businesses.

The state's micro-business license to cultivate up to 200 plants for a flat $1,000 fee is attracting first-time commercial growers such as recently retired U.S. Marine Kyle Masterson and wife Ivy, a Hispanic Army veteran with business consulting experience. They are raising three children and making a mid-life career shift into cannabis.

The Mastersons, residents of suburban Rio Rancho, searched more remote areas for an affordable building to cultivate high-grade marijuana under lights, settling on a vacant former movie theater in tiny Cuba, New Mexico, at the base of the Jemez Mountains.

“It felt right, it felt good and out of a vision of what we could do,” said Kyle, who served in four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. “We're used to working out of austere environments without much direction and doing our best.”

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture, AP Business - Financial Services
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
New Mexico launches cannabis sales, within Texans' reach
New Mexico is bringing sales of recreational marijuana to the doorstep of Texas as the movement toward broad legalization sweeps across more of the American West
2:01AM ( 8 minutes ago )
$14M jury award for protesters could resonate around US
A federal jury’s $14 million award to Denver protesters injured during 2020 demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd could resonate nationwide as courts weigh more than two dozen similar lawsuits
1:57AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Ukraine top of agenda as China, EU prepare to meet at summit
The European Union will seek China’s assurances that it won’t assist Russia in circumventing economic sanctions leveled over the invasion of Ukraine at an annual summit Friday
1:46AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Russians leave Chernobyl; Ukraine braces for renewed attacks
Russian troops have left the heavily contaminated Chernobyl nuclear site
12:05AM ( 2 hours ago )
Another solid month of US hiring expected despite obstacles
Defying a pandemic and supply chain disruptions, the U.S. economy has cranked out more than 400,000 jobs every month for nearly a year — a blazing winning streak in wildly uncertain times
12:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
Labor groups close in on Amazon in two tight union elections
Labor organizers always knew it would be tough to convince Amazon workers to unionize
12:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
Closing arguments next in Michigan Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot
Jurors will hear closing arguments Friday in the trial of four men accused of a brazen conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
11:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
Caseworkers: Texas order on trans kids handled differently
Some child welfare workers in Texas say they’re quitting over a new directive that allows abuse investigations into parents of transgender kids
11:48PM ( 2 hours ago )
Live updates | Australia sending armored vehicles to Ukraine
Australia’s prime minister says his country will be sending armored Bushmaster vehicles to Ukraine
11:08PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Xavier rallies past Texas A&M for 1st NIT title since 1958
Jack Nunge made the go-ahead basket with 3.1 seconds left and Xavier won its first NIT championship in 64 years, rallying for a 73-72 victory over Texas A&M at Madison Square Garden
12:11AM ( 1 hour ago )
South Korea eases distancing amid slowing omicron spread
South Korea will ease some of its pandemic restrictions starting next week as officials express cautious hope the worst of its omicron outbreak has passed
11:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
Asian shares slip as Japan 'tankan' shows weaker outlook
Asian shares have mostly fallen as a resurgence of Russian attacks dashed hopes for any quick end to the war in Ukraine
11:47PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
House passes $35-a-month insulin cap as Dems seek wider bill
The House has passed a bill capping the monthly cost of insulin at $35 for insured patients
5:53PM ( 8 hours ago )
Stocks end lower, ending market's worst quarter in 2 years
A late slump left stocks decisively lower on Wall Street Thursday, wrapping up the worst quarter for the market since the pandemic broke out two years ago
5:04PM ( 9 hours ago )
CA reparations plan advances broader movement, advocates say
California took a big step this week toward becoming the first U.S. state to make some form of restitution a reality by tackling the divisive issue of which Black residents should be eligible to receive reparations for the atrocity and injustices of slavery and racism
4:45PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
US taps $420M to boost water supplies hit by climate change
Federal officials are funneling more money to rural water projects in several states as the Biden administration looks to put a dent in growing infrastructure needs amid drought and climate change
6:53PM ( 7 hours ago )
Kremlin demands rubles for gas, EU leaders push back
Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted Thursday that the country’s natural gas must be paid for with rubles, a demand apparently intended to help bolster the Russian currency but one that European leaders say they will not comply with because it violates the terms of contracts and sanctions
6:18PM ( 7 hours ago )
Live updates | Cleric: Russia could crush minority faiths
The top-ranking Ukrainian Catholic cleric in the United States is warning that religious minorities stand to be “crushed” if Russia gains control of Ukraine
6:17PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Live updates: Italy urges Europe to use all farming land
Italy’s leader is urging Europe to “cultivate all available land” as a partial remedy to reductions in agricultural imports, especially of Russian grain, due to the war in Ukraine
9:52AM ( 16 hours ago )
Ukraine's other fight: Growing food for itself and the world
A second front line in Russia's war runs through the farmland of western Ukraine far from the fighting
2:26AM ( 2 days ago )
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk dies from illness at 62
The Ottawa Senators say owner Eugene Melnyk has died from an illness at age 62
11:31PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Business - Agriculture
Long-term mortgage rates rise again; 30-year breaches 4.5%
Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose again this week as the key 30-year loan rate breached 4.5% and attained its highest level since the end of 2018
11:54AM ( 14 hours ago )
More Americans apply for jobless benefits; layoffs still low
More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but layoffs remain at historic lows
8:41AM ( 17 hours ago )
Fed's rate hikes threaten its goal of narrowing racial gaps
America’s hiring boom of the past year has narrowed racial disparities in unemployment
3:00AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Business - Financial Services
$14M jury award for protesters could resonate around US
A federal jury’s $14 million award to Denver protesters injured during 2020 demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd could resonate nationwide as courts weigh more than two dozen similar lawsuits
1:57AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Ukraine top of agenda as China, EU prepare to meet at summit
The European Union will seek China’s assurances that it won’t assist Russia in circumventing economic sanctions leveled over the invasion of Ukraine at an annual summit Friday
1:46AM ( 24 minutes ago )
Osaka rallies, tops Bencic to make Miami Open women's final
Naomi Osaka has reached a championship match for the first time since the 2021 Australian Open
1:30AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Xavier edges Texas A&M 73-72 for 1st NIT title since 1958
Jack Nunge made the go-ahead basket with 3.1 seconds left and Xavier won its first NIT championship in 64 years, rallying for a 73-72 victory over Texas A&M at Madison Square Garden
1:16AM ( 54 minutes ago )
DeRozan scores 50, Bulls rally past Clippers 135-130 in OT
DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 50 points and the Chicago Bulls rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 135-130 in overtime
12:33AM ( 1 hour ago )