The Land of Enchantment established its Medical Cannabis Program in 2007, and the state legislature approved a bill that legalized recreational cannabis in 2021. The latter goes into effect in 2022.

Some observers estimate that Colorado shops sell $200 million of cannabis to New Mexico residents annually. Until the first legal recreational sales in 2022, Trinidad and other communities near the New Mexico-Colorado state line, will continue to benefit, but they should brace for a crash: With a population of about 8,000, Trinidad is home to 25 cannabis dispensaries that rang up $71 million in sales in 2020 — or almost $9,000 per resident for the year.

The New Mexico cannabis market

Total medical cannabis sales in New Mexico in 2020: $203 million, up from $129 million in 2019 and $106 million in 2018

According to the New Mexico Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Division, the state had 117,517 active medical cannabis patients as of May 2021. That’s up from 67,574 in 2018 and 80,257 in 2019.

Active personal production licenses (PPLs): 7,381

Active licensed cannabis manufacturers: 16

Average price for a gram of flower in Q4 2020: $9.25 (down from $10.43 in Q1 2019)

A 2020 study commissioned by Verilife, a company that operates cannabis dispensaries in six states, pegged New Mexico at 5.2 dispensaries per 100,000 people, seventh-most in the U.S. That’s a higher number than California (1.6 shops per 100,000 residents) but notably lower than Colorado (14.1) — or the top three: Montana (15.1), Oklahoma (15.6), and Oregon (16.5).

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill legalizing recreational cannabis in April 2021, with the first licensed sales slated for April 2022. Economists have forecast sales to hit $300 million a year, creating 11,000 jobs in the process.

Amount Bright Green Corp. is investing in a state-of-the-art cultivation and research facility in Grants, New Mexico: $300 million

Tax revenues

New Mexico’s 2018 state tax revenue from medical cannabis: $9 million

2019: $10.3 million

2020 (est.): $17.2 million, up 57 percent from 2019

As of April 2022, a new state excise tax of 12 percent on recreational cannabis sales will not apply to medical cannabis for registered patients. This excise tax will increase gradually to 18 percent in 2030. Economists have forecast recreational cannabis will generate $50 million in annual tax revenue for New Mexico.


The New Mexico Hemp Program launched in 2019. That year, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture issued 408 licenses for hemp cultivation, including 276 licenses to grow on 7,540 acres outdoors and 132 licenses for indoor grows that totaled 8.3 million square feet.

By 2020, the mania cooled, and the state issued 276 licenses. Then the bottom dropped out in 2021: The Hemp Industry Association reports The New Mexico Department of Agriculture has issued just 106 hemp licenses this year.

Eric Peterson is editor of CompanyWeek and the Cannabis Manufacturing Report. Email him at