New Mexico’s legislature passed legalization last year and immediately went to work writing the rules, with a deadline for opening retail shops of April 1, 2022. I had been following NM’s efforts for several years, and was hoping they’d be able to beat that deadline, but so far they are on schedule.
I’m in Deming, NM right now, so it’s easy to watch what is going on. The NM law is a good one, having taken in a lot of the best practices already discovered by previous states. They have a mature medical marijuana program, and the rules are being written with the cooperation of the existing industry. Meanwhile, the existing MMJ firms are preparing for the opening, and look like they are ready to go right now if the state wants to speed things up.
New Mexico law allows for “microbusiness” licenses which go a long ways to encouraging the small (even tiny) producers at reasonable costs and minimal paperwork. This is done to build the state’s industry from the ground up without having to rely on outside interests, preventing the well-healed from coming in and wiping out the local people. This is the opposite of the California approach which ended up greatly favoring well-funded large companies from out of state.
Washington is looking at this issue and I hope they’ll consider using NM as a model. The details of WA’s law were best guesses as to how to do things, and the small growers, “craft” cannabis, weren’t given enough attention back then.
The media in NM is doing a thorough job of covering the industry well ahead of the opening, making sure that all it’s citizens know what is going on. They are working to dispel the myths and address the stigmas that have been created by the feds over the last 50 years by the war on drugs, or even the last 80 years.
One glitch, though. Last week the head of the agency charged with implementing the regulatory environment suddenly left his job. When this has happened in other states it’s a sign something seriously wrong (of a political nature) is afoot, and usually leads to delays and funny rules. The governor of NM is a committed supporter of the law and will see to it that things go smoothly. I hope.
New Mexico has a good law without making a lot of the mistakes other states have, it has an organized medical industry preparing to transition to fully adult use, and it will have the support of the citizenry when it opens up.