Licensing Opportunities in New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Market
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If you live in the Land of Enchantment, it’s a very exciting time to be entering the state’s cannabis industry. After years of behind-the-scenes wrangling, adult-use cannabis in New Mexico has officially crossed the finish line. In June of 2021—after Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham convened a special legislative session—the state officially welcomed adult-use cannabis to its long-standing medical cannabis program.
While New Mexico’s adult-use law permitted possession and cultivation, the state’s Cannabis Control Division was granted a three-month delay in order to formulate the adult-use cannabis licensing requirements in New Mexico. But as of September 1, 2021, the state will begin processing license applications. Once those adult-use licenses are issued and cannabis training programs get underway, the state is tasked with beginning adult-use sales no later than April 1, 2022.
For those looking to enter the New Mexico cannabis industry, this means it’s Go Time. With some analysts predicting that the state-licensed cannabis industry is poised to generate some 11,000 new jobs and $300 million in annual sales, cannabis entrepreneurs are eyeing New Mexico as a large and untapped market. This means the competition is going to be fierce, with the state scrutinizing each and every application to weed out the underqualified and underprepared.
If you’re looking for a foot in the door, we’d like to help. We’re Bridge West, a team of seasoned cannabis industry veterans with decades of combined experience and a proven approach to cannabis business licensing. We offer our clients an unparalleled advantage in terms of start-up business planning, licensing and advisory services, and much, much more.
With that in mind, here’s an overview of the adult-use cannabis licensing requirements in New Mexico, along with some of the ways Bridge West can help you make your cannabis business dreams a reality.
Adult-Use Cannabis Licensing Requirements in New Mexico: The Regulatory Framework
New Mexico administers its cannabis program through the Cannabis Control Division. Though the state already offers a number of medical cannabis business licenses, we’ll restrict our focus to its adult-use-specific cannabis licensing requirements. The current list of New Mexico’s cannabis business license opportunities includes:
- New Mexico Adult-Use Producer License: This license permits the cultivation of cannabis plants. License-holders may transport unprocessed cannabis products to other licensed cannabis establishments and licensed testing facilities, as well as sell cannabis products wholesale.
- New Mexico Adult-Use Manufacturer License: This license permits the holder to process cannabis into edibles, oils, and other products; package cannabis products; have cannabis products tested by a testing facility; and purchase, acquire, sell, and transport wholesale cannabis products to other licensed establishments.
- New Mexico Adult-Use Retailer License: This license permits the holder to sell cannabis products to consumers, qualified patients, primary caregivers, and reciprocal participants in other states’ legal cannabis programs.
- New Mexico Adult-Use Cannabis Courier: This license permits the holder to transport cannabis products directly to consumers, qualified patients, primary caregivers, and reciprocal participants.
- New Mexico Cannabis Consumption Area: Regulated in a similar manner to a microbrewery, these are licensed areas where cannabis products (but not alcohol; that’s a separate license) may be consumed.
- New Mexico Adult-Use Cannabis Testing Laboratory: This license permits the holder to sample, collect, test, and transport cannabis products for the purpose of testing and assessment.
In addition, New Mexico will issue licenses to cannabis training and education programs, individual cannabis servers, as well as several types of vertically-integrated cannabis businesses.
Now that you know your licensing options, let’s turn our focus to a few of the key points you’ll need to address as you prepare to apply for a New Mexico cannabis license.
Cannabis Licensing Requirements in New Mexico: Social Equity and Vertical Integration
Like many other states intent on redressing the inequities of the War on Drugs, New Mexico is committed to fostering social equity through its legal cannabis program. This means, among other things, that while applicants may not have prior convictions “substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties” inherent in their positions, this does not necessarily include prior cannabis convictions. At present, disqualifying felony convictions include fraud, embezzlement, deceit, or ‘involving a minor’ in drug sales.
What’s more, New Mexico has also signalled an openness to vertical integration. At present, multiple licensees may occupy a single licensed premises, and the CCD may not place restrictions on the number of licensees occupying a single licensed premises, or on the number of locations of a single licensed cannabis business.
This means that for those businesses with the capacity to finance and launch multiple locations, New Mexico represents a market with special and currently untapped potential.
Cannabis Licensing Requirements in New Mexico: Business and Operations Plans
At present, New Mexico has not published details relating to the cannabis licensing application process. But drawing from our broad experience in multiple legal cannabis markets, we can assure you that a strong and clear-eyed cannabis business plan is one of the most important foundational tools for you and your stakeholders. And when it’s time for the CCD to review your application, your business plan will provide a singular opportunity for you to demonstrate your grasp of the New Mexico cannabis industry, your understanding of the legal and regulatory playing field, and the ways you plan for your business to positively impact the community you serve.
Over and above this, having a solid business plan is a major plus when it comes to your ability to attract investors, partners, financial institutions, and other key stakeholders and players.
Then there’s the topic of an operations plan. If your business plan is your strategic roadmap, an operations plan is its tactical counterpart. Possession of a thorough and well-researched operations plan signals to the license review board that you’re prepared for your facility to be in complete and ongoing compliance with the state’s security, diversion, public safety, and other requirements.
We encourage you to envision your operations plan as an “operator’s manual” for running a successful, compliant, and profitable cannabis business. Needless to say, Bridge West has a deep well of experience helping cannabis businesses draft, refine, and implement operations plans and other foundational documents.
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CONTACT HIGHER YIELDS CONSULTANTS
Higher Yields Consultants has decades of experience in the ever-changing, multifaceted cannabis industry. Whether you are an established business-owner or an entrepreneur eager to dive into the industry, we can help you navigate the ins-and-outs of marijuana licensing and production regulations. Fill out a contact form or call us at (844) HI-YIELD to schedule your free consultation.
Cannabis Licensing Requirements in New Mexico: In Conclusion
As a cannabis business consulting firm, we understand the various hoops and hurdles posed by local, state, and federal regulations and laws. Our experience working within current regulatory frameworks allows us to support both new entrants into the industry and established organizations looking to expand their operations into new markets.
If you’re interested in gaining entrance to the New Mexico cannabis industry, we can help. Bridge West can connect cannabis companies with financial and banking solutions and potential stakeholders, and help you chart a course for success in this exciting new landscape. We invite you to reach out anytime to schedule a consultation.