New Mexico Legalization Could Disrupt Colorado’s Cannabis Economy

As New Mexico prepares for its adult-use cannabis program, experts predict it could disrupt parts of the Colorado cannabis industry that benefited from New Mexico residents who came to purchase regulated cannabis products.

Full story after the jump.

New Mexico’s adoption of adult-use cannabis is expected to disrupt the Southern Colorado cannabis economy, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The report highlights Trinidad, Colorado as a “boom and bust” town that saw an exodus of professional workers in the early 2000s after the local coal and natural gas industries closed down. But Trinidad, located 15 miles from the New Mexico border, saw an economic resurgence after Colorado legalized cannabis, with eager investors from Denver and beyond filling the town’s vacant buildings with cannabis-related businesses.

“We’ve had a bunch of people migrate here from Denver … and bring a whole new culture and a whole new age group to Trinidad,” Kim Schultz, co-owner of Trinidad’s Higher Calling U, told the Journal.

Today, Trinidad — a mountain town with only 9,000 residents — has nearly 30 dispensaries, the Journal reports, and they are heavily frequented by New Mexico residents who have crossed the border to purchase regulated cannabis products.

“We are concerned,” said Dustin Sisneros, a worker at a dispensary in Antonito, Colorado, who acknowledged that roughly 60 percent of the dispensary’s customers travel from New Mexico.

Ironically, as New Mexico moves into a regulated cannabis marketplace, some entrepreneurs are looking to mimic the success of Colorado border towns by appealing to out-of-staters who are still living in prohibition states like Texas and Oklahoma.

“Things are going as planned,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO of the New Mexico licensee Ultra Health. Rodriguez estimates that Texans will eventually make up about 40 percent of New Mexico’s adult-use cannabis sales.

“It’s more than a hope – we fully intend to impact the need for New Mexico residents to cross into Colorado,” he said.

Towns on the Texas and Oklahoma borders like Clayton, New Mexico have already started looking at re-zoning options to accommodate the expected cannabis boom, according to the report.

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