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Recreational cannabis sales kick off with celebrations

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham launches recreational cannabis
Megan Kamerick
Trishelle Kirk, CEO of Everest Cannabis Co., shows Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham around a retail space in Albuquerque

Today, connoisseurs of cannabis and perhaps a few first-timers celebrated the first legal sales of recreational pot to over-21s in New Mexico.

In Albuquerque, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has long championed legalization, visited the Everest Cannabis Company dispensary.

"New Mexicans have access to recreational adult use cannabis in exactly the way they want," she said. "And it's a huge economic opportunity to the state. I'm feeling terrific."

Advocates hope the industry will generate tens of millions in tax revenue for the state and create thousands of jobs.

At the Fruit of the Earth dispensary in Santa Fe, one buyer, who didn't give his name because he's a teacher who prefers to keep some things private, said he'd been arrested for having small amounts of cannabis and was happy to think no one else would have to go through that.

"It's just ridiculous what the law has done to individuals over the past several decades around this," he said. "This substance, you know, that helps so many people."

New Mexico is the 18th state to legalize recreational cannabis.

People can now buy up to two ounces of cannabis, though they still can't smoke it in public, and police have urged people to consume responsibly, and particularly to avoid driving.

Alice Fordham joined the news team in 2022 after a career as an international correspondent, reporting for NPR from the Middle East and later Latin America and Europe. She also worked as a podcast producer for The Economist among other outlets, and tries to meld a love of sound and storytelling with solid reporting on the community. She grew up in the U.K. and has a small jar of Marmite in her kitchen for emergencies.
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