New Mexico is just the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana joining 17 other states to do the same, and the kickoff date is this Friday, April 1, 2022.

According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Friday's date begins a new era for cannabis opportunities and tourism along the state line of New Mexico and Texas.

Beginning at midnight on April 1, all adults age 21 and up will be allowed to buy up to 2 ounces, or 57 grams, of marijuana at any retail outlet anywhere in New Mexico.

This is happening 15 years after New Mexico legalized medical marijuana for patients suffering from painful medical symptoms such as cancer and arthritis.

The goal, according to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and allied lawmakers, is to eliminate black markets, give more employment opportunities, and provide a stable source of government income.

Challenges are expected since retailers will have to stock shelves and growers will have to ramp up production to meet the demands expected from here in Texas where marijuana is still illegal.

New Mexico has already licensed over 500 establishments including farms, greenhouses, manufacturing facilities, and retail stores to begin selling edibles and extracts.

Even a new office has been created called the Cannabis Control Office to make sure the products are free of contaminants and to verify the drug potency that is printed on the labels.

One of the first companies to already start providing is Hobbs-based Bryan's Green Care which started in 2015 with CBD sales, now the company is planning to stock its stores in Hobbs, Ruidoso, Roswell, and their newest location is soon to open in Santa Teresa just a few miles from El Paso and the U.S. Border with Mexico.

New Mexico will assess a 12% tax on the sale of marijuana that will eventually increase to 18%. Medical marijuana will continue to be tax-free for patients with qualifying medical conditions.

That means an annual tax income from marijuana sales to surpass $45 million a year within three years.

Consumption will be allowed in designated areas such as hotel rooms, casinos, cigar bars, and tobacco stores with other public places treating marijuana consumption the same as alcohol or cigarettes.

Hopefully, Texas decides to be smart like New Mexico and legalize marijuana so our state can see big income from taxes too on a substance that as far as I am concerned is no different from alcohol.

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