Is Cannabis Legal in New Mexico?
It was no April Fools’ Day joke when New Mexico’s legal cannabis market opened on April 1, 2022, just ahead of 4/20, one of the industry’s biggest retail days in the calendar year. The 12th state to legalize medical cannabis and the 18th to legalize recreational sales, New Mexico is part of a swell of Southwestern states ending prohibition to varying extents, including Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. And so far, legalization is a move that’s really paid off—the state made $4.5 million just in its opening weekend.
In addition to legalizing medical and recreational cannabis, New Mexico has also legalized home cultivation of up to 12 plants. Senate Bill 2, separate from the House Bill that legislated adult-use sales, addresses the expungement of past cannabis convictions. Hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans are now eligible for their sentences to be dismissed and/or records cleared.
Is it Legal to Market Cannabis in New Mexico?
In short, yes. But as in other legal states, there are cannabis advertising rules on how and where brands can reach customers. New Mexico’s HB 2 Cannabis Regulation Act, signed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in April of 2021, specifically stipulated that New Mexico’s regulators would create limitations on advertising in accordance with industry standards.
As in other legal states, New Mexico cannabis brands cannot target anyone underage, such as with the use of cartoon imagery, nor can they advertise on FCC-regulated networks including television, the radio, or web browser ads. Also off-limits are any public advertising spaces that might be viewed by minors, such as billboards, newspapers or on public transportation.
How to Legally Market Cannabis Brands in New Mexico
Cannabis companies may have a long list of off-limits advertising channels, but they are free to apply marketing strategies to subscription-based adults-only media channels with a verified 70% majority of of-age users such as Massroots or the Bleacher Report. Cannabis brands are also free to make use of their owned media and content marketing channels such as blogs, websites, white papers and newsletters or opt-in programs like text message lists.
Regulators also set clear guidelines for where advertisers can display their campaigns, and what marketing collateral should include in order to stay compliant. A piece of legislation known as N.M. Code R. § 22.214.171.124 states that “any advertising or marketing materials created for viewing by the public shall include the statement ‘Please Consume Responsibly’ in a conspicuous manner on the face of the advertisement.”
According to the same piece of legislation, advertisements should also clearly warn consumers that cannabis products are only for adults over the age of 21, and should be kept out of reach of children; that cannabis products are not approved or evaluated by the FDA; that one should not drive or operate machinery while using cannabis products; and that there may be adverse long-term health effects from cannabis, particularly for women who are pregnant or currently breastfeeding.
Dispensary Marketing in New Mexico
The New Mexico market may be one of the newest in the United States, but the state opened its cannabis market with 118 medical and adult-use dispensaries ready to serve customers. That’s considerably more competition than other newly legal states have seen on their first day of operation. Other Southwestern states like Nevada and Arizona each supported less than a hundred dispensaries waiting for the green light when their markets opened. Dispensary marketing in the Land of Enchantment is no doubt already heating up along with the spring weather.
Dispensaries and cannabis producers can also take advantage of event marketing throughout the year. When New Mexico dispensaries began selling to customers in April, dispensary marketing in the Land of Enchantment immediately began to heat up right along with the spring weather, and it’s growing hotter every month.
Cannabis Brand Marketing in New Mexico
How are New Mexican cannabis brands distinguishing themselves in a newly legal market? As you might expect from a state as gorgeous as the Land of Enchantment, cannabis marketing in New Mexico tends to leverage design elements that refer to the unique colors, shapes and symbols of this distinctive corner of the Southwest.
Everest Cannabis Company, for example, features web design inspired by topographic maps and New Mexico’s signature turquoise and cobalt hues. Sandia Cannabis’ logo features stylized mountains that reference Indigenous motifs. The High Desert Relief dispensary even incorporated into its logo the iconic Zia, which is the Land of Enchantment’s official state symbol and which originated from the indigenous Zia Pueblo. So did New Mexico Alternative Care, which blends the Zia with the green cross typically associated with medical cannabis, as well as the Rod of Asclepius, which is frequently used as a symbol of medicine.
Top 10 Cannabis Brands in New Mexico
From Santa Fe to Las Cruces, from Albuquerque to Taos, from Farmington to Carlsbad, there’s no shortage of cannabis brands and dispensaries in New Mexico, even if the market is brand new.
|Keyway Marketplace||Santa Fe, Albuquerque|
|Minerva Canna||Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Los Lunas, Las Vegas|
|Oso Cannabis Company||Santa Fe, Ruidoso, Hobbs, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Roswell, Portales, Las Cruces, Pojoaque, Anthony, Clovis, Taos|
|Pecos Valley Production||Albuquerque, Roswell, Carlsbad, Ruidoso, Sunland Park, Las Cruces, Portales, Clovis, Hobbs, Tularosa, Edgewood, Alamogordo|
|R. Greenleaf Organics||Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Roswell, Las Cruces, Las Vegas,|
|Sacred Garden||Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Ruidoso|
|Southwest Cannabis||Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Española and Taos|
|Ultra Health||Alamogordo, Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Clayton, Clovis, Deming, Española, Farmington, Gallup Hobbs, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Los Lunas, Rio Rancho, Roswell, Santa Fe, Silver City, and Sunland Park|
|Verdes Foundation||Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho|