The New Mexico Cannabis Control Division (CCD) recently announced that more than 1,500 prospective business owners have thrown their hats in the ring for an adult-use business license. The vast majority reportedly seek a microbusiness license, a cultivation tier that caps the number of plants at 200. 

It’s an early sign of a business boom in New Mexico, which has no plans to limit the number of licenses that will be issued in this market. Similar to Oklahoma’s sprawling medical cannabis market, New Mexico regulators are taking a free-market approach to the licensing process.

“I don’t know that we could have anticipated what the demand was going to be other than knowing there really seems to be a great excitement across the state,” John Blair, deputy superintendent for the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department, told KRQE in a fairly expansive feature on the state of the industry in New Mexico right now. “If a million New Mexicans want to get a license, we would license a million people.”

Approval or rejection is meant to occur within 90 days of a submitted application.

Sales are expected to begin by April 1, giving the market a tight timeline right off the bat. And yet: Licensing is not yet on the table for retailers, transporters or product manufacturers; those rules need to be finalized by Jan. 1, according to the state law.

Aside from the short on-ramp ahead of adult-use sales, entrepreneurs are attuned to the high level of competition that is expected in this market. Applicant A.J. Sullins told the news station that his home state will likely follow the trends seen in other markets, where larger players spend freely to acquire small businesses and expand their footprint. “There’s going to be quite a few people who have received licensure and their costs are outweighing their revenue because they didn’t plan for a low-cost production. And they’re going to start to get consolidated or washed out within a three-year period,” he said.

According to the regulations drafted for the adult-use market, the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department and the CCD will assess the industry every September, ensuring that supply and demand are in alignment and the adult-use and medical markets are not overshadowing each other.