Adult-use cannabis sales are scheduled to launch April 1 in New Mexico, and that’s no joke. 

Albuquerque, the state’s largest city with more than a half a million people, has already approved 25 retail locations among 36 businesses that have submitted applications so far, according to the city’s Planning Department.

The department requires businesses seeking to operate within the city to first obtain a state-issued cannabis license. There are currently no fees involved with the online application process for retail locations to be approved by the city.

Applications for another five locations are under review, four are awaiting review and two have been denied. A map of those locations and names of businesses is available here.

So far, Urban Wellness has secured five locations in the city, while Canvas Organics Enterprises LLC, Enchanted Botanicals LLC and FCI of New Mexico have been approved for two locations apiece.

Albuquerque’s Integrated Development Ordinance provides that a cannabis retail establishment shall not be located within 300 feet of a school or child care facility, or within 60 feet of another cannabis retail establishment. However, state-licensed cannabis microbusinesses can be located within 600 feet of another retail business.

“Properly completed applications that comply with the city’s zoning regulations, separation requirements, and other applicable rules and ordinances outlined [on the city’s website] will be verified and approved on a first come-first served basis,” Planning Department officials stated on city’s website.

Albuquerque’s cannabis retail approval process comes as a result of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signing adult-use legislation, House Bill 2, into law on April 12, 2021, following two days of a special legislative session.

According to bill sponsor Rep. Javier Martinez, economic projections indicate that adult-use legalization will create more than 11,000 jobs and generate $28.6 million in tax revenue in the first year of implementing the program’s retail launch, which H.B. 2 aims to activate no later than April 1, 2022.

Since several provisions of the new law became effective on June 29, 2021, regulators and lawmakers have eyed certain changes to the program, such as an emergency rule that was enacted Jan. 13 to temporarily allow licensed producers to double their plant count to 20,000 mature plants in anticipation of launching adult-use sales.

On the other hand, an adult-use cannabis clean-up bill that would have increased production limits for licensed microbusinesses from 200 to 1,000 mature plants, as well as allow those microbusiness to wholesale products, died when the legislative session ended last month.

Specifically in Albuquerque, the city does not allow outdoor cannabis consumption areas without conditional use approval, and the city does not allow outdoor cannabis cultivation or outdoor cannabis-derived product manufacturing.

Albuquerque’s Environmental Health Department anticipates amending its ordinances in order to issue food-related permits consistent with the state law in regard to manufacturing and consuming edible cannabis products, according to the city’s website.

While the city does not charge a fee for its retail location approval process, the annual business registration fee is $35