Location is key to capitalizing on cannabis markets throughout the U.S., and elected officials from one small city in New Mexico know it.

Sunland Park, a city of roughly 17,000 people in southern New Mexico, is nestled on the border with El Paso, Texas, to the east, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to the south. Those two cities provide a metro population of more than 2.5 million potential retail customers.

Specifically in Texas, only low-THC medical cannabis that’s capped at 1% is available to qualifying patients, while adult-use cannabis is not legal.

With New Mexico set to launch commercial sales of adult-use cannabis April 1, Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea said he plans to take full advantage of welcoming the city’s cross-border neighbors to the new retail market, NBC-affiliate KOB reported.

“That’s the market that we’re going to try to capitalize on with the marijuana industry coming in,” Perea said. “That has opened up an opportunity that didn’t exist before.” 

Referring to Sunland Park as a “bedroom community,” Perea said many of the city’s residents work and spend money in El Paso, but he thinks the retail script will flip with New Mexico’s forthcoming cannabis market, he told KOB. He expects a $7-million boost to nearly double the city’s current revenue.

That mindset is not out of this world.

In a similar situation, Ontario, Ore., a city of roughly 11,000 people in the eastern part of the state, grossed $91.7 million in adult-use cannabis sales in 2020: the first full year commercial sales were OK’d by local elected officials.

Those sales provided the city with approximately $3 million in revenue in part because of its proximity to more than 700,000 residents in the region whose major roadways link up in Ontario, including those living in next-door Idaho, where legal cannabis sales are not available.

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In total, eight dispensaries served the Ontario market in 2020.

In New Mexico, Sunland Park already has received 21 license applications—some approved, some pending—to sell or produce adult-use cannabis. Perea expects more to follow for a city that has just one grocery store, KOB reported.

While Texans will be able to legally purchase adult-use cannabis in New Mexico come April 1, it will be illegal for them to transport it back across state lines into Texas (or Mexico).