An economist told the New Mexico Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee that legal recreational marijuana would generate about $412 million its first year. It was also speculated that the customer base, in New Mexico and Texas alone, would be at least 250,000 people. This doesn’t include the quarter-million customers expected to cross state lines for leisure vacations.
Kelly O’Donnell calculated the data as commissioned by Ultra Health, according to Alamogordo Daily News. Portions of the data collected came from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. In New Mexico specifically, the report estimates that there would be 138,000 in-state customers. From neighboring Texas, an additional 119,000 customers would be expected.
O’Donnell said, “Unlike Colorado, we have a big border with Texas. We have almost as many potential users of marijuana within a couple hundred miles of the New Mexico border on the Texas side as in all of New Mexico.”
The estimate also included how many new potential jobs would be created. O’Donnell estimates that there could be as many as 4,780 service-based jobs in a recreational marijuana market and as many 11,400 marketing/manufacturing jobs. Estimations regarding tax revenue projections were not given in the report.
Emily Kaltenbach, Drug Policy Alliance of New Mexico executive director, aided in the presentation of the report. She made points outlining the many benefits of marijuana legalization.
Some Senators weren’t convinced as Senator William E. Sharer asked, “You mentioned all the benefits, is there any downside to this?”
Given the data available, along with reports from other states with legal recreational marijuana, the report doesn’t show any potential for a downside to legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana.
Kaltenbach said, “When you actually build a legal and regulated system, you need to build in prevention and education efforts for young people.”
Kaltenbach closed her commentary by saying, “If we were to legalize here, it would be a couple of years, if that, before sales happen. And so, I think we will have a lot to learn in those couple of years. I do think that states are a laboratory success, in that we should move forward with something like this and there are other states that are paving the way in front of us.”