What New Mexico’s recreational marijuana bill means for Texans

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SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico (KTSM) — Recreational marijuana is close to being legal for all New Mexicans 21 and older. The bill was voted on by the New Mexico Senate and the next step is for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to sign the bill, which she has said previously she plans to do.  

The CEO and president of a cannabis dispensary in Sunland Park, N.M., told KTSM 9 News that the legalization of recreational marijuana in New Mexico will have a big effect on his business.  

“We’re going to have legalization in New Mexico, it’s certainly going to have an impact on the El Paso area,” said Duke Rodriguez, CEO and president of Ultra Health. “I think a lot of Texas will now have the right to purchase and consume cannabis in New Mexico.” 

According to Rodriguez, Ultra Health is New Mexico’s largest cannabis company, with 25 locations throughout the state. Rodriguez said he’s anticipating an increase in the amount of cannabis purchased and plans to increase the production of growing and processing cannabis.  

“Something that was previously elicit, or as people call the black market, will now be out in the public and be acquired no different than what you can do now in Colorado or Arizona, so soon it will be available to Texans via New Mexico,” said Rodriguez. 

If Lujan Grisham signs the bill, recreational marijuana will be available by April 2022. Adults aged 21 and older will be able to purchase up to 2 ounces of marijuana at a time in New Mexico.  

Rodriguez said he could see a growth in dispensaries along the Texas-New Mexico border. 

“I think over the next few months, you’re going to see a huge expansion in the production of cannabis first,” said Rodriguez.

KTSM 9 News spoke with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department about what repercussions someone could face if they purchase marijuana in New Mexico and bring it to Texas. Ryan Urrutia, commander of the patrol division for the El Paso County Sheriffs’ office, explained that the repercussions of being caught depend on the type of marijuana and how much.

“Edibles or the vape cartridges that people are using now, those are actually a felony possession, so you can actually be charged with a felony if you’re caught in possession of THC in that form,” said Urrutia. “If you’re caught with the traditional marijuana, which is the green leafy marijuana, that is still a misdemeanor all the way up to a felony, depending on the amount.”

Urrutia said that 2 ounces or less of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor in the State of Texas, adding that New Mexico residents caught with marijuana in Texas will face the same misdemeanor or felony charges, even if they bought it legally in New Mexico.

“Even though you live in New Mexico once you bring it into Texas, any possession no matter what other state you live in or brought it from, it’s still illegal to possess,” Urrutia said.

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