Monday, May 29, 2023

Cannabis Settles Into Corrales

More than $900,000 worth sold in the village


The New Mexico Cannabis Control Division announced this month that adult-use cannabis sales surpassed $300 million after one year of retail sales being legal, with two Corrales dispensaries contributing modestly to the total.


And while recreational sales exceeded sales for medical cannabis in the village, data shows that Corrales caters to a higher percentage of medical patients than the state average.

About 62% of the more than $488 million generated in New Mexico during the first year of legalization was for adult-use sales. The remaining 38%, more than $187 million in sales, were purchased by patients in the state’s medical cannabis program, which has been around since 2007. 


In Corrales, cannabis sales in the village were 53% recreational, 47% medical.

Dispensaries in Sandoval County, which makes up 7% of the state’s population, accounted for $26 million, 4.6% of the overall total, according to an analysis by the Sandoval Signpost.


But Sandoval County was more in line with state statistics with medical cannabis sales. The $12 million in sales generated from the county represents 6.5% of overall sales.


Cities, towns and villages

The county’s numbers were largely lifted by the city of Rio Rancho, which accounted for 71% of the county’s total sales. 


Rio Rancho, which has seven of the county’s 20 dispensaries, was one of a handful of municipalities in the state where medical sales exceeded recreational sales. The city was evenly split, with both rec and med sales eclipsing $9 million.


The two dispensaries in Placitas also recorded higher medical sales than recreational sales, with 60% of its total sales of $594,593 made by patients.

By contrast, 65% of the town of Bernalillo’s total cannabis sales were for recreational purposes. Its seven dispensaries accounted for more than $5.5 million in sales.


With just one dispensary serving communities in rural regions, recreational sales far outweighed medical sales in Cuba and Jemez Springs.


Cannabis in Corrales

Fawn Nolan, owner of Hemporium on Corrales Road, said business has been good since recreational sales became legal.


“We’ve welcomed the recreational customers but we also try to serve the needs of our medical patients that have been coming to us," said Nolan, who open the dispensary as a hemp and CBD store in 2019.


Hemporium is unique to the more than 600 other dispensaries in the state. They sell hemp clothing, artwork and antiques. The dispensary, nicknamed “A Quaint Joint,” is just that, a room among several that make up the store.

"We try to be a little bit of everything for everybody," she said.


Hemporium is one of several businesses Nolan operates and the only one specific to cannabis. 


By contrast, just up Corrales road is Southwest Organic Producers, or SWOP, one of the bigger cannabis operations in the state. It has eight retail stores across the state, including the Corrales store that will celebrate two years in business on May 24. 


SWOP is also one of the more than 300 cannabis producers in the state, including an indoor greenhouse in Corrales.


“I think we’ve established ourselves as being medically focused,” said Dranna Insausti, north region manager for SWOP. “We still very much like to cater to medical patients.”


Product education has always been a point of emphasis for SWOP, Insausti said.


“The best part of our Corrales store are the very caring and nurturing budtenders,” she said. “They remember and have relationships with the people that come in.”


Insausti said budtenders get training on strains and terpenes that works best for each customer, whether they are a patient or not.


Aside from the in-store customers, Insausti said another great thing about Corrales is they can provide curbside service.


“Some cities don’t allow that, so we can help the handicapped, and we’ve also been able to maintain curbside delivery,” she said.


Insausti said there was some pushback when the greenhouse went into operation in a residential neighborhood and when the dispensary first opened. But SWOP has settled in.


“The regulars appreciate us and a lot of people have put their trust in us, and that’s how we measure our success,” she said.


Corrales police say the legalization of recreational cannabis in New Mexico hasn’t caused any problems in the village.


"We have not had any kind of uptick (in crime), nor have we had any incidents at store faicilities," Det. Julie Rogers told the Comment.


However, the man convicted of murdering Spencer Komadina in 2021 worked for a cannabis grow operation. But police said that fact did not factor into the crime.


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