Toker Tourism

Cruising around Taos, you might wonder if the skunk you smell is the black and white variety or one that’s decidedly greener.

By michael tashji 
Nathan Burton/Taos News
A pile of just-made pre-rolls sit in the production facility at Southwest Cannabis on Tuesday (March 22).

That’s because New Mexico legalized recreational adult-use cannabis in June 2021, and weed went on sale on April 1.

The Enchanted Circle now plays host to tokers from around the state, as well as visitors from farther afield. Adults can purchase up to two ounces at a time (the legal limit for personal possession). Southwest Cannabis and Taos Cannabis Cooperative were the first in the region to sell recreational marijuana, and new stores are cropping up every month. 

If you live in New Mexico, you can also grow your own — adults are allowed to grow six mature plants on their property, with a household cap of 12 plants. Grows typically take three months. 

Nathan Burton/Taos News
The AK47 strain of cannabis grows in greenhouse under carefully controlled conditions at Southwest Cannabis.

While it’s not legal to smoke weed in the street, adults can smoke in their home or at a cannabis consumption bar (think Amsterdam coffee shops).

There are two primary strains of cannabis, providing two very different kinds of intoxication. Cannabis sativa is an energizing high you feel in your head, and can often lead to inexplicable hyperactivity (like vacuuming your whole house). Cannabis indica is a relaxing high you feel in your body, providing the perfect chill for listening to Pink Floyd, Radiohead or Billie Eilish. Hybrids — a combination of the two strains — are also very popular among users.

Cannabis flowers (buds) can be smoked in a joint, bowl or bong, or vaped in a vaper. Cannabis can also be ingested in the form of an edible, like chocolates and gummies, or consumed as tinctures, which can be added to tea. Finally, cannabis can be applied topically in the form of a salve. 

Nathan Burton/Taos News
A greenhouse full of cannabis grows at Southwest Cannabis in Taos on Tuesday (March 22). From the plant a variety of products are made and sold, including the flower, edibles, pre-rolls, concentrates, tinctures, and topicals.

Common side effects include nausea, fatigue, anxiety, dry mouth and a brutal case of the munchies. Use caution when mixing cannabis with alcohol — they can compound each other’s effects and quickly spiral out of hand. Remember, it’s illegal to drive while under the influence of cannabis, so always use a designated driver or plan to drive many hours after you’ve consumed some.

New Mexico legalized medical marijuana in 2007, the twelfth state to do so. To stand up its new recreational cannabis industry, it looked to other states, like Colorado and New York, for guidance.  

Nathan Burton/Taos News
As growers, retailers and microbusinesses in Taos get ready for legal weed, many have said it may be several months before we see and feel the full impact of the industry.

The industry is expected to bring in $300 million in annual sales revenue, according to the state’s Cannabis Control Division, the regulatory body created to oversee legalization. The agency reported more than
$5 million of cannabis products were sold across the state over the opening weekend.
There are 18 states that have legalized recreational adult-use (21+) cannabis. Federally, weed is still considered a controlled substance, although the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. recently passed a law to decriminalize it.

Nathan Burton/Taos News
Customers wait in lines throughout the day Friday (April 1) at Southwest Cannabis and Taos Cannabis Coop on New MexicoÕs opening day of recreational cannabis sales.

In addition to legalizing cannabis, New Mexico expunged criminal records for those imprisoned for possession, and created a system for the incarcerated to have their sentences reduced. If you plan to travel out of state, don’t take your stash with you. It’s illegal to cross state lines with cannabis, even if weed is legal in the state you’re travelling to.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to enjoying recreational cannabis in and around Taos: you can smoke a bowl and hike the trails or lay out under the stars; eat gummies and see a musical performance;
hit a museum and marvel at fine art; or just stay at home and enjoy the company of family and friends. It’s all good — and legal. 

Nathan Burton/Taos News