New Mexico shop argues it has found a legal loophole to ‘gift’ weed to clients


While Estrada insists the cannabis “sample” scheme is legit, the Cannabis Control Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department could not confirm it.

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Legal cannabis retail hasn’t yet taken effect in New Mexico, but that hasn’t stopped one shop in Las Cruces from supplying the state’s cannabis enthusiasts their green after figuring out how to skirt the rules.

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Local soon-to-be pot shop Speak Easy is “gifting” small bags of weed to clients who buy stickers or other apparel, according to ABC 7 News.

Adult-use cannabis became legal in New Mexico at the end of June, Santa Fe New Mexican reports, but licences to sell bud are not expected to be issued until April 2022.

This spring, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham formally enacted adult-use cannabis legalization in the state. “The legalization of adult-use cannabis paves the way for the creation of a new economic driver in our state with the promise of creating thousands of good paying jobs for years to come,” Gishahm said at the time.

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Speak Easy, however, appears undeterred by its lack of sales licence, having found what the owners believe is a legal loophole.

KLAQ reports that to receive a cannabis “sample” from the store, clients can purchase a sticker, the size of which corresponds with a specific amount of flower. For example, a sticker for US$15 ($18.75) will get buyers a 1.5 gram bag of cannabis, a US$50 ($62,50) sticker will score customers a three-gram “sample” of flower and a US$90 ($112.50) sticker will cover a seven-gram bag. Customers must be 21 or older and present valid identification to make a purchase.

Just don’t call it a dispensary. “We’re not a dispensary,” emphasizes Speak Easy co-owner Jason Estrada. “We’re a novelty and gift shop,” Estrada explains.

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Nonetheless, merchandise sales have been swift. Estrada says he estimates the shop has taken in tens of thousands in sales over June and July, and has paid out more than US$125,000 ($156,000) in payroll for its 20 employees, who make well above the average at about $20 ($25) an hour. The shop’s owners intend to add another 40 employees by the end of the summer.

But while Estrada insists the cannabis “sample” scheme is legit, the Cannabis Control Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department could not confirm it, noting the department “can’t make that determination.”

The staff of Speak Easy seem unfazed by the legal uncertainty, pointing to how the store has been embraced by the surrounding community. “The love and support from the community has been amazing and we are very grateful!” the shop posted on Facebook.

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