Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series focusing on how the economy of Las Vegas and San Miguel will be affected by the legalized sale of marijuana on April 1.
Joseph Jaramillo has no doubts that his Las Vegas businesses will benefit from the state’s legalization of the sale of recreational marijuana starting April 1.
“A lot of older generations will be freer (to buy marijuana) and it will be more acceptable,” said Jaramillo, general manager of Smoke n Body 2.0 at 1213 National Ave. and Smoke n Body Main at 1822 7th St.
Stores carry cannabidiol, or CBD, products to treat things like insomnia and inflammation and cancer relief in addition to pipes and bongs.
A local professor and city leaders also expect the Las Vegas and San Miguel County economy to benefit.
“I would expect more cannabis stores to open,” said Dr. Ali Arshad, who teaches economics and finance at the Highland University of New Mexico. “The city will get a share of the gross revenue tax and collect its own tax on the sale of cannabis. “
Arshad, who holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Connecticut, said the state would levy a tax.
“The legislation they have passed at state level will allow them to collect a 12% excise tax, which is expected to rise to 18% in 2025,” he said. “The state always shares the revenues. “
“I watched what happened in Colorado and California,” Arshad continued. “These small towns have actually benefited a lot. The most important reason is that it is a source of income that did not exist before.
District 1 County Commissioner Chairman Harold Garcia, who represents West Las Vegas, Camp Luna, Montezuma and the Gallinas Canyon, believes that legalization could have a positive effect on the economy. He is concerned, however, about the need for water to grow marijuana.
“We’ve had so much drought over the past few years,” Garcia said. “It becomes part of the norm. It is difficult to predict if it will get better.
He is also concerned about young people who indulge.
“I don’t want kids to think it’s free for them to start smoking,” Garcia said. ” That worries me. You know, if the kids want to do it, they will.
Jaramillo believes this will take marijuana off the black market, making it harder for young people to obtain.
“It’s going to throw everything into the regulatory system,” he said. “You will have to show some ID to get it, like alcohol. I think it will escape the hands of children.
City Mayor Louie Trujillo welcomes new businesses to the city.
“This is a good opportunity for our municipality to take advantage of tax money,” said Trujillo. “I think that’s up to 6-7% of recreational cannabis sales. I look forward to the windfall so that we can put it back in the police and fire departments and maybe in the arts. “