The small city of Sunland Park, New Mexico, received $800,000 in taxes from marijuana businesses during the last fiscal year.
Sunland Park is currently home to 19 dispensaries, and operators have another 16 planned to open in the 17,000-resident border town, which is conveniently a 15-minute drive from El Paso, Texas, where cannabis in nearly every form is illegal. The city is home to Ultra Health, the highest selling dispensary in the state.
The vast majority of the open dispensaries are located on two streets: Sunland Drive and McNutt Road. The sudden influx of cannabis businesses during the past 18 months has unofficially changed the nickname of the city from “Gateway to the Land of Enchantment” to “Little Amsterdam.”
Sunland Park’s closest dispensary to the Texas border, Besos Dispensary, is a 15-minute walk from its front door to the Texas/New Mexico border.
Duke Rodriguez, the CEO of Ultra Health, told the Santa Fe New Mexican his Sunland Park dispensary was doing nearly $100,000 in sales per day at launch; 18 months later, he says, the store is still doing $50,000 a day despite the massive increase in competition.
The Santa Fe New Mexican also reported that El Paso police are very aware of the booming cannabis business just minutes away and warn that possession, in most cases, will lead to a felony charge.
“Generally, if you’re found in possession of marijuana, you’re arrested and taken to jail,” a spokesperson for the El Paso Police Department told the publication. “We do have a cite-and-release program, but there are specific parameters that you have to fall in, in order to qualify for that.”