Legalizing recreational marijuana could help New Mexico’s hemp industry

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A few years ago, New Mexico farmers got the green light to grow hemp — a plant that is the same species as cannabis, it just doesn’t have enough THC to get you high.

The Salgado brothers launched New Mexico Hemp Co. in Belen, growing the plant for medicinal purposes.

"There’s obviously been a dip in the real economic development for hemp in our state and that’s definitely the case throughout the country," Leonard Salgado said. "The prices for hemp have certainly fluctuated downward."

Right now there are only 67 hemp licenses registered with the state. That’s a dramatic drop — in 2020, there were 277 licenses.

New Mexico legalizing recreational marijuana could pose an opportunity for the lackluster hemp industry.

"I do see that there will be those hemp farmers that will really take a serious look at what legalization could mean as far as cultivation is concerned," Salgado said. "There are certainly going to be those licenses available that are going to give that opportunity for small farmers throughout our state.:

Salgado said he’s already got his foot in the cannabis world as the vice president for business development for the medical marijuana dispensary, Pecos Valley Production.

"I would certainly caution anywho who wants to get in to make sure they do their research," he said.