As New Mexico reals from Coronavirus infections and a state economy about to collapse, our elected officials need to look to our northern neighbor as a model to follow now more than ever. 

A combination of failed democratic leadership coupled with media interference and a national call to hide from and fear the virus has created a communal mindset of failure and loss.

Instead of implementing more unconstitutional restrictions in the name of public safety, New Mexico needs to quickly find a different approach or become the worst, most unlivable State in the Union.

The first thing New Mexico needs to immediately do is change its defeatist mindset regarding Coronavirus.  Instead of thinking I am going to get real sick and die from Coronavirus, I need to think if coronavirus attacks me, I will crush it and stomp it out of existence.  Victory is not possible if I have already accepted defeat.

As different pillars of the economy break off and shatter and New Mexico descends into a freefall of catastrophic proportions, State leaders must stop working on damage control.  Wasting valuable energy and resources on promoting failure reveals a diseased and incapable government that will fail its people.  

New Mexico leadership must have vision beyond the Coronavirus and generate momentum toward financial success.  One shining example of self improvement is literally right next door.  Colorado and its progressive leadership in the legalization of marijuana has created, implemented and matured an industry that is currently generating over $200 million per month for its people and over $40 million dollars a month for the state.

In just under 6 years Colorado has launched the most successful new industry that America has seen in decades.  On January 1, 2014 Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, opening with 30 retail outlets.  By December of that same year there were 300 stores with revenues totalling 35 million per month. In just 3 and a half years Colorado total state revenue from legalization marked $500 million dollars.  Two years after that by June 2019 The State of Colorado had earned 1 billion dollars in total state revenue in just over 5 years.

The financial success doesn’t stop.  Colorado’s marijuana market is starting to plateau and mature.  2019 saw a total cannabis revenue of $1.75 billion dollars for the industry with Colorado earning 250 million dollars in taxes.  Now with post pandemic consumption up by almost double Colorado is currently experiencing monthly revenues of over 200 million dollars for the industry and 40 million dollars for the State.  If the cannabis industry continues to see the same amount of volume, that could produce annual industry totals of 2.4 billion dollars, with the State earning upwards of $400 million dollars per year.

Colorado’s success continues beyond the financials.  An area of success that is critical but often overlooked is the creation of a powerful mindset.  By allowing for a new industry to grow and flourish in a local economy, the state begins to attract exceptional minds and spirit of positive thinking and entrepreneurship.   As positive energy attracts positive energy an unstoppable momentum is quickly built that infiltrates all levels of society and culture.  By implementing a new powerful industry into the economy a type of renaissance is born and society enters an era of economic and artistic growth.

Just as Colorado has laid a framework from which to follow, other States that have followed suit have given insight into what to avoid.  Washington, the second State to legalize marijuana, taxes the cannabis industry an excessive 37%.  Taxes are collected from both the grower as well as the consumer.  Upon transfer of product from the field into the retail outlet, growers are taxed 37% of their revenue.  Then once in the stores, the cannabis is again taxed.  The government makes the consumers pay a 37% tax at sale.

Although excessive taxation generates a ton of money for the State, it also fuels a very successful illicit market. Why spend $40 on some weed that you can still buy from your drug dealer for $30, and keep corrupt politicians out of the equation? I’m no human calculator, but it is starting to add up.  Needless to say Washington is struggling with growing the industry and the industry is underperforming.

Oregon, opening up in 2015 passed out unlimited permits to potential retailers, dropping the price of cannabis too quickly and creating a vast oversupply of product.  The oversupply is sold to the illicit market within the state and beyond.

California, with strict licensing requirements at both the state and county level has created a space where 75% of cities and counties do not allow for retailers.  This unnecessary stringent policy has created an underperforming legal market with an over performing illicit market. 

Key take aways: Because of multiple factors some government regulation and quality management is required to roll out a legalized cannabis industry.  The most successful State with the longest history is Colorado.  New Mexico should model its legalization program closely after Colorado’s

Furthermore New Mexico is positioned perfectly in the historical timeline of recreational legalization.  With a successful limited medical marijuana program, the State has the required infrastructure to launch into a full retail venture.  Fairness and the ability to imagine New Mexico successfully growing its economy are the requirements needed from government.  

The time for living closed off, shut down, and in fear has come to an end.  Today is a new day. I am grateful for my health and wellness and unlimited potential.  Let this day be about action and focusing energy in a positive direction transforming failure into success

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