ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After more than a year of recreational marijuana sales, New Mexico is rolling out its first campaign to educate people about responsible use.
The first batch of billboards is now going up around the state while TV, radio, print and digital advertisements will be running through the month of June. The media buy is worth $400,000.
The state Cannabis Control Division confirmed Wednesday that it started working on the campaign last year, but the contract for the work was finalized only recently. An Albuquerque-based marketing company won the contract following a competitive bidding process.
The “Yes & Know” campaign is built around the phrase “Yes — cannabis is legal. Know — the rules.”
“We recognize the need for education in this new cannabis industry. This campaign opens the conversation for responsible storage and safe cannabis consumption,” said Linda Trujillo, who heads the state Regulation and Licensing Department, which oversees the cannabis division.
New Mexico is among more than 20 states nationwide that have legalized marijuana for adults. Sales began in April 2022, after lawmakers passed legislation that had been championed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The state already had a medical marijuana program.
In the first year of recreational sales, New Mexico issued around 2,000 cannabis licenses — including licenses to more than 630 retailers and over 500 manufacturers.
Sales for the first year topped $300 million, with monthly sales marking their highest levels in March, April and May, according to data from the Cannabis Control Division.
The new campaign suggests that users start with low doses and go slow, saying cannabis effects everyone differently. It also tells people to keep cannabis away from kids and pets, to not store it in cookie jars or take it across state lines or drive impaired.
The state Transportation Department earlier this year held a summit to increase awareness of the risks associated with driving under the influence of cannabis and to look at evidence-based approaches for preventing impaired driving.
While police in New Mexico’s largest city have not noticed a significant increase in cannabis-related crashes or other crimes, Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said the department was working to get more officers trained to conduct such investigations.
Susan Montoya Bryan, The Associated Press