Recreational cannabis is coming to Madrid, although it could take a while to arrive.
The state Cannabis Control Division granted CannaSoul a retail license on Feb. 25, and Madrid Cannabis Inc. got its license on Wednesday.
But they may not be able to open their doors when recreational sales begin April 1 because both dispensaries have yet to receive approval from Santa Fe County, which is required before they can start operating.
The state division that oversees the burgeoning cannabis industry issued an emergency rule change to its license application requirements in January: Businesses are required to have obtained a business license from their local governments prior to state licensure, or agree to do so prior to starting operations.
“The rule change was made to streamline the application process and to help new cannabis businesses get up and running faster,” division spokeswoman Heather Brewer told SFR shortly after it went into effect.
Business owners must submit a site development plan to Santa Fe County before it’ll grant licenses.
CannaSoul CEO Cid Isbell submitted all required documentation on March 16, according to county spokeswoman Carmelina Hart.
Per county code, staff have 30 days to finish plan reviews.
Isbell is holding out hope that the county will issue his business license before the start of adult-use sales, in part so he can start recouping costs as soon as possible. The retail storefront is called CannaBliss.
“Setting up this business, I’ve been bleeding cash for like a year,” Isbell tells SFR. “Now it needs to actually generate money.”
Isbell has also applied for a production license from the state. He’s contemplating a co-op model, with the aim of helping local growers who either don’t have the space or expertise to get into the industry on their own.
Until he gets a production license, he plans to buy and sell products from other local companies.
After losing his job in information technology—an industry he’d been in for 30 years—during the pandemic, Isbell decided to pursue what he views as a “fascinating business.”
“I’m a person who believes in doing things that are integral to your passion and spirituality,” Isbell says. “Cannabis is one of those things I can really get behind because I believe in the medicinal and spiritual qualities of the plant.”
SFR was unable to reach the owners of Madrid Cannabis Inc., but Hart, the county spokeswoman, says they’ve yet to submit a site development plan.