ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Marijuana Buyers From Texas Fuel a ‘Little Amsterdam’ in New Mexico
Sunland Park, along the Rio Grande, has joined the ranks of U.S. cities transformed by state cannabis laws. But the good times may not last forever.
WHY WE’RE HERE
We’re exploring how America defines itself one place at a time. A New Mexico bedroom community has become a marijuana boomtown thanks to cannabis buyers from Texas.
By J. David Goodman
Photographs by Erin Schaff
Reporting from Sunland Park, N.M., and El Paso, Texas
Jan. 7, 2024
In a desert valley along the Rio Grande in New Mexico, the city of Sunland Park has generally offered few amenities for its roughly 17,000 residents. No large grocery store. Few shops. Little to offer those uninterested in the racetrack casino or a hike to the gigantic cross of Cristo Del Rey that looms from a nearby mountaintop.
But for Texans who live in El Paso, just over the state line, Sunland Park has lately become a regular destination. The reason: marijuana.
Cars with Texas plates flock regularly to the many cannabis dispensaries — one with a drive-through, another offering discounts on “Texas Tuesday” — that have sprung up since New Mexico began legal recreational sales in 2022.
In Texas, recreational marijuana is still illegal.
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