Joseph Padilla is eager to launch his recreational cannabis store NM Altitude because his goals stretch beyond taking advantage of the economic boon the pot industry will be to New Mexico.

Padilla, the co-owner of NM Altitude, said he especially wants to provide the service to those struggling with anxiety and sleep issues — all-too-common things people have dealt with during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A cannabis store is set to go in at 1100 NM 528. (Matt Hollinshead/Observer)

Padilla said the goal’s to open the store by April 1.  The store will be at 1100 NM 528, just north of the intersection with Corrales Road.

“It’s something that I’ve always been interested in,” he said. “A couple years back, we actually looked into doing a CBD shop… and COVID hit everything, so it kind of put that on pause. We kind of fell right into this, pretty much.”

Padilla said he and his mother Sharon will oversee daily operations, and will have five to seven employees to start. He also said his mother’s background in nursing can help the store build those interpersonal relationships with customers buying cannabis to better cope with anxiety and sleep issues.

“We do plan on taking that time in explaining why this certain product would help certain problems or whatever you’re working through right now,” he said.

Padilla said he and his family spent the past year preparing to open a cannabis shop once rumors the state planned to legalize recreational marijuana began circulating. New Mexico legalized recreational pot last June, with the move taking affect this summer.

Gauging how cannabis stores in neighboring states got ready for operations, Padilla said he did as much work ahead of time as possible as he waited for the application process to be finalized.

A resident of Rio Rancho, Padilla said his shop will help bring in extra tax money for the City of Vision.

He said NM Altitude plans to offer various cannabis products, whether it’s buds or pot chocolates.

“We definitely plan on holding everything across the board,” he said.

While the main focus will be people buying pot for medical reasons, citing a state rule that 20 percent of sales must go to that customer base, Padilla said recreational cannabis will still be available for anyone “brand new off the street.”

However, he said NM Altitude will aim to have a larger portion of medical clientele than 20 percent.

Padilla said people must be at least 21 years old to purchase cannabis, and each person cannot purchase more than 2 ounces of cannabis per day. He said NM Altitude will monitor throughout the day when that person reaches that 2-ounce limit.

He also said consumption inside the store and in the parking lot will be prohibited, adding people will have to wait until they’re back at home to smoke a joint or consume an edible product.

“Anywhere on our lot, we have to make sure that nobody’s consuming any type of product,” he said.

While Padilla said his store’s rules mean one cannot indulge right before popping into Tap ‘N Taco in the same shopping center, he said NM Altitude can help bring more people to that section of town.

“If you happen to be in the area, they’re always really busy. So I think we’re both going to benefit from each other and really have a good relationship,” he said.

Padilla said NM Altitude hopes to expand operations with a second Rio Rancho location. He said the plan’s to start construction by summer with the goal of opening that second shop by the fall.

The exact area in town the second store will be in is to be determined, he said.

A new local cannabis store called NM Altitude will open soon in Rio Rancho. Owner Joseph Padilla said the goal is to open the new store, at 1100 NM 528, by April 1. (Matt Hollinshead/Observer)