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Las Cruces cannabis shops struggle to stay competitive in growing market

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- Many entrepreneurs jumped at the chance to get in on the ground floor of the newly legalized cannabis market, leaving many stores struggling to maintain their business.

In the one year since recreational cannabis sales were legalized in the state of New Mexico, Las Cruces has gone from about eight medical dispensaries to now over 50 recreational stores in the area, which has made businesses have to come up with new innovative ways to set themselves apart from the stores just down the street.

“We want to be different from everyone else by creating an experience. One of the things we do to be different is creating an Easter egg hunt. So throughout our store, we actually have a lot of these little Easter eggs. Within these Easter eggs are actually panda points, or what we call our loyalty points.”, says Keifer Payne, manager of Happy Panda Cannabis Company in Las Cruces.

Directly across the street at Hashtag Cannabis, Manager Lionel Cerna says they’re focusing on bringing customers a variety of products. “We are one of the only ones to have these clones available. We get them from local farms around town,” says Cerna.

Managers from the two cannabis stores tell ABC-7 it's been challenging to remain competitive in a market that has ballooned in just one year.

Kiefer Payne says, ”Instead of just focusing on our cannabis. We're focusing on our customers. We're making sure that everyone's going to be leaving here happy no matter what, even without our products.”

Despite competing with each other, the two dispensary managers say they work together to be able to keep their business growing.

“We got to grow in this community and this city, you know what I mean, and we can't do it whenever other dispensaries want to try to outdo other dispensaries,” said Cerna

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