Little Amsterdam of New Mexico

In the desert valley along the Rio Grande, sits Sunland Park, a city of about 17,000 residents. It has traditionally lacked many amenities which has been nicknamed the Little Amsterdam of New Mexico. Sunland Park didn’t have a large grocery store, very many shops, or much to offer besides a racetrack casino. It is also a short hike to the nearby Cristo Del Rey cross. However, Sunland Park has become a popular destination for El Paso residents. Due to its many cannabis dispensaries, from New Mexico’s legalization of recreational marijuana, Texas residents ofter make the journey west.

The dispensaries, filling up previously empty spaces, have made it a significant seller of recreational marijuana, second only to Albuquerque. This surge is primarily due to its proximity to El Paso, Texas, where marijuana remains illegal. Despite this, many Texans regularly purchase marijuana in Sunland Park, bringing it back across the state line.

Little Amsterdam of New Mexico, position as a border town highlights the impact of differing state policies, not just on marijuana but also on issues like immigration and abortion. Texas has taken stringent measures on these fronts, contrasting with New Mexico’s more liberal stance.

Legalization of Marijuana across the U.S.

As marijuana legalization spreads across the U.S., the boom in Sunland Park, might be temporary. Nevertheless, with Texas showing no immediate signs of legalizing marijuana, Sunland Park continues to see new dispensaries opening. The city is also benefiting financially from the marijuana trade, with significant tax revenues contributing to its budget and funding community improvements.

Officials note that Sunland Park’s growth is not solely due to cannabis. There are other factors like new infrastructure projects and El Paso’s expansion. Despite the focus on marijuana, the city has a complex history involving drug and migrant smuggling, particularly in the Anapra neighborhood.

The city’s transformation includes other forms of development, like the establishment of a sotol distillery, illustrating a broader trend of investment and change in Sunland Park.

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