New Mexico Cannabis Law

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A Guide to New Mexico Cannabis Laws

Cannabis is legal under state law for adults 21+.

New Mexico is one of 36 states (plus D.C.) that have removed criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana. In June 2019, the New Mexico Department of Health added six new qualifying conditions (opioid use disorder, autism spectrum disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Friedreich’s Ataxia, Lewy Body Disease, and spinal muscular atrophy) to the state’s medical cannabis program, raising the total number of qualifying conditions to 28.

Recreational cannabis and medical marijuana are both legal in New Mexico.

The Cannabis Regulation Act made the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis—or its equivalent in other forms: 16 grams of concentrated marijuana, or 800 milligrams of edibles— legal on June 29, 2021. Homegrow became legal on the same date. Adults can cultivate up to six mature and six immature cannabis plants at home, with a maximum of 12 mature plants per household.

Starting April 1, 2022, adult-use customers are able to purchase two ounces of cannabis, or its equivalent in other forms.

Prohibited Conduct and Penalties

  • Smoking cannabis in public is punishable by a $50 fine.
  • Possession in public of more than two ounces but less than eight ounces of cannabis, 16-65 grams of concentrates, and 800-3,299 milligrams of edibles carries up to 364 days in jail. Greater quantities are a felony.
  • Underage possession carries a penalty of four hours of community service or four-hour drug education and legal rights program.
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal.
  • The transportation of cannabis across state lines is a violation of Federal law.

New Mexico Cannabis DUI Laws

  • Even in medical states, qualifying patients are not permitted to drive under the influence of cannabis. Driving under the influence of any drug that impairs judgment is a violation of state law.
  • If you’re arrested for a DUI and refuse to take a drug test, your license can be confiscated at the scene and revoked for up to one year. First DUI offenses can result in up to 90 days in prison and a $500 fine, with additional offenses punishable by longer prison terms and higher fines.

Taxation, Revenue Distribution, and Fees

  • The state will apply a cannabis excise tax levied on retail sales. It starts at 12% until July 1, 2025, and then increases by one percentage point per year, maxing out at 18% on July 1, 2030. The tax does not apply to any sales to registered patients, caregivers, or visiting patients from other states.
  • One-third of the cannabis excise tax revenue will go to the municipality where the sales were made. Another third of the cannabis excise tax revenue will go to the county where the sales were made.
  • Gross receipts taxes — which range from 5.125% to 8.8125%, depending on the location in the state — apply to adult-use, but not medical, cannabis.

How much cannabis is allowed in New Mexico?

  • Whether you call it “cannabis” or “weed” or something else, here’s how much you can have on your possession in public when the law takes effect:
    • Up to 2 ounces of cannabis;
    • up to 16 grams of extract;
    • or up to 800 milligrams of edible cannabis.
  • More than that, and you might be charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony, so keep your supply at home or in a private place, which are not subject to limits under the law.

Where in New Mexico can we legally consume marijuana?

  • Similar to alcoholic beverages, public consumption of cannabis is limited to licensed “consumption areas” where it may be served and consumed — and those don’t exist yet. Consuming cannabis elsewhere in public could get you a $50 ticket.
  • Also, private property owners can forbid it, and your workplace can institute zero- tolerance policies against it.
  • Remember that under federal law, “marijuana” is a Schedule One controlled substance, classified with heroin and other narcotics, which means any amount is forbidden on federal territory.

Where can we buy marijuana in New Mexico?

  • Legally, nowhere in New Mexico yet — unless you’re a registered medical cannabis patient who buys medicinal products at licensed dispensaries.
  • For non-medicinal cannabis, the state has until September to begin processing business licenses and until January to establish rules for producing, marketing and serving cannabis. Retail sales are to commence no later than April 1 of next year, if not sooner.
  • And yes, that means for a few months, possession of small amounts of cannabis will be decriminalized while it is not yet legal to buy or sell it in the state.

Can we grow cannabis at home?

  • Yes. The law permits individuals up to six mature cannabis plants and six immature plants, or a maximum of 12 in a household with multiple residents.
  • The law also says you can make edibles or extracts — with nonvolatile solvents, alcohol or carbon dioxide or no solvents. You can roll yourself a joint, and you can share some with a friend as long as they are at least 21 years old.
  • But if you sell it and you are not a licensed dealer, it’s unlawful trafficking — a fourth- degree felony. Cultivating more plants than is allowed is also a felony.
  • Notably, the offenses and penalties are considerably less severe for those under 21, ranging from civil penalties to education programs and community services. Proponents defend these measures as a matter of justice while critics say the framework could easily be exploited by adults caught exceeding legal limits.

What if I get pulled over with cannabis in New Mexico?

  • Although it will be legal for adults to possess cannabis, driving while under the influence is a crime and may lead to criminal charges.
  • If you have been pulled over for some other reason, the smell of cannabis in your vehicle will no longer be grounds for state or local law enforcement to suspect a crime, to detain you or search you.
  • In fact, the cannabis law has put the New Mexico State Police’s narcotic-sniffing dogs out of work: All nine are being replaced, the agency announced after the bill passed.
  • Likewise, possessing cannabis in public, providing it is within legal limits (see above), is not grounds to detain or search you.
  • But be aware of what ground you stand upon, because it remains illegal to possess cannabis under federal law, and that applies at ports of entry and Border Patrol checkpoints, where your supplies may be confiscated and you could be referred for federal charges.
  • In addition, Native American tribal governments are sovereign nations and may have their own laws and limits regarding possession and use.

What about past cannabis offenses?

  • A separate bill enacted this year provides for expunging certain arrest and conviction records related to cannabis.
  • The principle behind it is, if an action related to cannabis is no longer a crime or would be a lesser offense, it should not interfere with getting a job or a license, including a license to produce or sell cannabis.
  • Public court or agency records related to cannabis convictions or arrests will be expunged or sealed two years following conviction or, absent a conviction, following arrest. The records will not appear in state criminal databases, either.
  • If the person arrested or convicted was under 18 at the time, the records are expunged upon their turning 18, however long it has been.
  • The bill also allows for cases to be reopened and considered for dismissal of sentences or expungement of those cases, although prosecutors could challenge those efforts in court.
  • And none of this applies to non-cannabis offenses. Penalties for other convictions still apply.

Who can buy cannabis in New Mexico?

  • Like alcohol, a person must be 21 years old to legally purchase cannabis in the State of New Mexico. Each person purchasing cannabis cannot purchase more than two ounces of cannabis, sixteen grams of a cannabis extract, and eight hundred milligrams of edible cannabis at one time. A person cannot possess the same amounts at one time outside of a person’s residence. Any cannabis in the amounts that exceed two ounces of cannabis, sixteen grams of a cannabis extract, and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis may store the excess inside the person’s residence. The law states the storage cannot be viewed from a public place.

Marijuana tax rates in New Mexico

  • Medical marijuana: Dispensaries are required to pay a gross receipts tax, which varies across the state from 5.125% to 8.8125%. Some dispensaries factor this tax into the price of a purchase, and others tack it on at point of sale.
  • Adult-use retail: The state applies two separate taxes to recreational cannabis sales: A 12% excise tax that will increase by 1% annually starting in 2025, and a separate gross receipt tax that ranges from 5-9% depending on local law.

State Cannabis Licensing

  • A Cannabis Control Division will be created within the Regulation and Licensing Department to license and regulate cannabis businesses.
  • The Division will license 10 types of cannabis businesses: couriers, producers (growers), manufacturers, retailers, microbusinesses, cannabis consumption areas, vertically integrated establishments, and integrated microbusinesses.
    • Producer microbusinesses may grow no more than 200 mature plants at a time.
    • Integrated microbusinesses may cultivate cannabis, produce infused products, and/or operate a single retail location.
  • Any qualified applicant can apply for a license. Within 90 days of deeming an application complete, the Division will grant or deny the license.
    • Applicants may not have prior convictions “substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties.” This includes felony convictions involving fraud, embezzlement, or deceit, or involving a minor in drug sales. It does not include cannabis convictions.
  • Multiple licensees may operate at one premises, and licensees may operate many premises.

Cannabis Advertising Business Requirements and Regulations

  • The Cannabis Control Division will develop rules — which must be consistent with industry standards — on advertising, health and safety, testing, labeling and packaging, regarding additives (including banning nicotine), quality control, and environmental protections.
    • Packaging cannot be designed to appeal to minors and must be child-resistant. Warnings must be included on possible adverse events, along with the number for New Mexico’s poison control.
    • Advertising is banned on TV, radio, and mass transit, and other than to adults who opt in or who subscribe to subscription-based media.
  • Advertising cannot use predatory marketing targeting minors, use cartoon characters, or mimic other brands.
    • The Division will develop rules for cannabis training and education programs.
    • The Division will provide a discount for retailers agreeing to accept microbusinesses’ products on consignment.
  • Cannabis business employees must be 21 or older.
  • By September 1, 2021, and once per year until 2025, the Division will limit the number of plants a producer may produce. “The rule shall set the number of allowed cannabis plants per licensee to meet an average national market demand for cannabis products in states where adult and medical cannabis are authorized during the preceding year using a consumer base of no less than twenty percent of the adult population of New Mexico.”
    • Producers could increase their number of plants by 500 at the time of renewal and one other time each year.
  • Cannabis servers would be required to get permits and take education courses.
  • The Division will issue rules for training for cannabis servers’ permits, which will include training on the effects cannabis products may have on a person, state laws on cannabis, how to spot a fake ID, cannabis harm reduction, and methods to recognize and intervene with problem cannabis users.
  • If a cannabis business breaks the law, the Division may suspend or revoke licenses, issue a correction plan or intermediary sanctions, or issue fines of no more than $10,000 per violation.
  • The Division “may suspend a license for repeated violations of the same, serious and substantial rule promulgated pursuant to the Cannabis Regulation Act pertaining to public health and safety.”

Tribes and Pueblos and Cross-Border Commerce

  • The Cannabis Control Division may enter into intergovernmental agreements with tribes and pueblos.
  • All cannabis must originate in New Mexico, until either federal law changes or the U.S. government issues a memo or opinion tolerating interstate commerce.
  • Once federal law changes or the U.S. government issues a memo or opinion tolerating interstate commerce in cannabis:
    • the governor shall enter into agreements for delivery of cannabis across borders. The agreements must include enforceable public health and safety standards, tracking, and packaging, testing, and labeling pursuant to New Mexico law.
    • couriers may deliver cannabis from New Mexico to another state where doing so is legal.
    • licensees may receive cannabis from other states and countries.

Diversity and Inclusion in the Cannabis Industry

  • Rules must include “procedures that promote and encourage full participation in the cannabis industry governed by the Cannabis Regulation Act by representatives of communities that have been disproportionately harmed by rates of arrest through the enforcement of cannabis prohibitions, rural communities likely to be impacted by cannabis production and agricultural producers from economically disadvantaged communities.”
  • Rules must include procedures to encourage diversity among applicants, licensees, and staff.
  • The Cannabis Control Division will develop a certification for cannabis produced by microbusinesses or licensees that are owned by someone from a community that was disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition.
  • The Division will produce annual reports on diversity in the industry.

Public Health and Education

  • The Department of Health will monitor information on cannabis use and monitor changes on use of cannabis products, opioid use, and alcohol use patterns.
  • The health secretary will appoint a public health and safety advisory committee with experience on cannabis work or research related to health, epidemiology, occupational safety, emergency medicine, or similar fields. The committee will:
    • report on the health effects of legalization, including related to child access, workplace safety, road safety, consumer safety, and other issues, starting by December 1, 2024; and
    • report on the affordability and accessibility of medical cannabis.

Medical Cannabis Provisions

  • Medical cannabis business regulation, other than patient registration, will move to the Cannabis Control Division.
  • Removes the provisions for personal production licenses for medical cannabis. (All adults 21+ will be allowed to cultivate without a specific license.)
  • The requirement that a patient’s first exam by a certifying practitioner must be in- person will be eliminated, allowing telemedicine for first and subsequent certifications.
  • Until December 31, 2022, 25% of monthly sales from cannabis businesses must be to registered patients, out-of-state patients, and caregivers.
  • Regulators will develop rules on requirements to reserve products for medical cannabis.
  • The Cannabis Control Division may take action in the event of a medical cannabis shortage (which is defined as substantially fewer plants being grown per New Mexico- registered patient than-pre-legalization), such as requiring at least of 10% of stocked cannabis to be designated for sales to medical patients (including caregivers and patients registered in other jurisdictions), working to incentivize increased production, requiring a specific percent of cannabis to be designated for medical, or — after exhausting other methods — issuing new applicants licenses only for medical, for most license types.

Local Control

  • Municipalities and counties may:
    • “adopt time, place and manner rules” including “rules that reasonably limit density of licenses and operating times consistent with neighborhood uses;” and
  • allow indoor and outdoor cannabis smoking and vaping in locations for those 21+ (unless they have a medical license).
  • Local jurisdictions may not:
    • “completely prohibit the operation of a licensee;”
    • prohibit transportation of cannabis through the locality;
    • restrict signage at licensed cannabis businesses that identify them; or
    • prohibit home cultivation.

Taxation, Revenue Distribution, and Fees

  • A cannabis excise tax is levied on retail sales. It starts at 12% until July 1, 2025, and then increases by one percentage point per year, maxing out at 18% on July 1, 2030. The tax does not apply to any sales to registered patients, caregivers, or visiting patients from other states.
  • One-third of the cannabis excise tax revenue will go to the municipality where the sales were made. Another third of the cannabis excise tax revenue will go to the county where the sales were made.
  • Gross receipts taxes — which range from 5.125% to 8.8125%, depending on the location in the state — would apply to adult-use, but not medical, cannabis.
  • Future budget bills will include additional revenue distribution. They are expected to include funding for community reinvestment.
  • Fees for most license types are $2,500 per year, plus $1,000 for each licensed premises. However:
    • Courier fees are up to $1,500 per year and $1,000 for each additional licensed premises.
    • Producer microbusiness fees are up to $1,000 per year.
    • Producers, other than microbusinesses, will also be charged up to $50 per plant.
    • Integrated microbusiness fees are up to $2,500 per year and $500 for each additional licensed premises.
    • Vertically integrated cannabis establishment fees are $7,500 per year, plus $1,000 for each licensed premises.
  • Vertically integrated cannabis businesses’ initial application and annual renewal fees cannot exceed $125,000 per license for both medical and adult use.
  • Fees are reduced by half for medical only.
  • Cannabis server fees are no more than $35.

Legal Protections

  • Provides legal protections for accountants, lawyers, and others providing professional services related to state-legal cannabis.
  • Prevents discrimination:
    • a person cannot be denied parental rights based on their lawful cannabis activities, but the state may still act in the “best interests of the child;”
  • public benefits and health care cannot be denied due to legal cannabis conduct, unless doing so is required by federal law;
    • parole, probation, and pre-trial released cannot be revoked for cannabis, unless the use of cannabis is a specific condition of their release; and
    • in professional and occupational licensing.
  • Except in the case of suspected DUI, provides the following are not grounds for a search: the odor of cannabis, suspicion of possession of more than two ounces, or possession of multiple containers of cannabis.
  • Allows cannabis research under state law.

Employment Law

  • Employers may continue to enforce written zero-tolerance policies, including those that allow discipline or termination for a positive test for THC or its metabolites.
New Mexico Laws and Penalties   
OffensePenaltyIncarcerationMax. Fine
Possession   
Up to 2 ozNoneNone$0
More than 2 oz and up to 8 ozMisdemeanor1 year$1,000
8 oz or moreFelony1.5 years$5,000
Distribution   
100 lbs or less (first offense)Felony1.5 years$5,000
Less than 100 lbs or less (second offense)Felony3 years$5,000
100 lbs or more (first offense)Felony3 years$5,000
100 lbs or more (second offense)Felony9 years$10,000
To a minor (first offense)Felony3 years$5,000
To a minor (second offense)Felony9 years$10,000
Within a drug-free school zoneFelony18 years$10,000
Includes possession with the intent to distribute   
If no payment, exchange of small amount of marijuana is treated as possession only.   
Cultivation   
Up to 6 mature plantsNoneNone$0
More than 6 plants (first offense)Felony9 years$10,000
More than 6 plants (second offense)Felony18 years$15,000
Within a drug-free school zoneFelony18 years$15,000
Hash & Concentrates   
Possession up to 16 grams of extract, 800 mg infused ediblesNoneNone$0
Possession of more than 16 grams of extract, 800 mg infused ediblesMisdemeanor1 year$1,000
Distributing or possessing with intent to distributeFelony3 years$5,000
Subsequent convictions or within 1,000 feet of non-secondary school carries increased incarceration and fines.   
Paraphernalia   
Possession of paraphernaliaNoneNone$50
Distribution of paraphernalia to a minorFelony1.5 years$5,000
Miscellaneous   
If a person who is 15 years or older is found delinquent of violating the Controlled Substances Act, their license may revoked.   

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