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The Legal Status of Cannabis in New Mexico?

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In the state of New Mexico, cannabis is legal for both adult and medical use. Medical use was signed into law by Governor Bill Richardson in 2007.

Senate Bill 523, also known as the “Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act,” was signed into law by Governor Bill Richardson in 2007 taking effect later the same year. New Mexico issues Medical Marijuana Identification cards to qualifying patients and maintains a confidential state registry.

Patients under 18 years may qualify for the New Mexico medical marijuana program if they submit their physician’s recommendation alongside their parents’ or guardians’ written consent.

The full list of qualifying conditions maintained by NMDOH lists:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Anorexia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Crohn's disease
  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hospice care
  • Huntington's disease
  • Inclusion-body myositis
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Lewy body disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Severe chronic pain
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Ulcerative colitis

It is important to note that anyone can make a petition to NMDOH for the inclusion of other qualifying conditions. The possession allowed by the state of New Mexico is 6 ounces or more if you can provide a letter from your licensed physician detailing your special need.

You can also cultivate up to 4 mature plants and 12 seedlings bringing the total to 16. Licensed producers on the other hand may grow not more than 150 mature cannabis plants successively. State-licensed dispensaries are available for the purchase of medical marijuana.

In the state of New Mexico, cannabis is legal for both adult and medical use. Medical use was signed into law by Governor Bill Richardson in 2007 while recreational use came into law in 2021 by a signature from Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Cannabis was legalized for recreational use in New Mexico as of June 29, 2021, via House Bill 2 (The Cannabis Regulation Act). Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed this bill into law on April 12, 2021, and the first licensed sale of recreational marijuana was done on April 1, 2022.

Recreational Cannabis in New Mexico

Prohibition (1923): Cultivating, importing, and selling cannabis were banned in the state of New Mexico in 1923.

Push for legalization (1999):  Republican Governor Gary Johnson 1999 started a political firestorm by endorsing the policy for drug legalization. He claimed that the dangers of cannabis had “been significantly exaggerated.”

House approves legalization (2019): House Bill 35 got the approval of the House of Representatives in a 36–34 vote in March 2019. This bill proposed the legalization of cannabis for recreational use as well as the establishment of a system to distribute it through state-run dispensaries.

Decriminalization (2019): Governor Lujan Grisham signed into law Senate Bill 323 in April 2019. This reduced first-time offense to a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 for amounts not exceeding half an ounce (14 g). It also became the first state to decriminalize the possession of cannabis paraphernalia. SB 323 was passed in the House 44–20 vote and Senate 30–8 and was effected on July 1, 2019.

Recreational use legalized (2021): Governor Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 2 -the Cannabis Regulation Act- into law on April 12, 2021. It was passed in the House by a 38–32 vote and the Senate by 22–15. Under Senate Bill 2:

  • It will be legal for adults 21 years and over to possess cannabis. There will be no limit for home possession while outside the home one will be allowed to carry no more than 2 ounces.
  • Each home will be allowed to cultivate up to six mature plants with six immature plants making the limit per residence twelve.
  • Retail sales of marijuana are scheduled to commence in April 1, 2022.
  • An excise tax of 12% will apply over and above regular sales taxes increasing by 1% every year starting in 2025 and getting to 18% in 2030.
  • Retail licenses issued by the state will be limitless and it will be up to the local governments to set a limit for dispensaries, restrict their location, or ban them in their entirety.
  • Public consumption remains illegal, though businesses will be permitted to offer consumption on-site consumption as long as they meet certain requirements.
  • Arrests and convictions that this bill makes legal will be expunged automatically.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.