Medical Marijuana in New Mexico
Since the 1920s, the state of New Mexico has played a key role in the United States’ perspective and treatment of medical marijuana. In 1923, New Mexico prohibited the sale, importation and cultivation of marijuana, as well as further criminalizing the possession of marijuana. However, in 1978, New Mexico became the first state to implement a medical marijuana research program through legislation to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana to their chemotherapy patients. As a result of the conducted research, New Mexico became the first state to recognize marijuana’s medicinal value.
One of the original patients from this clinical trial became the inspiration of New Mexico’s 2007 medical marijuana law, The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. This Act authorized the Department of State (“Department”) to oversee the rules and regulations for IDs and Personal Production License for patients or caregivers to grow medical cannabis for personal use through its Medical Cannabis Program (“MCP”). Furthermore, the Medical Advisory Board under the Department approves of the expansion of qualifying conditions for patients to become eligible. By 2010, the Department issued the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary license.
From 2018 to 2019, the passage of medical marijuana bills such as Senate Bill 406 and Senate Bill 323 greatly improved New Mexico’s medical marijuana regulations. Senate Bill 406 not only expanded patient’s rights by requiring the Department to publish annual reports on affordability and accessibility to medical marijuana, but also by including new qualifying conditions such as opioid disorder, Alzheimer’s, and autism. Governor Grisham signed Senate Bill 323 into law, which decriminalized first-time possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana to a $50.00 fine instead of imprisonment.
Recreational Marijuana Use in New Mexico
On April 12, 2021, New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize marijuana for adult-use when Governor Grisham signed into law the Cannabis Regulation Act. This Act allows adults aged 21 or older to legally purchase, possess, and consume marijuana, as well as permitting the at-home cultivation of up to twelve (12) mature plants per household. Furthermore, the Act established the Cannabis Control Division (“CCD”), who is authorized to create rules and regulations for l business licensing procedures for not only recreational-use businesses, but also the state’s medical marijuana program. However, the MCP still maintains its authority to operate the patient registry and the list of qualifying conditions.
In addition to the legalization of recreational-use of marijuana, Senate Bill 2 was passed in 2021, which automatically expunged the records of individuals charged with or convicted of the activities that were newly deemed legal under the Cannabis Regulation Act.
Applications for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses in New Mexico
The following are different types of medical marijuana business licenses that can be acquired by a New Mexico resident:
- Non-Profit Producer
- Medical Manufacturer Only
The fees and additional fees for the above stated licenses differ based on the type of license. There are currently twenty-eight (28) qualifying conditions for patient eligibility. Furthermore, medical marijuana purchases are exempt from excise tax.
Currently, the Non-Profit Producer application process is closed, as well as applications from businesses, who are interested in producing or manufacturing medical marijuana.
Applications for Adult-Use Marijuana Business Licenses in New Mexico
Currently, there is no limit on the number of adult-use marijuana business licenses that can be granted. The following are the several different license types available for adult-use marijuana business licenses:
- Retail Dispensary
- Vertically Integrated Establishment
- Producer Microbusiness
- Producer Microbusiness
- Integrated Microbusiness
- Testing Laboratory
- Research Laboratory
- Consumption Area
Each of the above license types have distinct requirements, as well as different fees and additional fees included for each premises. To learn more, click the Cannabis Control Division.
Currently, the CCD has an open, ongoing application process for adult-use marijuana business licenses, with the exception of Microbusiness licenses which ended accepting new licensees into the program in May 2023. Once you submit the application, the regulators will have ninety (90) days to issue a determination; however, due to the volume of applications, it may take longer.
With the expansion of New Mexico’s cannabis industry, now is the time more than ever to start structuring your business plan and implementing your operations. You can provide your information here to receive notification updates related to New Mexico cannabis matters. Contact us today to discuss your options with us!
Last Updated: July 24th, 2023