New Mexico

Is weed legal in New Mexico?

Medical marijuana is legal in New Mexico for patients with qualifying conditions. Adult-use, or recreational, cannabis has been decriminalized in New Mexico. 

Legislation history

In 1978, New Mexico became the first state in the country to pass legislation recognizing the medical value of marijuana. The historic stand was due, in part, to the urging of Lynn Pierson, a cancer patient who died while advocating for marijuana to alleviate nausea, pain, and other symptoms associated with cancer and glaucoma.

In 2007, the New Mexico Legislature passed SB 523, or the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. SB 523 legalized medical cannabis and established a system regulated by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). It directed the NMDOH to establish, implement, and administer the statewide Medical Cannabis Program. This law allows New Mexicans with a physician's recommendation for treatment of one of 28 recognized medical conditions to use cannabis. 

Albuquerque, New Mexico's biggest city, decriminalized the possession of 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in 2018, making the offense a $25 fine. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB323 into law on April 3, 2019. The bill decriminalized first time possession of marijuana for adults 18 and older, reducing possession of under a half-ounce (14 grams) to a $50 fine instead of jail time.

Where is it safe to purchase weed in New Mexico?

Patients and caregivers can only purchase medical cannabis from state-licensed nonprofit producers. If patients are unable to make purchases themselves, a caregiver can purchase and deliver medical cannabis on their behalf. Additionally, state-licensed delivery services are available.

Qualified patients may apply for a personal production license, allowing them to grow cannabis for personal use. 

Where is it safe to consume cannabis?

Medical cannabis consumption is limited to private property out of public view. Patients and caregivers face criminal prosecution or civil penalties for possession, distribution, transfer, or use in a school bus or public transportation vehicle, school campuses, workplaces, public parks, recreation centers, or youth centers.

Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and consumption in a vehicle is prohibited for drivers and passengers.

Possessing cannabis

Even though marijuana was decriminalized in 2019, marijuana possession is still illegal. Those caught possessing a half-ounce of cannabis or less may be fined $50. Those caught possessing more than a half-ounce of cannabis face steeper penalties and jail time.  

Only patients in the registry and their designated caregivers can legally possess medical cannabis. A qualifying patient has access to ​no more than 8 ounces of cannabis (227 grams) over a three-month period. Once approved, patients and their caregivers can have a combined total of four mature plants and 12 seedlings.

How to get a medical marijuana card in New Mexico

Patients in the New Mexico registry are authorized to purchase and consume medical cannabis if they meet certain requirements for eligibility. Patients who have received a physician's certification for a qualifying condition must submit an application and a valid New Mexico identification card to the NMDOH. Once submitted, the application is reviewed medically and administratively to ensure that all requirements are met.

Upon approval, registration and written certifications are valid for up to one year.

Patients are required to submit renewal applications at least 30 days before their registry card expires. The NMDOH does not charge a fee for either processing patients' applications or issuing registry cards.

Qualifying conditions

The NMDOH maintains a complete list of qualifying conditions. They are:

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

Application process

  1. Complete a patient registry application
  2. Obtain a valid written certification from a qualified healthcare provider
  3. Provide a state-issued driver's license or identification card to establish proof of New Mexico residency
  4. Designate a caregiver, if applicable
  5. Receive a registry identification card; there is no fee for the card

Caregiver requirements

Patients in the registry who require assistance obtaining or using medical cannabis may designate up to two caregivers. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and may only provide care for one patient at a time. Caregivers are required to submit their application along with their designated patient's. Patients younger than age 18 are required to designate at least one adult parent or legal guardian as a caregiver. 

Caregivers must submit a caregiver application to the NMDOH.

Reciprocity

On July 1, 2020, New Mexico began allowing out-of-state patients to purchase medical marijuana within the state. The legislation permits patients from any state, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and New Mexico native tribes to purchase cannabis in-state. One of the most liberal reciprocity policies nationwide, this reform in New Mexico requires only proof of physician authorization rather than cardholder status. In addition, out-of-state participants may obtain cannabis medicine for conditions other than those listed as qualifying in New Mexico.

Lab testing

The NMDOH requires state-licensed nonprofit producers to contract with at least one independent testing laboratory to ensure that all safety and quality assurance requirements are met.

Certified labs must test for the following:

  • Cannabinoids and potency
  • Heavy metals
  • Microbiological contaminants
  • Moisture and water content
  • Mycotoxins
  • Pesticides
  • Residual solvents

This page was last updated October 2, 2020.

Was this article helpful? Give Feedback

{EMAIL}
has been subscribed!

The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on February 1, 2021.