New Mexico

Is Weed Legal in New Mexico?

Adult-use marijuana has been decriminalized in New Mexico. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB323 into law on April 3, 2019. The bill decriminalized marijuana for adults 18 and older, taking possession of under a half-ounce, or 14 grams, to a $50 fine instead of jail time


Additionally, medical marijuana is legal in New Mexico, with a patient registry list that has more than 75,000 medical patients on record as of August 2019. 

Legislation History

The New Mexico Legislature in 2007 passed SB 523, or the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. SB 523 offers patients and caregivers access to medical cannabis in a system regulated by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). 


Currently, cannabis access is reserved for qualified patients and their caregivers. Recreational marijuana remains illegal. The state made it illegal in 1923 to consume, cultivate or import marijuana for any purpose. 


However, in 1978, New Mexico became the first state in the country to pass medical marijuana legislation recognizing the medical value of marijuana in part due 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.


Albuquerque, New Mexico’s biggest city, decriminalized in April 2018 possession of 1 ounce of marijuana, or 28.35 grams, making the offense a $25 fine. Santa Fe, the capital, passed a similar law in 2014. Lujan Grisham signed into law the decriminalization of recreational cannabis in April 2019.


While hemp was legalized across the country following the Farm Bill in 2018, New Mexico amended its hemp production laws on April 1, 2019, allowing for production, research, and manufacturing of hemp-derived cannabidoil (CBD) in the state. 


The NMDOH has developed rules and regulations to establish, implement, and administer the statewide Medical Cannabis Program. Possession or consumption by consumers who are not registered patients or caregivers carries serious criminal penalties.

Where is it Safe to Purchase and Consume?

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 to patients for cannabis purchases.


Qualified patients may apply for a personal production license, allowing enrollees to grow for personal use. There is no tax imposed on medical cannabis under New Mexico’s marijuana laws.


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.


Even though marijuana has been decriminalized in 2019, marijuana possession is still illegal. If an adult 18 or older is in possession of less than a half ounce, a penalty of $50 is levied. 


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, or 227 grams, over a three-month period. Once approved, patients and their caregivers can have a combined total of 16 plants, limited to four mature plants and 12 seedlings.

How Old Do I Need
to Be to Consume?
Possession Limit
for Flower
8oz/90 days
Possession Limit
for Concentrates
8oz/90 days

How to Get a Medical Card in New Mexico

Patients in the 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 new or renewal registry cards.

Qualifying Conditions

  • 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
  • Hospice care
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inclusion-body myositis
  • Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe chronic pain
  • Spasmodic torticollis
  • 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 health-care 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.  


There is no medical reciprocity in New Mexico. Medical marijuana patients with cards from other legal states cannot purchase medical marijuana in New Mexico. Additionally, out-of-state patients are not allowed to apply for medical marijuana cards in the state, as the New Mexico Health Department believes it would encourage transport across state lines. 

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 designating patients. Patients younger than age 18 are required to designate at least one adult parent or legal guardian as a caregiver in order to submit an application under New Mexico marijuana laws.


Caregivers in New Mexico can grow up to 1,750 mature cannabis plants, reduced from a former emergency limit of 2,500.

Application Process

  1. Submit a caregiver application.
  2. Provide proof of New Mexico residency in the form of a state-issued driver’s license or identification card.
  3. Complete criminal background check.
  4. Receive a registry identification card, for which there is no fee.

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
  • Fungal mycotoxins
  • Heavy metals
  • Microbiological contaminants
  • Moisture and water content
  • Residual solvents


This page was last updated on Aug. 27, 2019.