New Mexico

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.


Recreational sale, possession, or consumption has been opposed by government leaders, including Republican Gov. Susana Martinez. However, Albuquerque, New Mexico’s biggest city, decriminalized in April 2018 possession of one ounce (1 oz., or 28.35 grams) of marijuana, making the offense a $25 fine. Santa Fe passed a similar law in 2014.

Incoming governor Michelle Lujan Grisham accepted support from the marijuana industry and has supported recreational marijuana.


The NMDOH has developed rules and regulations to establish, implement, and administer the statewide Medical Cannabis Program. Possession or consumption of cannabis would result in serious criminal penalties for consumers who are not registered patients or caregivers.

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.

Medical cannabis consumption in the state of New Mexico is limited to private property, out of the public view.

Patients and caregivers face criminal prosecution or civil penalties for possession, distribution, transfer, or for use in a school bus or public transportation vehicle, on school campuses, in the workplace, in public parks, in recreation centers, or in youth centers.

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


Only patients in the registry and their designated caregivers can legally possess medical cannabis. A qualifying patient has access to ​no more than eight ounces (8 oz.), or 226.8 grams, of usable cannabis over a three (3)-month period. Once approved, patients and their caregivers can have a combined total of 16 plants, limited to four (4) 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


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, an 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

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hospice Care
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Inclusion-body myositis
  • Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Painful peripheral neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe anorexia or cachexia (wasting syndrome)
  • Severe chronic pain
  • 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.  

Caregiver Requirements

Patients in the registry who require assistance obtaining or using medical cannabis may

designate up to two (2) caregivers. Caregivers must be at least 21 years old and may only provide care for one (1) 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 (1) adult parent or legal guardian as a caregiver in order to submit an application.

Application Process

  1. Submit 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 (1) 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 January 7, 2019.