New Mexico Medical Marijuana Law

Adult-use medical marijuana has been legal in New Mexico for over 15 years. The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP), which is overseen by the New Mexico Department of Health, issues cards to patients, regulates cultivators, and establishes the regulations that govern the industry.

As of July 2022, over 130,000 New Mexicans have active medical marijuana cards. You can buy more cannabis during dispensary visits, cultivate more plants, and legally possess more cannabis than recreational users with a valid medical marijuana card.

If you suffer from a chronic physical and psychological condition that compromises your ability to enjoy life and function day to day, medical marijuana may be able to help. A complete understanding of the laws on cannabis use and possession will help you make the right decision for your treatment.

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New Mexico Medical Marijuana Law History

The New Mexico legislature passed the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (SB-523) in 2007, allowing eligible patients to possess up to six ounces of adult-use cannabis and cultivate up to four mature cannabis plants.

The DOH drafted regulations and policies for medical marijuana growers, manufacturers, and retailers over the next two years. The first medical marijuana dispensary opened in 2010. Sales were strong and additional dispensaries opened across the state.

Like many state medical marijuana programs, patients responded enthusiastically and reported success treating with cannabis. In response to the surge in cannabis sales and the use of cannabis, New Mexico expanded the program over the following decade and added additional qualifying conditions. It was the first state to recognize PTSD as a qualifying diagnosis for treatment with cannabis products.

The most significant expansions came in 2019. SB-406 enhanced patient rights, allowed students to treat using cannabis in schools, exempted cardholders from criminal and civil liability in certain cases, and granted employment protections. The bill also extended civil rights protection to registered patients in child custody cases.

New Mexico began recreational marijuana sales in 2022. To preserve patient access, the state-mandated dispensaries now reserve 20% of their inventory for medical-use marijuana sales and raised the cap on purchases by qualified patients.

Marijuana Possession Laws in New Mexico

Under the Cannabis Regulation Act, New Mexico residents over 21 can buy and possess up to two ounces of dried cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis extract, or up to 800 milligrams of edible cannabis.

According to New Mexico state law, medical cardholders can purchase and possess up to 15 ounces of dried cannabis, or its equivalent amount in extract and edibles, within a rolling 90-day period. Possession of more than eight ounces of cannabis without a card is a felony punished by up to 18 months imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

New Mexico Public Consumption Laws

New Mexico cannabis law bans law enforcement from stopping or detaining individuals based on the smell of cannabis. However, public consumption remains illegal. Cannabis can be legally consumed on private property, out of public view, or in designated public areas. Dispensaries can permit individuals to use cannabis on their premises.

You cannot use medical cannabis in your workplace. Private businesses and property owners can ban marijuana consumption on their premises. Due to the federal prohibition, cannabis use in national parks and federal facilities is illegal.

New Mexico Cannabis DUI Laws

You cannot operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis, even if you have a medical marijuana card. There is no legal THC limit. Violations fall under New Mexico's DWI statute. First offenses are punished by up to nine days imprisonment and a $500 fine.

Violators must complete a minimum of 24 hours of community service and attend a driver rehabilitation program. Additional offenses are subject to increasing minimum penalties up to license revocation and three years imprisonment.

Applying for A New Mexico Medical Marijuana Card?

To obtain a medical marijuana card, you must have one of the 28 qualifying conditions recognized by New Mexico and receive a certification from a medical provider licensed to prescribe controlled substances in New Mexico.

You can then apply for a medical marijuana card, at no cost, online or with a paper application. The MCP takes up to 30 days to process applications and issue approvals or denials.

If you believe you suffer from a qualifying medical condition and would benefit from medical marijuana, you should apply for a card. You will be entitled to a higher possession limit of cannabis, be exempt from use taxes that apply to recreational purchases, and have broader employment and civil rights protections than recreational users.

The Sanctuary can discuss conditions that qualify a patient for a card, explain the application requirements, and advise you on assembling the best possible application. We partner with a network of medical marijuana doctors who can conduct a telehealth visit to assess your condition, discuss the benefits and risks of medical cannabis, and issue certification.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Recreational medical marijuana sales began in April 2022. They are subject to a 12% excise tax and are limited to two ounces of dried cannabis or its equivalent.

A cardholder is exempt from the excise tax and may purchase 15 ounces of dried cannabis or its equivalent per 90 days. Medical cardholders can also purchase recreational marijuana.

You can legally possess cannabis flowers, edibles, and cannabis extract. Dispensaries sell topical applications like gels and creams, tinctures, and capsules.

You cannot purchase or possess medical marijuana for another individual unless you are their registered caregiver. Possessing more than 15 ounces of cannabis is illegal.

New Mexico uses a patient unit system to simplify possession limits. The dispensary electronically logs your purchases for tracking to ensure you do not exceed 425 patient units or 15 ounces of dried cannabis per rolling 90-day period.

Under the conversion system, 1 gram of flower or 0.2 milligrams of THC within an edible, tincture, oil, or topical equals 1 patient unit.

Yes. Any individual with an out-of-state cannabis card can legally purchase and possess cannabis under the rules of New Mexico's program. You must present both a card or physical document proving you're enrolled in a medical cannabis program and a government-issued photo ID.

At your first dispensary visit, you will have to register for a reciprocal ID number, which will be used to track your New Mexico purchases.

Yes. New Mexico does not bar convicted felons from enrolling as medical marijuana patients.