The State of New Mexico
Current Law Pertaining to Medical Marijuana
The State of New Mexico currently allows the use of both CBD and THC varieties of medical marijuana on patients that are registered with the state and under a doctor’s care. However, they limit treatable conditions allowed to hospice care, arthritis, severe chronic pain, peripheral neuropathy, intractable nausea and vomiting, sever anorexia and cachexia, hepatitis C, infections cause by antiviral treatments, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also Lou Gehrig’s disease), cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with intractable spasticity, Epilepsy and HIV/AIDS.
The law also limits allowable possession to dried leaves and flowers but omits seeds, stalks and roots from allowable treatment options. Patients have the right to possess up to six ounces of usable cannabis, four mature plants and three seedlings. A primary caregiver may provide services to a maximum of four qualified patients under the Medical Cannabis Program.Access to Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana can be accessed through state licensed dispensaries provided that the patient shows proof of state registration for permissions to purchase. To register, a patient currently be under care of a physician must have a “recommendation” written by a doctor that has examined the patient recently, and then obtain a license through the New Mexico Department of Health. The form requires information about the condition treated and authorizations as follows:
- Only one signature is required for each condition.
- Any medical practitioner licensed to practice in the State of New Mexico and who may prescribe and administer controlled substances may sign the medical certification.
- Certifying medical practitioner must be able to submit paperwork supporting the diagnosis.
Current Law Pertaining to Hemp:
Cultivation of Hemp, a variety of sativa L. cannabis with less than 1% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been authorized by the state for educational research.
Production and Cultivation Limits
In January 2009, the New Mexico Department of Health finalized and updated rules governing the production, distribution, and use of medicinal cannabis under state law by authorizing non-profit facilities to apply with the state to produce and dispense medical cannabis and state-licensed producers to grow up to 95 mature plants at one time.
In 2010, the statute was again amended to expand the grow limit to 150 plants and allow licensed producers to obtain plants, seeds, and/or usable cannabis from other non-profit producers.
Growers and producers are required to apply for a license, which costs $5,000 for producers licensed less than one year, $10,000 for more than one year, $20,000 for more than two years and $30,000 for more than three years.
Non Medical Use & Possession
While criminal penalties have been reduced in recent years, non-medical possession is still illegal. According to NORML:
- For first offenders, possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of $50-$100 and/or up to 15 days of imprisonment. For subsequent offenses possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of $100-$1000 and/or up to 1 year of imprisonment.
- Possession of more than 1 – less than 8 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100-$1000 and imprisonment for up to 1 year.
- Possession of 8 ounces or more of marijuana is a fourth degree felony and is punishable by 1.5 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
- For first offenders cultivation of marijuana is a second degree felony and is punishable by 9 years of imprisonment and a fine of $10,000.
- Subsequent offenses are considered a first degree felony and are punishable by 18 years of imprisonment and a fine of $15,000.
- Cultivating marijuana within a drug-free school zone is a first degree felony and is punishable by 18 years of imprisonment and a fine of $15,000.
- Possession or distribution of marijuana paraphernalia used for the cultivation, distribution, or inhalation/ingestion of marijuana is a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of $50-$100 and/or up to 1 year imprisonment.
- Distribution of marijuana paraphernalia to a minor occurs when a person over the age of 18 distributes marijuana paraphernalia to a person under the age of 18. This offense is a fourth degree felony and is punishable by a fine of $5,000 and 1.5 years of imprisonment.
- Possession for personal use of more than 4 pounds of marijuana is a Class 4 felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 1 year, a maximum sentence of 3.75 years, and a minimum fine of $1000 or a fine to exhaust the proceeds of the drug offense.
- If probation is granted after conviction for this offense, the offender will face a mandatory sentence of 24 hours of community service.
Pending Ballot Measure for 2016 General Elections
On February 14, 2016, New Mexico lawmakers killed a bill that would have amended the state constitution to legalize adult use of marijuana citing fear of increased crime rates as a primary reason. However, a number of organizations have submitted proposals for taking the issue to voters in November. As of February, 2016, there were currently 11 ballot measures pending certification in the 2016 general election in New Mexico:
- New Mexico Marijuana Legalization Amendment (2016)
- New Mexico Use of Marijuana Revenues Amendment (2016)
- Industrial Hemp Research (2016)
- Medical Cannabis & Worker’s Comp (2016)
- Medical Cannabis Reimbursable Benefit (2016)
- Local Approval of Cannabis Locations (2016)
- Medical Cannabis Reimbursable Benefit (2016)
- Medical Cannabis User Discrimination (2016)
- Use and Tax of Marijuana and Revenue (2016)
- Cannabis Revenue & Freedom Act (2016)
- General appropriations Act of 2016
New Mexico Resources:
For information about registering as a cannabis patient, visit the New Mexico Department of Health website
New Mexico Chapter of NORML: http://norml.org/chapters/NM
Updates about the 2016 Ballot Initiative: BallotPedia.com
Marijuana Policy Project information on New Mexico Ballot Initiatives and Pending Legislation
News and Articles Related to New Mexico Marijuana Laws:
More information coming soon.