While New Mexico has yet to legalize recreational marijuana, in 2019 lawmakers decriminalized the possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana. The state has also passed a comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Recreational Marijuana in New Mexico
The New Mexico Legislature in March 2019 approved Senate Bill 323 to decriminalize first-time penalties for the possession of up to one-half ounce of marijuana. Rather than a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail, offenders are given a ‘penalty assessment,’ punishable by a $50 fine. Subsequent offenses and instances in which an individual possess more than one-half ounce of marijuana remain subject to jail time. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on April 3, 2019. The reduced penalties take effect on July 1, 2019.
Until the decriminalization bill takes effect, under state law the possession of 1 ounce or less is a misdemeanor and susceptible to a maximum fine of $100 and up to 15 days in jail for the first offense. Second offenses are subject to maximum fines of $1,000 and up to 1 year in jail. However, two major cities have decriminalized possession. Santa Fe eliminated criminal penalties associated with marijuana possession in 2014. Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, decriminalized up to 1 ounce of marijuana in 2018.
In April 2019, Gov. Lugan Grisham signed into law House Bill 370, The Criminal Record Expungement Act. The new law allows those convicted of certain violations, such as a misdemeanor conviction for marijuana possession, to petition the court for an order to expunge arrest records and public records related to that conviction. The new law takes effect January 1, 2020.
Medical Marijuana in New Mexico
Voters of New Mexico approved the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act in 2007 to legalize medical marijuana. The Medical Cannabis Program allows qualified patients to possess up to 8 ounces of medical cannabis over a 90-day period, although more if authorized by the physician.
The law also allows patients to apply for a Personal Production License, which would allow them to home cultivate a total of 16 plants, including four mature and 12 immature.
Medical marijuana is approved for the following conditions in New Mexico:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Cervical Dystonia
- Chronic and Severe Pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
- Degenerative Neurological Disorders
- Hepatitis C
- Hospice Care
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inclusion Body Myositis
- Inflammatory Autoimmune-Mediated Arthritis
- Intractable Nausea and Vomiting
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neurodegenerative Dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease)
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Opioid Use Disorder
- Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Spasmodic Torticollis
- Spinal Cord Damage
- Substance Use Disorder
- Ulcerative Colitis
New Mexico’s medical marijuana law also allows the recommendation of medical marijuana for “any serious medical condition, medical treatment or disease that a medical practitioner believes would be alleviated by the use of cannabis.”
Consumption of CBD from Hemp Oil in New Mexico
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in New Mexico
New Mexico joined a growing number of states in allowing hemp production in September 2017. Senate Bill 6 permits the state’s Department of Agriculture to license the cultivation of industrial hemp for research and development purposes. Gov. Susana Martinez originally vetoed the bill, but State District Judge Sarah Singleton overturned it after concluding that the governor’s veto was done illegally.
Approved medical marijuana patients may apply for a Personal Production License, which allows them to grow up to 16 cannabis plants (4 mature, 12 immature) in their homes or properties.
Cultivating marijuana or hemp for personal use remains illegal in New Mexico and is charged as a felony punishable by 9 years incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine.
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