Monday, March 27, 2023

It's Legal! Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis Legalization in NM

We Break Down the Info For Growers and Consumers


On Tuesday, June 29 possession and use of recreational cannabis will become legal in New Mexico for adults 21 and over. Here's a list of all the info consumers and potential business applicants need to know.

When does it start?

June 29, personal recreational use becomes legal. Licenses to sell are expected to be issued in early 2022, but no later than April 1, 2022.

How much can you buy?

You can't buy anything right now. Once the business licenses are issued, you will be able to buy and possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis or 16 ounces of extract or 800 milligrams of edible cannabis from a licensed store.

Until then, the only legal way to obtain cannabis is to grow it yourself (more below) or obtain it from a friend who can legally "transfer, without financial consideration" up to 2 ounces to anyone over the age of 21.

Should you keep my medical cannabis card for the medical cannabis program?

Yes! Under the new law, a certain amount of medical cannabis won't be taxed. All recreational cannabis will be taxed.

Medical dispensaries will continue to operate for medical patients.

Is recreational cannabis federally legal?

No. Even though it is legal in New Mexico and 18 other states, it is not federally legal.

When can you apply for a license to produce, manufacture or sell cannabis?

The law says that the state must begin accepting applications no later than Sept. 1, 2021, but officials have said they expect to begin taking new production licenses in late July and other types of licenses later this summer.

Who can apply for a license?

Adults 21 and older can apply for a license, so long as they don't have a criminal workplace conviction such as fraud or embezzlement. Some other convictions for selling large amounts of hard drugs may also apply. (Cannabis convictions will be expunged)

What do you need to apply for a cannabis business license?

That depends. If you have control of a location (land or an indoor space), water rights and a lot of patience, you can apply. The application is expected to be hundreds of pages long so be prepared to answer technical questions about your process for growing, submit to state inspections and have plans for testing, recall management and safety. If you need help, consultants are available to assist with this process.

How much will a license cost?

According to the law, a cannabis courier license costs $1,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises. The fees for cannabis testing license, cannabis research lab license, cannabis manufacturer license, cannabis producer license and cannabis retailer license each cost $2,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises. A vertically-integrated establishment license (for establishments that will act as producers, couriers and retailers) application fee will put a company back $7,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises. The license application fee for setting up a cannabis consumption area will cost $2,500.

A cannabis producer microbusiness (up to 200 plants) application fee is only $1,000 a year, and the fee for an integrated microbusiness license is only $2,500 a year plus $500 for each additional licensed premises.

A cannabis activity license is valid for 12 months. Renewals can only happen after the Cannabis Control Division has received confirmation that the licensee is up-to-date on their taxes and has filed all of the tax returns associated with their cannabis business. Applicants must submit to a criminal history and background check by the FBI and the Department of Public Safety.

Will medical cannabis businesses continue to operate?

A medical cannabis business owner in good standing may continue to operate under their current medical cannabis license until licenses for commercial cannabis activity are available.

Patients are especially protected by the law. “Nothing in the Cannabis Regulation Act shall be construed to limit a privilege or right of a qualified patient, a primary caregiver or a reciprocal participant,” it says.

How much can a business grow?

Lawmakers will require that all licensees reserve 10 percent of their inventory every month for medical cannabis patients.

Larger businesses can have a maximum plant count of 4500. Microgrowers can get licenses to grow up to 200 plants.

Can you grow at home for personal use?

Yes, up to six plants for an individual or 12 plants for a household of two or more adults over 21. You do not need a permit to grow at home.

Where can you consume cannabis?

Other than consuming in your own home, some cannabis retailers will eventually be able to businesses will be able to designate public consumption areas. But don't look for those until at least 2023.

It will still be against the law to consume cannabis in public outside of those permitted consumption areas.

How much will recreational cannabis cost?

Officials say the market will determine the price later on. Right now, the Department of Health says the price of a gram of medical cannabis ranged from $9.25-$11.64 in 2020.

For more information about proposed rules for businesses visit the state Regulation and Licensing Department's Cannabis Control Division at


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