Is Recreational Weed Legal in New Mexico?

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
August 14, 2021
Marijuana in New Mexico Legal
Marijuana in New Mexico Legal

Yes, recreational weed/marijuana is legal in New Mexico, as of June 29th, 2021.  The Land of Enchantment permits all adults at least 21 of age to possess weed in many forms and allows the cultivation of marijuana as well.  Also, this state has maintained a medical marijuana program for a number of years.


History of Weed Laws

New Mexico has been recognized as the first state to develop laws for medical marijuana use, back in 1978 in response to the work of Lynn Pierson, a state resident who fought for legalization as she sought out marijuana for therapeutic use while battling cancer.  The state legalized the use of medical marijuana under specific health-related conditions.


In 2007, New Mexico successfully passed SB 523, named the Lynn and Eric Compassionate Use Act, which was a medical marijuana program regulated by the state’s Department of Health.  The state recognizes 28 conditions that are eligible for the use of medical marijuana.


The first form of recreational legalization came from Albuquerque lawmakers who decriminalized possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by requiring only a $25 fine.  Then, in April of 2019, Governor Grisham decriminalized first-time possession for those 18 or older, which allowed those with half an ounce of cannabis or less to pay only a $50 fine rather than go to jail.


Finally, the Cannabis Regulation Act, or HB 2, was signed by the governor in April of 2021, effectively legalizing adult-use recreational cannabis.  It determined that all adults 21 or older could legally purchase, possess, consume, and gift marijuana, and also developed laws permitting adults to cultivate cannabis as well.  Another bill was added to expunge charges of anyone who did not break the cannabis laws as they now stand in the state.


This state’s Medical Cannabis Program is regulated by their Department of Health to this day, while the Cannabis Control Division regulates the adult-use marijuana market.


Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in New Mexico?

At the moment, NM does not have dispensaries set up for adult-use marijuana, and so recreational users cannot purchase cannabis through regulated retail establishments just yet.  This means that only authorized medical patients and caregivers can purchase cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary.  Also, the state allows deliveries to be made to patients’ homes.


Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?

For the time-being, medical patients can only consume cannabis in private, out of public view, and this applies to recreational users as well.  Consuming cannabis in public is illegal, so it must be done on private property.  Users can face legal charges for consuming, possessing, transporting, or distributing cannabis while on a school bus or public transportation vehicle, on school campuses, at workplaces, in public parks, at youth centers or at recreation centers.  Driving under the influence is a crime in New Mexico, and both drivers and passengers are forbidden to consume cannabis in a vehicle whether or not it is moving.


Possession Laws

New Mexico possession laws are expected to change in the coming months and years due to recent adjustments in legislation.  As of now, adult users who are at least 21 years of age can possess, consume and gift up to 2 ounces of flower, 16 grams of concentrate and 600 milligrams of edibles.  Higher amounts that are unspecified can be kept in home if they are stored in a locked box out of public view.


A medical patient can possess up to 8 ounces of cannabis per 3-month period.


Can Residents Grow Their Own?

As of now, New Mexico law does not recognize cultivation among recreational users, but again, this may change soon as a result of the very new legalization laws.  The law states that medical patients may have up to 4 mature plants and 12 seedlings.


Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is maintained through the New Mexico Registry which allows medical patients to submit an application to be approved to purchase cannabis from a state-licensed dispensary.  Approval is valid for each year, and patients must therefore resubmit annually.  The state does not require a fee for applying.


Qualifying Conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Anorexia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hospice care
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inclusion-body myositis
  • Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Lewy body disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe chronic pain
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Ulcerative colitis


Any medical patient with a condition not on this list can petition for medical marijuana approval with a doctor’s certification.


Patient Qualifications:

To qualify for medical marijuana, a patient must be diagnosed with one of the above conditions or have successfully petitioned to be included in the registry despite having a condition not on the list above.  All patients are required to have a certification from a physician.


How to Register for Medical Marijuana in New Mexico

To register for medical marijuana in NM, a registry application must be completed through the state’s New Mexico Registry website.  They must have a certification from their healthcare provider that is to be submitted, along with a state-issued ID such as a driver’s license, and they can designate a caregiver if applicable.


Qualifying as a Caregiver

Patients can designate up to two caregivers, who must both be at least 21 years of age and care for only one patient at a time.  Caregivers must submit an application to the state.  A patient below the age of 18 is required to designate a caregiver, who may be a parent or legal guardian.


Registering as a Caregiver

To register as a caregiver, the caregiver must apply through the New Mexico Department of Health.


Reciprocity Laws

As of July of 2020, New Mexico permits out-of-state authorized medical marijuana patients to purchase cannabis at state-licensed dispensaries within the state.  Furthermore, residents from out of state may purchase cannabis for ailments outside of those deemed qualifying conditions by New Mexico.


Licensing Laws

The state requires that all cannabis products undergo third-party testing by a laboratory that has been licensed by the state.  This testing process looks for contaminants, microbes, and impurities, while identifying the cannabinoid profile and potency of a product.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1: How Long Has Weed Been Legal in New Mexico?

New Mexico is one of the more recent states to permit the use of recreational marijuana, which has only been legalized since June of 2021.


#2: Can I Use Cannabis in Public?

It is strictly illegal to consume cannabis in public in New Mexico, as residents are required to consume it only on private property and out of public view.


#3: Can I Have Weed Delivered to My Home?

Only medical patients can have weed delivered to their homes from a dispensary.  The law currently prohibits weed delivery to be provided to recreational users.


#4: How Old Do I Have to Be to Legally Use Cannabis?

Only adults 21 or older are legally permitted to purchase and consume cannabis in New Mexico.


#5: Can I Grow My Own Cannabis?

You can only grow cannabis if you are an authorized medical patient.  Presently, NM does not allow recreational users to grow their own weed.


#6: Can I Buy Dabs in New Mexico?

New Mexico allows recreational and medical patients living in places like Albuquerque or Santa Fe to purchase concentrates, which means that dabbing is legal throughout the state.