New Mexico Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

Anyone following our blog will know that the legalization of recreational cannabis has been on the agenda in New Mexico for some time.

Last year, we reported that the Cannabis Law Board drafted a letter requesting that the governor place cannabis legalization on the agenda for the emergency legislative session.

It was confirmed in March 2021 that New Mexico was set to become the 17th state to legalize recreational cannabis usage when the state’s legislature passed the Cannabis Regulation Act – on the same day that New York State legalized it (followed shortly after by Virginia).

Gov. Grisham signs the bill

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recently signed the bill legalizing recreational cannabis usage

The law also expunges the criminal records of people who possessed cannabis for personal use. Gov. Grisham noted that the law makes it fairer on communities of color, who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Around 100 prisoners are set to have their sentences reconsidered under the new law – a move designed to unclog the state prison system of low-level offenders.

“Legalized adult-use cannabis is going to change the way we think about New Mexico for the better — our workforce, our economy, our future,” Gov. Grisham said.

Within the Act, specific mentions are made of Acequia, tribal, land grant, and other historic communities, in a move that recognizes the unique racial makeup of the state and people’s relationship with cannabis.

The move to decriminalize cannabis is increasingly seen around the country as a benefit for workers, entrepreneurs and the government. The resultant new industry creates jobs and earns more tax revenue for the state rather than operating unregulated and underground.

What does the Cannabis Regulation Act say?

The new laws in New Mexico allow any individual over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of cannabis, with six plants permitted at home – up to a maximum of 12 plants per household.

Under the legislation outlined in the Cannabis Regulation Act, the industry will be regulated by the state. Sales of cannabis must begin no later than April 2022 and, unlike with New York’s legislation, local governments are prevented from opting out of retail sales.

The tax rate on sales has been set at 12 percent initially, rising to 18 percent. It is estimated that this will generate approximately $20 million in revenue for the state in 2023 plus $10 million for local governments.

Do you have an outstanding legal issue concerning cannabis?

While the states are moving quickly to decriminalize cannabis (a move supported by over 90 percent of Americans according to the Pew Research Center), there are still people in New Mexico caught up in outstanding legal issues concerning cannabis usage, possession or distribution.

If you have a legal issue concerning cannabis, call (505) 445-4444 to talk to an experienced lawyer at Legal Solutions of New Mexico in Albuquerque.