Since June 2021, recreational cannabis usage has been legalized in New Mexico, as it has in a growing number of U.S. states.
The New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act introduced a set of rules for how those interested in using, growing, distributing or selling cannabis must proceed.
There is, however, still some confusion about who can do what, what the limits are, and how entrepreneurs can get set up in the emerging cannabis industry.
Unfortunately, you can still end up with a criminal charge for possession of cannabis (or worse) if you do not obey the rules.
Here are the basics of what you need to know about the recreational cannabis laws in New Mexico…
Age requirement for cannabis possession and usage
Under the regulations, the legal age to purchase, possess, and use cannabis is 21. Anyone who wants to work in the cannabis industry must also be 21 or older.
These age restrictions are mainly to protect against the possibility of children acquiring and using cannabis. The New Mexico government has included provisions in the Cannabis Regulation Act to reduce the likelihood of children gaining access to cannabis.
Note that you are not allowed to smoke cannabis in public except in licensed cannabis consumption areas. A civil penalty of $50 may be applied if you break this rule.
Maximum amount of cannabis allowed
Under the new laws, the maximum amount of cannabis that you can purchase or possess outside of your home is two ounces or 57 grams.
Bear in mind that the average joint is estimated at around 0.66 grams. Two ounces, therefore, equates to around 80 joints.
If you purchase cannabis extract, the limit is 16 grams and, for edible cannabis, the limit is 800 milligrams.
Inside of your home, the recreational cannabis laws allow New Mexico residents to possess more than two ounces providing that it is out of view of the public.
The new rules are seen as a step forward for equality in the state. Previously, a disproportionate number of people of color were prosecuted for cannabis possession in New Mexico.
The new laws mean that law enforcement can no longer stop or detain a person solely if they smell cannabis.
However, any violation of the rules can lead to a misdemeanor or fourth-degree felony charge, depending on the amount of cannabis you possess.
Growing limits and business licenses in the New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act
The New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act states that if you are 21 or older, you can grow up to six mature plants (and six immature plants) or 12 mature plants per household without a permit – as long as the plants are grown in private and out of public view.
The availability of licenses to enter the key sectors of the cannabis industry has created considerable excitement for entrepreneurs in New Mexico.
For instance, cannabis “microbusiness” licenses will allow up to 200 pot plants at seed-to-sales cannabis operations.
Despite the new regulations easing the rules on recreational cannabis, licenses are not just given away by the Cannabis Control Division. Both microbusinesses and larger cannabis businesses may face considerable obstacles to securing their preferred license.
The 12 sectors requiring licenses
The new laws outline 12 essential areas of the cannabis supply chain for which a permit will be required to conduct business:
- Cannabis consumption areas (e.g., smoking lounges)
- Couriers and transporters
- Producers (growers or wholesalers)
- Research Labs
- Testing labs
- Cannabis training and education programs
- Cannabis microbusinesses with multiple roles (such as growing and serving)
- Vertically integrated businesses (with multiple roles, such as manufacture, transport, and retail)
How much will a license cost?
Licensing costs vary depending on the type of cannabis business you are looking to start.
Each license last for 12 months and the following are some examples of what you can expect to pay:
- Cannabis courier license: $1,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises
- Cannabis testing license: $2,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises
- Cannabis research lab license: $2,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises
- Cannabis manufacturer license: $2,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises
- Cannabis producer license: $2,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises
- Cannabis retailer license: $2,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises
- Vertically-integrated establishment license: $7,500 a year, plus $1,000 for each additional licensed premises.
- Cannabis consumption area license: $2,500.
- Microbusiness license (up to 200 plants): $1,000 a year.
- Integrated microbusiness license: $2,500 a year plus $500 for each additional licensed premises.
It is advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced cannabis business license lawyer to assist with obtaining a cannabis business license. All license applicants must submit to a criminal history and background check by the FBI and the Department of Public Safety and meet other legal requirements before a license is awarded.
If you are looking to get set up with a cannabis business license in New Mexico, call (505) 445-4444 for a free case evaluation. You can discuss your needs with a knowledgeable and experienced cannabis lawyer at Legal Solutions of New Mexico in Albuquerque.