Cannabis has been used in the medical profession in New Mexico since the late 1970s. The state was the first in the country to enact a medical cannabis law and medical cannabis has been fully legal in the state since 2007.
The laws were designed “to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system to alleviate symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.”
Medical cannabis business licenses have been available in New Mexico since 2007. However, with the passing of the bill that legalized recreational adult-use cannabis in 2019, it is time to review what operating a legal medical cannabis business in New Mexico entails with licensing.
What’s changed for medical cannabis licensees in New Mexico?
Now that recreational (adult-use) cannabis has been legalized in New Mexico, some concerns have been raised that this could lead to a shortage of cannabis available for patients with medical conditions that require treatment with cannabis.
A regulatory body called the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) was set up to control and regulate the cannabis industry in New Mexico. It is a part of the Regulation and Licensing Department.
Medical cannabis, however, is still overseen by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). This department controls the medical cannabis patient registry.
The Medical Cannabis Advisory Board (MCAB) is also responsible for:
- Reviewing and recommending to the NMDOH additional conditions that would benefit from the medical use of cannabis.
- Accepting and reviewing petitions to add medical conditions/treatments or diseases to the list of debilitating medical conditions that qualify for the use of medical cannabis.
- Recommending quantities of cannabis necessary for an adequate supply, and
- Issuing recommendations concerning rules for the issuance of registry identification cards.
The board consists of nine practitioners appointed by the Secretary of Health and convenes at least twice each year with public meetings. They have developed a list of around 30 qualifying conditions for medical cannabis users.
Their work, together with that of the CCD, should alleviate the fears about a lack of cannabis available for medical usage now that recreational cannabis is legal.
The medical cannabis laws are constantly evolving even with the legalization of adult-use cannabis.
In July 2020, New Mexico began allowing out-of-state patients to purchase medical cannabis within the state. Under these laws, a patient from any state, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and New Mexico native tribes can purchase cannabis here.
Furthermore, in August 2021, a New Mexico judge ordered that purchase limits for medical cannabis patients should be increased to comply with the new recreational cannabis laws that came into effect in June of that year.
Types of medical cannabis licenses
No new current Medical Licensed Non-Profit Producers (LNPP) licenses are available at this time in New Mexico.
However, existing medical cannabis dispensaries that obtain a recreational cannabis dispensary license are permitted to operate both entities in the same/shared location.
An unlimited number of cannabis business licenses are available for the adult-use cannabis industry and applications are currently being assessed and licenses awarded. There are 10 types of cannabis business licenses available, including for the following business types:
- Producers (growers)
- Cannabis consumption areas
- Vertically integrated establishments
- Integrated microbusinesses.
While there are still opportunities for growers, producers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers to enter the industry, the regulators are watching the market closely to ensure that “market equilibrium” is maintained. The CCD can stop issuing new licenses at any time.
Get your New Mexico cannabis business license
The cannabis industry is going to become increasingly competitive in New Mexico and medical cannabis businesses are no longer the only dispensaries on the street.
At Legal Solutions of New Mexico in Albuquerque, our experienced cannabis business lawyers can help you navigate any legal hurdles you may face in setting up or expanding your cannabis business. Call (505) 445-4444 to talk to a knowledgeable cannabis lawyer during a free case valuation.