New Mexico and Cannabis. What You Should Know
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In New Mexico, authorities created the Medical Cannabis Program under the Compassionate Use Act to regulate and legalize the use of marijuana and cannabis products for those with certain medical conditions. It is also legal for those over the age of 21 who want to use it recreationally, although in both cases, consumption must take place on one’s private property where it isn’t visible to the public.
Marijuana use in New Mexico is never legal on public transportation, on school campuses, in places of employment, at public parks, on rec center premises, or at youth centers. It is always illegal to drive or operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, whether it is being consumed for medical or recreational use.
As with any substance that is legal in some places or instances but not in others, though, it is important to have all the information at your disposal so that you know your rights and responsibilities.
Let’s look at New Mexico’s laws surrounding medical marijuana and how to obtain it.
New Mexico Medical Marijuana Card
New Mexico residents suffering from a range of conditions have the right to receive a medical marijuana card. They must be diagnosed through a qualifying physician and fill out the required application in full.
Once the application is submitted, it can take up to 30 days to process all of the paperwork. Then, it could take an additional five days to issue the card. If you are re-applying for an existing card about to expire, the New Mexico Department of Health recommends beginning the application 45−60 days before the current card expires to prevent delays or gaps. If you need or use medical marijuana for a serious condition, you don’t want to be left without your privileges.
Is Medical Cannabis Legal in New Mexico?
Yes, medical cannabis is legal in New Mexico. Not only is it legal, but the state has a Medical Cannabis Program that makes the process streamlined and stressless for patients needing medical marijuana to deal with symptoms of their condition.
Anyone in New Mexico who is 21 or older, whether or not they have a medical marijuana card, is legally allowed to purchase, possess, and give to other qualifying adults legal amounts of cannabis. Legal amounts are up to two ounces of dried cannabis, up to 16 grams of concentrated product, and up to 800 milligrams of cannabis in edible form.
Larger amounts of cannabis can legally be possessed as long as they are in a locked space in one’s home where they are not visible or easily accessible to the public. Children should never be allowed access to marijuana products, whether or not they are for recreational or medical use. There is a $30 annual fee for the license to grow marijuana.
It is also legal to make your own edibles at home or create extracts (as long as they don’t contain volatile compounds). New Mexico law allows for the ownership, creation, and choice to give away marijuana paraphernalia.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New Mexico
When a new patient needs to qualify for the MCP in New Mexico, they must fill out a Medical Cannabis Application and send it in by mail or fill it out online. Every section of the form should be completed in as much detail as possible so that the program can approve the application quickly and efficiently without delay.
Original documents need to be submitted, not copies. The program asks that documents are signed in blue ink to ensure they are original papers. This also prevents documents from being reused in an illegal capacity.
Qualifying Conditions for a Medical Marijuana Card in New Mexico
There is a range of conditions that qualify someone to have a medical marijuana card in New Mexico. These include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as ALS)
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Chron’s disease
- Spinal cord nervous tissue damage
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
- Friedreich’s ataxia
- Hepatitis C (with a patient currently undergoing antiviral therapy)
- Patients currently in hospice care
- Inclusion body myositis
- Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis
- Intractable nausea or vomiting
- Lewy body disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Opioid addiction or opioid disorder
- Peripheral neuropathy with extreme pain
- Chronic pain
- Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis)
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Ulcerative colitis
This list is not exhaustive, though. If a patient has a condition not listed here and they or their doctor feels that medical marijuana would help their symptoms, the person can petition the Medical Advisory Board. The Board reserves the right to add that person’s condition to the list of qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana use in New Mexico.
Write-in diagnoses are not accepted at this time, however.
Those with medical conditions and a physician’s recommendation for marijuana use, and those who simply want to use it recreationally, are allowed to grow their own marijuana. The limits for at-home cultivation are six immature and six mature plants at one time, with a maximum of 12 mature plants present in one household. The growing area must be in an enclosed space where the plants aren’t visible to the public eye.
New Mexico Cannabis Caregiver Requirements
Some medical conditions make it difficult for a patient to get out of their home and obtain their medical marijuana prescriptions or recommended doses. Thus, many states (including New Mexico) allow for patients to designate one or multiple caregivers who can pick up their cannabis products for them. Anyone can become a designated caregiver as long as they fill out the application and fulfill the requirements. Then, they can go to any dispensary and purchase the necessary products.
Designated caregivers receive their own card from the New Mexico Department of Health separate from the patient’s card. Each time they go to a dispensary to purchase marijuana or cannabis products for their patient, they must present their card.
Caregivers must provide a current driver’s license or state-issued ID when applying for their license, as well as submit to (and clear) a background check.
There are fees associated with caregiver licenses, too, and regulations surrounding how many caregivers a single patient can have. Check with your specific New Mexico county to determine how many caregivers one patient can have and how much each subsequent caregiver application costs.
Medical Marijuana Doctors in New Mexico
To be able to prescribe and/or administer medical marijuana in New Mexico, a physician must be identified and licensed in the state to work with substances subject to the Controlled Substance Act. In New Mexico, the relationship between the patient and the physician is valued and respected; a solid relationship helps maintain confidence and trust in the Medical Cannabis Program.
To find a qualifying physician in New Mexico, one simply needs to do an Internet search for “medical marijuana doctors near me.” It is the patient’s responsibility, however, to vet their doctor, read reviews, and ensure that their physician is educated, qualified, and experienced. There is no blanket type of medical marijuana or amount that works for everyone, so each patient will want to make sure that their doctor is prescribing them a type and amount specific to their condition.
New Mexico Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses
All operations dispensing cannabis in New Mexico must have a license from the Cannabis Control Division. This division reviews applications and gives licenses to establishments distributing cannabis or marijuana for adult use.
To obtain a license to dispense cannabis in a retail business, the annual fee is $2,500. If one business has other franchise locations, each one will need an additional license at $1,000 per location.
In addition to legalizing the medical use of marijuana, it is also legal for recreational use for New Mexico residents over the age of 21. This means that dispensaries are popping up all over the state. Applications must be filed through the state website.
New Mexico Medical Marijuana Card Laws
New Mexico medical marijuana patients must be referred by a qualifying physician and have a condition listed on the state’s list of qualifying conditions or have their condition accepted by the state board.
There is no age requirement to become a medical marijuana patient in New Mexico, but minors under the age of 18 may need a legal guardian’s authorization to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis. The legal guardian will then be the patient’s caregiver and will obtain the products for the minor patient, as well as retain responsibility for administering the product.
It is beneficial to have a medical marijuana card in New Mexico because if you are arrested for possession, you won’t be able to be charged with a criminal offense.
New Mexico Medical Marijuana Card Reciprocity
New Mexico recognizes other states’ medical marijuana use cards. Visitors to the state who purchase and/or use medical marijuana in New Mexico are offered legal protection while inside New Mexico’s borders. When a patient with a valid card from another state purchases cannabis in New Mexico, they will be registered in the New Mexico Health Department’s database and considered a reciprocal patient.