Learn more about New Mexico Medical Marijuana

New Mexico Marijuana Guide

by / Sunday, 20 October 2013 / Published in New Mexico

Although New Mexico has not decriminalized marijuana and considers pot an hallucinogenic substance under its Controlled Substance Act, it does allow residents affected by specified diseases to use marijuana legally for medicinal purposes. However, compared to pot laws of other states that have yet to decriminalize the possession and use of recreational marijuana, New Mexico’s laws are much less severe and do not carry the lengthy jail times and high fines associated with pot laws in states like Florida or Texas.

  • Currently, anyone caught with one ounce or less of marijuana who is not a certified medical marijuana user will be charged with a misdemeanor, given a 15-day jail sentence and be fined $100. For a second offense charge of holding one ounce or less, the person still receives a misdemeanor charge but may spend up to one year in jail and pay a fine of $1000.
  • Pot possession remains a misdemeanor charge in New Mexico until you are caught with more than eight ounces. It then becomes a felony, with the arrestee facing one and a half years in prison and a $5000 fine.
  • Distributing (selling) less than 100 pounds of pot is a misdemeanor in New Mexico but if you are caught with more than 100 pounds, you will be charged with a felony. The only difference between first and second offense charges of selling pot is an addition year and a half in prison. The fine of $5000 remains the same for both charges. Probably the worst penalties involving the distribution of pot in New Mexico concerns being caught selling in a “drug-free school zone”. This is a felony and will get you nearly 20 years in state prison and a $15,000 fine.
  • Cultivation of any amount of pot is a felony giving those convicted of growing pot up to nine years for a first offense and up to 18 years for a second offense. Possessing hash or paraphernalia is a misdemeanor with the potential for up to a year in jail and a $100 fine.

House Bill 465

Earlier this year, House Bill 465 passed New Mexico’s state house and is currently waiting for further review from the House Judiciary Committee. Introduced by Rep. Emily Kane, House Bill 465 seeks to decriminalize pot in New Mexico by reducing penalties for residents found in possession of less then four ounces of marijuana. With the latest polls showing that almost 60 percent of New Mexicans supporting decriminalization, PotIntel.com predicts that New Mexico will be yet another state giving its approval for the legalization of recreational marijuana and the establishment of retail and tax guidelines for pot entrepreneurs wanting to set up shop in the state.


House Bill 403


New Mexico Medical Marijuana

Another bill collecting dust on state lawmakers’ desks is House Bill 403, a bill introduced in 2009 by Rep. Ray Begave that promotes the “growing, processing and selling of industrial hemp in New Mexico”. Two years prior to the creation of HB 403, House Memorial 49 asked the New Mexico State University Board of Regents to begin investigating the viability of farmers growing, selling and profiting from industrial hemp crops. Specifically, HM 49 asked Congress to consider viewing hemp as a “valuable agricultural commodity” and to further change the federal definition of industrial hemp to a “non-psychoactive and genetically identifiable species of the genus Cannabis, and acknowledge that allowing and encouraging farmers to produce industrial hemp will improve the balance of trade by promoting domestic sources of industrial hemp”.

The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act

In 2007, Governor Bill Richardson legalized medical marijuana by signing Bill 523, otherwise known as the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. Amended in 2009, Bill 523 now provides finalized guidelines for the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana for people diagnosed with severe and chronic pain; Crohn’s disease; ALS; cancer; arthritis; epilepsy; glaucoma; HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.

When presenting authorization by a physician, medical marijuana patients are permitted to possess six ounces or less of medical cannabis and 12 immature/four mature plants. In some cases, patients are allowed to have more than six ounces for medicinal use as long as a physician submits a statement to the Department of Health claiming that the patient, for whatever reason, requires more than six ounces to treat their condition.

Physicians who feel that a patient would benefit from medical marijuana but the patient cannot be diagnosed with qualifying condition can petition the Medical Advisory Board of New Mexico for the addition of the condition.


Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in New Mexico

Non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries operate in New Mexico to provide pot to patients who are unable to grow their own. In 2010, the NM Health Department increased the number of plants that can be legally cultivated by licensed producers from 95 to 150. Additionally, the amended regulations gave licensed producers the ability to obtain seeds, plants and “usable” marijuana from other non-profit growers and dispensaries.

Licensing fees for people who want to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in New Mexico is $5000 for a one-year license and $20,000 for a three-year license. At the moment, New Mexico is not accepting applications from people interested in opening a dispensary. This is primarily because the state has declared 23 LNPPs (Licensed Non-Profit Producers) necessary to accommodate the number of card-carrying medical marijuana patients currently living in New Mexico. However, the Department of Health periodically monitors this number to determine whether additional dispensaries are needed.


Video on New Mexico Medical Marijuana

http://nmhealth.org/mcp (New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program)
http://nmmmj.com/albuquerque-dispensaries (List of Albuquerque Medical Marijuana Dispensaries)

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