New Mexico Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In New Mexico?
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StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD
New MexicoNoYesYes

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in New Mexico?

No. Recreational adult-use cannabis is currently illegal in New Mexico, but recently two recreational bills have recently been introduced to the state senate. Advocates are now awaiting further progress hoping for a signed law by the end of the year. As senator Pirtle states, “Legalization is coming, and as a state, we must get ahead of the issue and pass legislation that does not harm our communities”. 

Other municipalities like Santa Fe and Albuquerque throughout the 2010’s have been successful in decriminalizing less than one oz of cannabis and limiting penalties to small fines.

Is Medical Marijuana legal in New Mexico?

Yes. Medical Marijuana was made legal in 2007, with the signing of Senate Bill 523, the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act. Under this law, patients with a doctor’s recommendation can possess and use medical marijuana products to treat qualifying conditions, including; cancer, MS, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and other severe or terminal illnesses. Later expansions to the law allowed for patient or caregiver home cultivation. 

As of 2020, over 80,000 medical marijuana patients can purchase up to 8 oz of cannabis products (including flower, concentrates, and edibles) per 90 days and cultivate up to 16 plants per home. 

New Mexico has been at the forefront of medical marijuana, first passing legislation In 1978.  Under the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, New Mexico began allowing very limited use of cannabis to help control cancer patients’ nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, but only when other nausea-control drugs failed. From 1978-1986 more than 250 cancer patients received medicinal marijuana via the research program, which helped bring attention to mainstream media about marijuana’s benefits.  

Are CBD products legal in New Mexico? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States, as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

Is cannabis delivery legal in New Mexico?

Delivery is legal only for medical marijuana. 

Delivery services are still subject to local limits based on time, place, and manner of delivery (operating hours and delivery locations). 

New Mexico’s Cannabis Timeline:

1923: New Mexico prohibits cannabis. 

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist, was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth.”) The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1978: New Mexico’s Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act allowed very limited use of cannabis to help control cancer patients’ nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, but only when other nausea-control drugs failed.

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws created, including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the promotion of the death penalty to be used against “drug kingpins.”

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.  

2007: New Mexico Senate Bill 523, Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, legalizes the state’s medical-marijuana program.

2010’s: New Mexico municipalities decriminalize small amounts of cannabis possessions. 

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act. 

2021: Recreational bills introduced to New Mexico state senate.

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