The New Mexico Cannabis Control Division (CCD) announced on December 28 that it has finalized the rules for cannabis manufacturers, retailers and couriers. The final rules were published in Issue 24 of the New Mexico Register. Hundreds of applications for licenses are currently under review.
The rules are effective immediately, with last-minute revisions following several rounds of public comment from small business owners, CEOs and other businesspeople.
“Every day brings us closer to the first adult-use cannabis sales in New Mexico,” Cannabis Control Division Director Kristen Thomson said in a press release. “Thanks to the Cannabis Control Division’s open and transparent rule-making process over the past six months, businesses and consumers can be confident that all necessary support and protection is in place to ensure a thriving cannabis industry in our state.”
Under the state Cannabis Regulation Act, adult sales in New Mexico are scheduled to begin by April 1, 2022. The rules that took effect Tuesday include manufacturing rules that replace emergency manufacturing rules implemented last fall, with intentions to protect workers and improve workplace safety.
The rules outline the licensing of retail stores, with new restrictions. The courier rules set guidelines for safe delivery and proper distribution of cannabis products by licensed couriers.
According to a news release, the CCD has been accepting manufacturing and retail license applications through its online licensing system and has received more than 300 submitted applications total across all industry sectors.
“Our dedicated team of professionals is working hard through the holidays and… every day to work with applicants to get licenses issued and businesses up and running,” Thomson said. “Standing up a thriving new industry is no small feat, and I know that our team, our system and New Mexico’s prospective licensees are up to the challenge. New Mexico will be ready for adult-use sales in 2022.”
Manufacturers are also prohibited from adding nicotine or caffeine to cannabis products under the final rules, but naturally-occuring caffeine is tolerated. Manufacturing licenses are divided into four classes:
- Class I: packaging and re-packaging of already-made products
- Class II: manufacturing of edibles or topical products from already-extracted products; can also conduct Class I activities
- Class III: manufacturing of extracts (extracting) using mechanical methods and nonvolatile solvents; can also conduct Class I and Class II activities
- Class IV: manufacturing of extracts (extracting) using volatile solvents or supercritical CO2; can also conduct Class I, Class II, and Class III activities
Once retail sales begin on April 1, 2022, customers ages 21 and over, and people 18 and over who possess a valid qualified patient, primary caregiver or reciprocal participant registry identification card, will be allowed inside.
Retailers can take cannabis out of the packaging to display for customers, but the displayed product cannot be sold or consumed, and it must be destroyed. Retailers are also prohibited from providing free samples. Many other restrictions apply.
Courier Rules (Delivery)
The maximum retail value of products that a courier can carry is $10,000, and couriers are not allowed to carry packages for delivery for more than 24 hours. Delivery recipients will have their identity Delivery recipients must either over 21 or older, or be 18 or older as a qualified medical cannabis patient or primary caregiver, and must be pre-verified electronically before a courier delivers cannabis.
The full list of final rules can be found on the New Mexico Commission of Public Records.
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department had issued a license to the first company, Mother’s Meds, to operate as a cannabis cultivator on November 1.
Deadlines were tight, but the state’s leadership pulled together. The final rules are in place four months ahead of the plan for adult-use cannabis sales. Under the Cannabis Regulation Act, which was passed earlier this year, cannabis industry rules need to be in place by January 1, 2022, and adult-use cannabis sales will start by April 1, 2022.