On April 12, 2021, New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize recreational marijuana under The Cannabis Regulation Act. As the most recent development in the “green wave” sweeping the US, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 2 only hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed New York’s adult-use marijuana bill into law.
The Land of Enchantment was the first to enact legislation that recognized the value of medical cannabis. Around 10 years ago, the state established a medical marijuana program, but it was only recently in 2019 that marijuana was decriminalized. Now, adults 21 and older can possess up to 2 ounces and cultivate up to six plants at home. Dispensaries are expected to begin sales on April 1st, 2022.
Grisham, who is a known supporter of legalization, had pushed for the passage of the Act. The governor remarked that her signature was only a formality and called that legislation is a “major, major step forward” for the state. She added that recreational marijuana is going to change New Mexico’s workforce, economy, and future, for the better.
This article was reviewed and updated for 2021.
Overview of Cannabis Growing Laws in New Mexico
Under New Mexico’s marijuana laws, adults 21 and older, registered patients 18 and older and their designated caregivers may grow:
- Up to 6 recreational marijuana plants per adult and up to 12 per household.
- Up to 16 medical cannabis plants. Only 4 may be in the flowering state at a given time.
- No more than two people with a Personal Production License can grow at the same location or household. This means the maximum number of plants in one household can only be 32, with only 8 mature flowering plants.
- Caregivers may grow for up to 4 patients.
- Medical marijuana plants should only be cultivated in a space that can be locked and secured, away from public view.
Surprisingly, New Mexico’s marijuana laws are somewhat generous when it comes to home cultivation. This is a good thing since medical cannabis dispensaries in the state are reportedly having difficulties meeting customer demand.
This was last updated in April 2021. We will be updating this guide with new developments that may come out.
Punishments for Violating New Mexico’s Home Grow Laws
New Mexico residents are now allowed to cultivate marijuana at home but there is a limit to how many plants a person can grow per household. The limits are different for medical and recreational cannabis and it is not clear what exactly the penalties are for medical growers who violate the growing limit. The law only says that violators will face disciplinary action or have their licenses revoked. Meanwhile, those who go over the recreational marijuana limit will be charged with felony
- Growing marijuana without a license is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 9 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. A second offense gets a first-degree felony punishable by up to 18 years in prison and a fine of $15,000.
- It is a first-degree felony to grow marijuana in a drug-free school zone. This violation is punishable by 18 years of imprisonment and a fine of $15,000.
- Growers should not cultivate within 300 feet of any school, church, or daycare center.
History of marijuana in New Mexico
It is odd that recreational marijuana is still illegal in New Mexico since it is one of the first states that recognized the value of medical cannabis. In 1978, the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act was passed due to the efforts of a cancer patient named Lynn Pierson. Unfortunately, Pierson died before reaping the benefits of his work. However, the passage of the bill allowed approximately 250 cancer patients to receive cannabis or THC through the Lynn Pierson Therapeutic Research Program between 1978 and 1986.
The first major attempt to push for the legalization of recreational marijuana came in 1999 from the state’s 29th governor. However, Gov. Gary Johnson was met with resistance from various law enforcement officials, the lieutenant governor, and the Republican Party.
While Johnson continued to advocate for marijuana until the end of his term, it wasn’t until 2007 that Senate Bill 523 or the “Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act” got approved. However, it took a few more years before the allowance for home cultivation was added.
Although a bit late, the inevitability of recreational marijuana’s legalization in New Mexico took shape just last year when the House of Representatives voted to pass House Bill 356 in March. Although it stalled in the Senate Finance Committee, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham assured that the bill would be added to the legislative agenda in 2020. A month after that, the governor also signed Senate Bill 323 into law. This reduced penalties of first-time possession of up to half an ounce to a petty misdemeanor offense punishable by only a $50 fine.
Growing Medical Marijuana in New Mexico
New Mexico’s medical marijuana program does not have an online application portal. As of now, all applications will have to be mailed and dropped off to the addresses on the Medical Cannabis Program Patient Enrollment Application form. Applicants can also see the list of qualifying conditions in this form. Submit a completed form along with the following requirements:
- Copy of New Mexico driver’s license or photo ID (temporary IDs are acceptable)
- A one-page clinic note related to the patient’s qualifying condition.
Application for minors must include a Caregiver Application with all required documents completed by a Parent or Guardian and a copy of the patient’s birth certificate. Patients aged 18 or older whose form is signed by someone else will also need to submit a completed Medical Power of Attorney or Legal Guardianship.
Caregivers, on this other hand, must use the Medical Cannabis Caregiver Application form to apply. This must be submitted along with a Background check report. If the caregiver’s patient is a minor, a clear copy of the patient’s birth certificate and a completed “Parental Consent Form for Minors” must also be submitted.
There is no charge when applying or renewing a patient ID card. However, the application for marijuana cultivation is separate and costs $30. However, those who can prove their financial hardship can have this fee waived. Patients and caregivers who want to grow their own should use the Medical Cannabis Personal Production Application form to apply.
In terms of buying seeds, New Mexico’s Department of Health only says that anyone looking to purchase seeds, clones, or plants from a Licensed Non-Profit Producer will need to have their PPL card.
Marijuana home cultivation laws outside of New Mexico
How does New Mexico’s marijuana laws compare with home growing laws in other US states? Check out our post on Marijuana Growing Laws in the United States.
FAQs about growing marijuana in New Mexico
Yes, it is now legal to cultivate recreational cannabis at home in New Mexico.
Adults aged 21 and older may grow up to 6 plants for personal use at home and up to 12 per household.
Yes, patients and their caregivers may grow medical cannabis at home in New Mexico.
Medical cannabis growers are allowed to cultivate up to 16 plants but only up to 4 may be in the flowering state at a given time. The maximum number of plants in one household can only be 32, with only 8 mature flowering plants.
On your own property, in a locked space where the plants can be kept away from public view.
Patients and caregivers have to be at least 18 years old to grow medical marijuana and adults 21 and older to cultivate recreational marijuana at home in New Mexico.
New Mexico’s new marijuana home cultivation laws are fairly generous compared to those of other states where weed has long been legal. As long as you keep it within the limits and follow the rules strictly, you can grow weed with complete peace of mind in the comfort of your own home. Here are a couple of things you should always keep in mind.
- Never sell your cannabis. If you must give some, keep it under 2 oz and only to other patients and caregivers.
- Never carry marijuana anywhere near schools, daycares, and places frequented by minors.
- Always keep your marijuana and plants out of public view.
- Never consume in public or in your vehicle.