New Mexico Hemp Overview

  1. New Mexico Cannabis
  2. New Mexico Hemp

New Mexico THC Overview >

What Is Hemp?

Hemp and marijuana are two distinct species of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Although they are members of the same plant family, their chemical compositions and physical characteristics differ. One of the key distinctions between hemp and marijuana is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the psychoactive ingredient responsible for the "high", in both plants. Marijuana has high THC levels ranging from 5% to 30%, but hemp has relatively low THC levels, often less than 0.3%. Because of the difference in THC level, hemp is legal federally in accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill. On the other hand, marijuana remains a prohibited substance in the United States even though some states have legalized it.

Another difference between hemp and marijuana plants lies in their appearance. Hemp grows higher and has thinner leaves, but marijuana grows shorter and bushier and has larger leaves. However, some strains of hemp may resemble marijuana, which can confuse law enforcement officers and others who are unfamiliar with the distinctions between the two plants.

When hemp is called "industrial hemp," it usually refers to strains of the hemp plant that are cultivated for industrial reasons like fiber and seed production. Industrial hemp is often taller than other types of hemp and has a lower THC percentage.

Hemp seeds are a viable source of protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients. They are widely used in salads, smoothies, and other foods and may be consumed raw or roasted. Hemp seeds may also be pressed to obtain oil, which is used in a variety of foods and cosmetics.

The blooming section of the hemp plant, which includes a range of chemicals such as cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, is referred to as the hemp flower. These chemicals may provide a variety of health advantages, including pain alleviation, inflammation reduction, and improved sleep. Hemp flowers can be smoked, vaped, or used to make oils, tinctures, and other goods.

Hemp extract is a broad term for any extract obtained from the hemp plant. CBD (cannabidiol) oil, which is produced from the flowers and leaves of the hemp plant, may be used for its potential medicinal benefits. Other forms of extracts, such as those used in industrial applications, may also be referred to as hemp extract.

Hemp oil is extracted from hemp seeds by pressing them. It is high in fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, as well as other minerals, such as vitamin E. Hemp oil may be used in other applications, including cooking and baking, salad dressing, and skincare products.

Hemp hearts are the hemp plant's shelled seeds. They have high concentrations of fiber, protein, and healthy fats and may be either eaten raw or roasted. Hemp hearts are popular in salads, smoothies, and other foods, and they are also available as protein powders and supplements.

Hemp milk is a plant-based milk substitute manufactured from hemp seeds. It contains protein, healthy fats, and other necessary elements, and it may be used in the same manner that other varieties of milk, such as cow's milk or almond milk, are. Hemp milk is also widely used in smoothies, coffee drinks, and other dishes.

Is Hemp Legal in New Mexico?

Yes. In recent years, hemp policy in the United States has undergone considerable modifications. The 2014 Farm Bill was the first federal law to recognize hemp's potential as an agricultural crop and legalized hemp cultivation. The measure authorized states to establish hemp cultivation pilot programs for research purposes. This enabled states to evaluate the viability of hemp cultivation as an agricultural commodity and its potential economic benefits. The pilot programs were only for research purposes and required strict adherence to federal and state restrictions.

The 2018 Farm Bill extended the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill by removing hemp from the list of controlled substances, making commercial hemp cultivation legal. The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, and it legalized the government cultivation and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products, such as CBD oil.

Prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, the New Mexico legislature approved House Bill 144 and Senate Bill 6 with respect to hemp cultivation in the state. Although Governor Susana Martinez vetoed the bills, Justices at the New Mexico Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision to strike down the Governor's vetoes. The bills permitted the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to issue licenses for cultivating industrial hemp for research and development in compliance with the 2014 Farm Act.

The 2018 Farm Bill required states intending to regulate hemp cultivation to submit a plan to the USDA for approval before permitting residents to grow and process hemp. Pursuant to the USDA requirements, the plan submitted by a state must include provisions for testing, licensing, and monitoring hemp growers and processors.

As of January 2022, New Mexico started operating under a USDA-approved state plan administered by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA). Subsequently, the NMDA has promulgated rules for hemp cultivation and hemp manufacturing. New Mexico residents are permitted to cultivate and process hemp on their property if they have secured the requisite licenses and permissions from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA). Note that New Mexico permits hemp and hemp products to cross state boundaries as long as they comply with federal standards and state laws.

What Hemp Products are Legal in New Mexico?

All hemp products, including food and edibles, are legal in New Mexico as long as they do not have more than 0.3% THC. Residents can cultivate hemp but must obtain licenses from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA). Although smoking hemp is lawful in the state, it is not permitted in public areas.

While hemp is legal in New Mexico, hemp is frequently confused with marijuana due to its similar appearance and smell. As a result, persons who smoke hemp in public or while driving risk being mistaken for marijuana users and incurring legal repercussions.

Can A Municipality Restrict Hemp Cultivation or Processing in New Mexico?

New Mexico municipalities are not afforded the right to restrict hemp cultivation or processing within their borders completely. They can make rules limiting the areas where hemp cultivation and processing may occur.

How to Get a License to Grow or Process in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture licenses individuals or businesses cultivating hemp in the state. However, the New Mexico Environment Department is responsible for issuing licenses to individuals or businesses for hemp processing activities after harvest. These activities include extraction, distillation, and manufacturing.

For cultivators, the NMDA issues 4 types of licenses, including:

The NMED issues Hemp Extraction Facility Permits, Hemp Manufacturing or Processing Facility Permits, and Hemp Warehouse Facility Permits to qualified applicants in New Mexico. A permit is required to operate a hemp extraction, processing, or warehouse. Each facility type must also be permitted individually.

For example, if a person extracts hemp and then formulates it into a hemp product or finished product, two permits would be necessary. The sole exception is that a hemp extraction or production plant does not require a separate hemp warehouse license. A hemp warehouse permit is only necessary when hemp extract will be kept in a place that does not already have a hemp extraction facility or hemp manufacturing facility permission. Obtaining a permit to store or sell packaged hemp-finished products is unnecessary.

According to the NMDA regulations, a criminal background check is required to process your application. Hemp commercial production licenses cannot be issued to individuals with felony convictions related to controlled substances within the last 10 years. The NMDA will conduct the national background check with applicants required to obtain state background records from the Department of Public Safety. Note that the New Mexico Department of Public Safety charges $15.00 per background check. Also, applicants are required to comply with New Mexico’s Child Support Enforcement Act. Failure to meet child support obligations will result in the denial or revocation of a hemp commercial production license.

Applicants are required to fill out relevant hemp license forms, pay the applicable fees, sign the acknowledgment form, and return completed applications to:

Physical Address:

New Mexico Department of Agriculture

Entomology and Nursery Industries

3190 S. Espina

Las Cruces, NM 88003


Mailing Address:

New Mexico Department of Agriculture

Entomology and Nursery Industries


New Mexico State University

P.O. Box 30005

Las Cruces, NM 88003

Inquiries regarding hemp applications and hemp license matters may be addressed to the NMDA at (575) 646-3207. After your application has been approved, NMDA will mail your hemp license to the physical address provided on your application.

To obtain a hemp manufacturing or processing permit from the NMED, complete the relevant application form, following the outlined instructions in the form. The application forms are available under the Cannabis and Hemp Bureau menu on the forms page on the NMED website. You can submit a hard copy of the application, attachment packet, and applicable fees to the NMED. Note that electronic submissions are not accepted. However, when you are ready to submit your application, email to receive submission instructions from the NMED.

How Much Does a License to Grow or Process Hemp Cost in New Mexico?

The following are the initial and annual license costs for hemp licenses in New Mexico:

  • Annual Hemp Commercial Production License: $650 (registration fee) + $6.00 / acre of hemp production + $10.00 per variety

  • Continuous Hemp Commercial Production License: $750 (registration fee) + $.75 / 1,000 square feet of hemp production + $10.00 per variety

  • Special Hemp Breeding License: $500

  • Nursery Plant License:

    • Nursery Dealer License (N.D.) - required to buy and resell plants and floral stock: $75

    • Nursery Inspection Certificate (I.C.) - required to grow and sell plants and floral stock: $75 + $2.00 per acre (whole acres only)

    • Collected Plants Permit (C.P.) - required to collect and sell plants grown in the wild: $75

    • Special Dealer License (S.D.) - limited to cacti and vegetable plants: $25

    • Special Vegetable Plants Inspection Certificate (SVPI) - limited to vegetable plants: $25

How to Grow Hemp in New Mexico

Hemp is cultivated differently from marijuana. Hemp is typically grown for industrial purposes such as fiber or seed production, while marijuana is grown primarily for its psychoactive compounds. Hemp plants are also spaced further apart than marijuana plants for more good airflow and to prevent diseases.

To grow hemp in New Mexico, follow these steps:

  • Choose a growing site: Hemp may be grown indoors or outdoors in New Mexico, depending on the license obtained from the NMDA. Whether you opt to grow your hemp crops indoor or out in the fields, it requires plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. Hence, you should select a good soil to cultivate your crops

  • Prepare the soil: Till the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches and amend with compost or other organic matter as needed

  • Plant the seeds: Plant your seeds 1 inch deep and 4-6 inches apart, and water thoroughly

  • Monitor soil moisture: Hemp requires consistent moisture but may be open to the risk of root rot if the soil is too moist. Therefore, you should ensure that the soil is neither too wet nor dry

  • Fertilize as needed: Hemp has relatively low nutrient requirements but may benefit from supplemental fertilization. Consider using a water-soluble, nitrogen-rich fertilizer

  • Control weeds: Keep the growing area free of weeds to reduce competition for nutrients and water

  • Monitor for pests and disease: Hemp can be susceptible to various pests and diseases, so monitor the plants regularly and treat them as needed. You may only use the fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides registered for use by the NMDA. For more information regarding pesticides permitted in New Mexico, see the registered pesticide page of the NMDA website

  • Harvest: Hemp plants can be harvested for fiber, seed, or CBD oil, depending on the cultivation goals. Generally, hemp grown for fiber is typically harvested when the plants are mature but before the seeds begin to mature, which typically occurs around 70-90 days after planting. Hemp grown for seed production is typically harvested when the seeds are fully mature, which can occur between 100-120 days after planting, while hemp grown for CBD oil is typically harvested when the flowers mature and contain the highest concentration of cannabinoids, which can occur between 90-120 days after planting

Where Can You Buy Hemp Flower in New Mexico?

Smokable hemp flowers are legal in New Mexico if they do not contain more than 0.3% THC. New Mexico residents can purchase them online or from local CBD stores and vape shops. There are no limitations on the quantities of hemp flowers that New Mexico residents may buy. Also, New Mexico permits businesses to ship hemp flowers into the state as long as such flowers are 2018 Farm Bill-compliant.



Hemp vs. THC

Hemp refers to cannabis plant variants that have less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the major psychoactive ingredient present in cannabis plants and is responsible for the "high" commonly associated with marijuana. While hemp contains THC, the amount is insufficient to produce psychoactive effects. THC is more readily available in marijuana plants.

It is lawful in New Mexico to sell hemp-derived THC products as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, the legal level stipulated by federal law.

Hemp vs. CBD

Hemp refers to plants in the cannabis family containing no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. In contrast, CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the cannabinoids present in cannabis plants, especially hemp plants.

CBD may be derived from both marijuana and hemp plants; however, hemp is the most usually used. CBD products are generally used for therapeutic purposes and come in a range of forms, such as oils, capsules, and topical lotions. CBD products derived from marijuana, on the other hand, may include more significant quantities of THC, which can cause psychoactive effects. Hemp-derived CBD products may be sold in New Mexico as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

Hemp Applications

Hemp is a versatile plant with various uses, including:

  • Fiber: Hemp fiber may be used to make a range of items such as textiles, paper, and rope

  • Construction materials: Hemp may be used to make construction materials such as insulation, concrete, and plaster

  • Food: Hemp seeds may be used to make oil, flour, and protein powder

  • Fuel: Hemp may be used to make biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel

  • Cosmetics: Due to its moisturizing and nourishing characteristics, hemp oil is utilized in a number of cosmetic products

In this section: