New Mexico Marijuana Possession Laws

Is Possession of Marijuana Legal in New Mexico?

Yes, New Mexico residents can own and use marijuana legally per the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Act and the Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA) of 2021. However, the state places certain restrictions that people intending to possess cannabis must satisfy. For example, the state only permits people of a certain age to purchase or own cannabis. New Mexico also limits the quantity of marijuana people can possess or cultivate.

Furthermore, the law also permits licensed dispensaries to sell marijuana to adults over a certain age. Additionally, people previously convicted of offenses that the newly introduced law now makes legal can have those convictions expunged.

How Much Weed Is a Felony in New Mexico?

New Mexico residents can legally possess or purchase cannabis. However, the right to have or use weed depends on many factors. For example, residents must be of a certain age before being able to purchase or use cannabis for recreation at licensed dispensaries. 

Similarly, the state limits the amount of cannabis a person can possess. People caught having more than the permitted weight of marijuana face criminal charges. It is a felony in New Mexico if caught with more than eight ounces of cannabis.

Also, state laws do not permit residents to smoke weed in certain places. The state plans to designate some areas as "legal smoking areas” where residents can freely consume cannabis. People caught smoking in public outside these areas risk facing severe charges. Additionally, cannabis remains illegal under federal laws. As a result, people caught consuming or in possession of marijuana on federally-owned properties face felony charges.

New Mexico also differentiates between possessing marijuana for personal use and possessing it with the intent to distribute it. In most situations where having marijuana for personal use is a misdemeanor, possessing it with the intent to distribute is usually a felony.

What Are the Penalties for 1st Time Offense of Possession of Weed in New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the penalty for possessing more than the permitted quantity of weed varies. Section 30-31-23 of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) recommends different penalties depending on the quantity of cannabis found on the offender. The prescribed punishments are:

  • A first offense involving possessing less than eight ounces of marijuana on hand is a misdemeanor. Applicable penalties include fines not less than $100 and more than $1,000. Alternatively, the offender must serve a jail term of less than 364 days.
  • A first offense involving possessing more than eight ounces of cannabis is a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico. Applicable penalties include a jail term of 18 months and a fine of less than $5,000.
  • People charged with possessing cannabis with the intent to distribute receive harsher penalties. For instance, a first offender found guilty of having less than 100 pounds of cannabis with the intent to distribute faces up to $5,000 in fines and 18 months in jail. The maximum punishment for first-time possession of more than 100 pounds with the intent to distribute is up to $5,000 in fines and a jail term not exceeding three years.

Where To Buy Legal Weed in New Mexico

New Mexico residents can buy marijuana legally at retailers licensed by the Cannabis Control Division (CCD). Intending adult cannabis users can do a quick online search to discover the nearest cannabis retailer in New Mexico.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Buy Weed in New Mexico

Section 26-2C-2 of the NMSA defines a cannabis consumer as an adult at least 21 years old. This means that only people who are 21 years of age or older can legally purchase and consume marijuana for recreational purposes in New Mexico.

Additionally, the state permits people of all ages to join the state’s medical marijuana program. However, only those who are at least 18 years old can legally purchase cannabis at licensed dispensaries. Designated caregivers must help minors below the legal age purchase and administer medical cannabis.

How Much Weed Can You Carry in New Mexico?

New Mexico laws permit patients and caregivers in the state’s medical cannabis program to carry up to 2 ounces of medical cannabis at a time. However, the New Mexico Administrative Codes (NMAC), Section, permits patients to purchase supplies that can last them for three months at licensed retailers. The stipulated three-month supply refers to any amount of medical cannabis that does not exceed 425 units, which is equivalent to 425 grams of medicinal cannabis. This permitted quantity of cannabis is equal to 15 ounces of dried usable cannabis.

Adults at least 21 years old in New Mexico also have a limit on the quantity of recreational cannabis they can possess and purchase. Section 26-2C-3(B4) of the NMSA 1978 states that adults can not purchase more than two ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis extracts, and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis at a time.

Additionally, state laws mandate that adults must not possess more than two ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis extracts, and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis at hand. The law does not limit the quantity of recreational marijuana that adults can have at home. However, owners must store any excess beyond the acceptable quantity for purchase in enclosed facilities.

What Happens if You Get Caught With Weed Under 18 in New Mexico?

New Mexico laws are largely silent on the penalties people under 18 years face if caught in possession of weed. However, the state does recommend penalties for minors caught growing cannabis.

Section 26-2C-27(C and D) of the NMSA recommends varying penalties for minors caught producing cannabis plants. The prescribed punishments differ according to the number of plants produced and the age of the offenders.

Per the law, a person 18 years old but less than 21 years old caught deliberately producing:

  • Up to six mature or immature cannabis plants must pay a $50 fine.
  • More than six plants but not more than 12 mature or immature plants, such an individual is guilty of a misdemeanor. The applicable penalty is a jail term of less than 365 days or payment of a fine that must not exceed $1,000.
  • More than 12 mature or immature marijuana plants is a fourth-degree felony. The punishment for committing fourth-degree felony crimes in New Mexico is a jail term of up to 18 months and up to $5,000 in fines. 

A person under the age of 18 years caught producing cannabis plants is guilty of a civil violation. The law recommends punishing such people with the mandatory attendance of a four-hour drug counseling program. Alternatively, the offender can perform community service for four hours.

These punishments are relatively lenient because producing cannabis for personal use is the offense in question. People caught growing with the intent to distribute or those who distribute cannabis to a minor suffer stricter penalties.

How Many Marijuana Plants Can You Have in New Mexico?

New Mexico laws permit adults 21 years or older to cultivate up to six mature plants and six immature plants for personal recreational use per Section 26-2C-25(A9) of the NMSA. However, a household with multiple residents can only have a maximum of 12 mature cannabis plants. 

In addition, Section of the NMAC permits qualified patients and designated caregivers to apply for a personal production license. This license allows holders to cultivate up to 16 cannabis plants, with a maximum of four matured plants at any time. The license only permits licensees to produce cannabis for personal medical use. Using this license to grow with the intent to sell is an offense that carries harsh penalties.

How Much Weed Can You Fly With From New Mexico?

It is illegal to fly or transport cannabis across state lines, regardless of the legal status of cannabis in both the states of departure and landing. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regards cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance. As a result, transporting any controlled substance across state lines is a federal crime.

Is It Illegal To Be High in Public in New Mexico?

No, it is not illegal to be high in public in New Mexico if the individual is not disturbing public peace. However, the police may arrest impaired individuals if found to be endangering themselves or others.

While being high in public is not always a crime, New Mexico laws prohibit consuming or smoking cannabis in public. Section 26-2B-5(A3(b) of the NMSA 1978 names public places where medical cannabis cardholders cannot consume medical marijuana. Such outdoor locations include public parks, recreation centers, youth centers, and other public spots.

Additionally, Section 26-2C-26(A1) of the NMSA 1978 makes it illegal for New Mexico residents to use recreational marijuana in public. According to the law, smoking in public is not one of the consumers’ rights protected under the CRA. The state designates certain places as legal smoking areas. New Mexico residents can consume cannabis in these designated spaces.

New Mexico laws also prohibit operating any motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis. Per Section 66-8-102(E) of the NMSA, erring users face the following penalties:  

  • Fine of up to $1000.
  • Jail term of up to 364 days.
  • Community service for up to 48 hours.
  • License suspension for up to two years.
  • The offender must install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for up to two years.

Causing bodily injury to other people while driving under the influence of marijuana attracts stiffer penalties.

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