New Mexico Marijuana Trafficking Laws

Can You Mail Weed Legally in New Mexico?

No. It is illegal to mail marijuana through the United States Postal Service. The United States Code Section 844, Title 21, criminalizes marijuana possession and distribution on a federal level. Therefore the transportation of marijuana via mail is illegal. Also, New Mexico residents should not use private courier services as these postal firms are also bound by federal law.

Nevertheless, in 2021 New Mexico legalized the sale of recreational marijuana with the passage of the Cannabis Regulation Control Act. Per the Act, it is legal for individuals 21 years and older to transport up to 2 ounces of cannabis for personal use. The Act also permits registered and licensed marijuana establishments to transport marijuana in New Mexico.

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in New Mexico?

Edibles are food items made with marijuana leaves, oils, and other marijuana extracts. Gummies, pills, gelatins, baked products, chocolates, and liquids are a few common types of edibles. Only Marijuana Treatment Centers in New Mexico can sell edibles containing marijuana.

Interstate transportation is prohibited by the United States Code Title 21, Section 844. A person is guilty of a crime if caught transporting more than 1,000 kg of anything containing detectable amounts of marijuana. The sentence could range from ten years to life in jail. However, the punishment ranges from 20 years to life if the crime results in death or serious bodily harm. Also, an individual caught moving marijuana across states faces a fine of up to $10,000,000.00, or up to $50,000,000.00 if not an individual. Penalties may be more severe depending on each case.

How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in New Mexico

Factors such as the amount of substance trafficked, events surrounding the arrests, and evidence the prosecution has available are vital to dismissing drug trafficking charges. For a successful dismissal, the defendant must prove that they did not commit the offense or that law enforcement handled the matter illegally. Common defenses used against drug trafficking charges are:

  • No proof of knowledge
  • Presence of an alibi
  • Miranda Rights violation
  • Unlawful search and seizure
  • No proof of intent
  • False-positive test
  • Entrapment defense
  • Crime lab analysis error

If the prosecutor has a strong case, the defendant may also opt for a plea bargain by offering information to get their sentences reduced, enrolling in a drug diversion program, or seeking substance abuse treatment.

Drug Trafficking Facts in New Mexico

Per Section 30-31-20 of the New Mexico Statutes, drug trafficking is defined as:

  • The manufacture of a Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V controlled substance.
  • The distribution, sale, barter, or gifting of certain controlled substances
  • The possession with intent to distribute certain controlled substances listed in Schedule I or II
  • The manufacture of a controlled substance analog.

A drug trafficking charge may be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the quantity of drugs involved. For instance, a person caught with between 2 and 8 ounces of marijuana is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000.00 fine and up to 1 year in jail. However, an individual caught with over 8 ounces of marijuana is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 1.5 years in jail and a fine of $5,000.00. Similarly, an individual caught distributing any controlled substance near a school is guilty of a felony.

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety (NMDPS) is the state agency that monitors drug trafficking. To lessen the impact of illegal drugs in New Mexico, the NMDPS, in conjunction with the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other participating agencies, instituted the New Mexico High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. The program consists of 17 HIDTA-designated counties working together to coordinate drug intelligence, interdiction, investigation, and prosecution efforts.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the primary federal agency enforcing laws on controlled substances. Other federal agencies that participate in monitoring drug trafficking in the United States include:

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, in 2020, there were 1,812 drug possession arrests in New Mexico. Marijuana possession arrests accounted for 328, while dangerous non-narcotic drugs, opioids, cocaine, and other synthetic narcotics accounted for the rest. In the same year, there were over 295 drug sale arrests in the state, with marijuana sales accounting for 133.

How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in New Mexico?

Under the Cannabis Regulation Act, New Mexico residents aged 21 and older may buy, possess, or use up to 2 ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis concentrates, or 800 milligrams of infused edibles.

Per Section 31-18 of the New Mexico Statutes, the state treats marijuana possession with intent to distribute the same as marijuana distribution. Therefore an individual may be charged with a drug trafficking offense if found with more than 8 ounces of marijuana.

What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in New Mexico?

The following are weed trafficking consequences in New Mexico:

  • Possession of 2 to 8 ounces of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 year in prison and a $1,000.00 fine
  • Possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana is a felony punishable by 1.5 years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine
  • First offenders found in possession of or involved in the distribution of 100 pounds or less of marijuana are guilty of a fourth-degree felony which is punishable by 1.5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.00. Subsequent offenses are punished as a third-degree felony, and offenders may be imprisoned for 3 years. A fine of $5,000.00 may also be imposed.
  • First offenders found in possession of or involved in the distribution of more than 100 pounds of marijuana are guilty of a third-degree felony which is punishable by a 3-year jail sentence and a $5,000.00 fine. Subsequent offenses are considered second-degree felonies, punishable by 9 years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine.
  • First-time offenders that distribute marijuana to minors are guilty of a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a 3-year jail sentence and a $5,000.00 fine. Subsequent offenses are punishable as a second-degree felony which attracts a 9-year jail sentence and a $10,000.00 fine.
  • Distributing marijuana within a drug-free school zone is a first-degree felony and is punishable by 18 years imprisonment and a $15,000.00 fine.

How to Transport Weed Legally in New Mexico

Individuals 21 years and older may legally transport up to 2 ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis concentrates, or up to 800 milligrams of infused edibles. New Mexico also allows vertically integrated cannabis businesses, cannabis retailers, and integrated cannabis micro businesses to transport cannabis within the state. However, authorized businesses must adhere to the following labeling and packaging requirements:

  • Cannabis must be packed in packages that are resealable, child-resistant, compostable, and recyclable
  • Cannabis packages and labels must not be appealing to children
  • Cannabis packages containing only cannabis leaves or flowers must be labeled with the net weight of the contents.
  • Cannabis product packages must also contain the identification marks of the licensee that manufactured or produced the cannabis.
  • Cannabis product packages must include the date of harvest.
  • Cannabis product labels and packages must clearly list all the materials used to manufacture the product.
  • Cannabis labels must also contain a list of all pharmacologically active ingredients in the products
  • Cannabis label logos must notify a reasonable person that the package contains cannabis or cannabis-infused materials.
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