New Mexico Marijuana Consumption Area License

What Is a Marijuana Consumption Area License in New Mexico?

A marijuana consumption area license permits the licensee to establish a defined area where persons above the age of 21 can recreationally use marijuana in accordance with the rules of the New Mexico Cannabis Control Division (CCD). A cannabis consumption area refers to an area where cannabis products may be served or consumed. Note that the State of New Mexico prohibits the use of marijuana in public places; hence, the drug may only be consumed privately or in licensed consumption areas.

Does New Mexico Issue Marijuana Consumption Area Licenses?

Yes. Pursuant to the HB 2 Cannabis Regulation Act, persons or entities seeking to operate cannabis consumption areas must obtain cannabis consumption area licenses from the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) to operate legally in New Mexico. The CCD also issues cannabis server permits required by law to directly sell, serve, or offer cannabis or cannabis products in cannabis consumption areas.

How to Apply for a Marijuana Consumption Area License in New Mexico

New Mexico is not currently accepting applications for marijuana consumption area licenses. The Cannabis Control Division, the state agency tasked with awarding cannabis licenses, is expected to begin accepting license applications no later than January 1, 2022. License applications will be completed and submitted online using the CCD's licensing system.

To initiate the license application process, you need to create an account on the CCD portal. Applicants must provide both physical postal addresses and email addresses. The CCD will send correspondences to applicants through the email addresses on file. Note that to be eligible for a marijuana consumption area license, applicants must be at least 21 years old.

While you wait for the application window to open, it is essential that you acquaint yourself with the CCD's licensing regulations. In New Mexico, marijuana consumption area license applicants may petition the Division for an exception from the CCD regulations by submitting a written petition. The petitioner should include with the petition any papers or other information that would substantiate the plea. The petition should contain the following:

  • The petitioner's name and address
  • The date of the application
  • The facility or activity for which variance is required
  • The address or description of the premises where the consumption area establishment or specific activity is located
  • The CCD rule(s) from which the variance is required
  • Detailed information about the extent to which variance from the CCD rules is needed and how the petitioner intends to ensure public health and safety will not be negatively impacted
  • Why the petitioner believes compliance with the CCD rules will impose an unreasonable burden on the marijuana consumption area establishment or activity
  • The duration for which the variance is desired, including the reasons, data, reports, and other information demonstrating that such period is reasonable and justifiable

Following a public hearing conducted in accordance with the Open Meetings Act, the CCD may approve the requested deviation in part or whole, providing that the variance:

  • contravenes neither the Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA) nor the public interest
  • has no adverse effect on the environment
  • is not hazardous to public health and safety

Applicants for licensing must consent to and successfully complete a national criminal history background check and a statewide criminal history screening background check completed by the department of public safety (DPS) no more than 90 days before submitting an application. The CCD will need background checks for:

  • each limited partnership partner;
  • each limited liability company member;
  • each corporation or trust director, officer, or trustee; and
  • any controlling person of the applicant

The applicant will be responsible for any fees associated with the national criminal history background check and the statewide criminal history background check conducted by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.

The CCD will review the applicants for felony convictions according to the Cannabis Regulation Act and the Criminal Offender Employment Act. The following are considered to be substantially related to an applicant's or individual's credentials, obligations, or responsibilities:

  • A felony conviction for embezzlement, deceit, or fraud
  • A felony conviction for employing, hiring, or otherwise employing a person under the age of 18 to:
    • prepare a controlled substance for sale or transport; or
    • sell, offer to sell, or give away a controlled substance to any individual
  • A felony offense for possession, manufacture, distribution, use, or dispensing, or possession with the intent to manufacture, dispense, or distribute a controlled substance. New Mexico law does not include cannabis in the scope of controlled substances for the purpose of this rule.

Local rules also apply to applications for marijuana consumption area licenses. According to the New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act, the applicant must adhere to all applicable local laws that do not conflict with the CRA, including regulations governing food and product safety, occupational health and safety, natural resource protection, environmental impacts, cannabis establishment operation, construction and building codes, zoning, employment, building and fire codes, and business or professional licensing. As a result, it is essential that you research the local laws or municipal ordinances that apply to the area where you want to operate your marijuana consumption area establishment.

If the CCD decides that an application for licensure is incomplete, the Division will contact the applicant through email and specify the missing information or documents. If the applicant fails to provide the required information or documentation within 90 days of being notified of the defect, the application will be deemed incomplete, and the CCD will deny the license pursuant to the Uniform Licensing Act. As a result, the applicant will need to submit a new application in order to resume the application process. All licensing payments are non-refundable and must be paid in full upon submission of each new application.

The CCD may issue a provisional license letter upon written request of the applicant, with specified contingencies that the cannabis license applicant must obtain documents that are either pending approval or are required from other state agencies or local jurisdictions in order for the application to be considered complete.

The provisional license letter must cover all remaining application requirements and will expire six months from the day it was issued to the applicant. On the applicant's written request, the Division may extend a provisional license letter for an additional six months. The provisional license letter will state that final approval or refusal of a license is contingent upon the applicant supplying all outstanding documents or information. Note that a provisional license does not authorize the applicant to initiate regulated cannabis business.

Applicants may withdraw their applications at any time prior to the Division issuing or denying a license. Withdrawal requests must be sent to the Division in writing, dated, and signed by the applicant. The withdrawal of an application does not preclude the Division from initiating or continuing a proceeding against the applicant for denial of the license on any ground provided by law or from entering an order denying the license on any such basis.

How Much Does a Cannabis Consumption Area License Cost in New Mexico?

According to the CCD, a New Mexico cannabis consumption license costs up to $2,500. The license is only valid for one year and may be renewed for the same fee after expiration.

Can Marijuana Cannabis Consumption Area Licensees Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act does include no specific limitations on other types of cannabis business licenses that consumption area licensees in the state may have. The Act permits cannabis business licensees in the state to perform any authorized activity or a mix of licensed cannabis activities within their licensed premises, as long as they did not obtain those licenses under the New Mexico Liquor Control Act.

New Mexico Marijuana Consumption Area License
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