New Mexico Marijuana Research Laboratory License

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in New Mexico?

What Is a Marijuana Research Laboratory License in New Mexico?

A New Mexico cannabis research laboratory license authorizes the licensee to establish a facility that produces or possesses cannabis products and all parts of the cannabis plant for the purpose of studying cannabis cultivation, uses, and characteristics.

Does New Mexico Issue Marijuana Research Laboratory Licenses?

Yes. New Mexico’s HB 2 Cannabis Regulation Act stipulates that persons seeking to conduct scientific studies on cannabis and its products must obtain cannabis research laboratory licenses from the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) to operate legally in the State of New Mexico.

New Mexico has three classes of Marijuana Research Laboratory licenses. These are Tiers I, II, and III. Licensees may produce or obtain marijuana and marijuana products to conduct approved clinical, agricultural, or market research studies.

The Tier I license is the broadest. In addition to conducting approved studies, it authorizes the holder to produce cannabis meant to be ingested by human or animal subjects. The licensee may also produce cannabis not meant for ingestion as well as federally legal cannabis products.

A Tier II licensee can only produce cannabis not meant for ingestion and purchase cannabis meant to be ingested by human or animal subjects from a Tier I licensee or an appropriately. Tier II license also does not authorize the holder to produce federally legal cannabis products.

A Tier III licensee cannot produce cannabis products. Rather, they must purchase the cannabis used in their research from Tier I and Tier II licensees or appropriately licensed cannabis establishments in the state.

How to Apply for a Marijuana Research Laboratory License in New Mexico

The CCD, in accordance with the state cannabis law, receives applications through its online licensing portal. For applicants to initiate the application process, they must create accounts on the portal. During the account creation process, each applicant will be required to provide an email address and a physical postal address. The CCD will send correspondences to the email address provided during the registration or account creation process. You are ineligible to apply for a cannabis research laboratory license in New Mexico if you are below 21.

Although applications are currently not open, you should review the CCD rules and regulations for applying for cannabis business licenses in New Mexico. In specific situations, the CCD may allow applicants to seek variance with the promulgated regulations by filing a written petition with the Division. In such instances, applicants must provide appropriate materials or documents supporting the petition. The petition must include:

  • 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 research facility or specific activity is located
  • The CCD rule(s) from which variance is required
  • Detailed information about the extent to which variance from the CCD rules is required 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 research facility 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

The CCD will hold a public hearing on the petition received under the New Mexico Open Meetings Act, before granting the petition in part or whole, provided the variance:

  • Does not contradict the Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA) or public interest
  • Does not have a negative environmental impact
  • Is not damaging to public health and safety

The CCD will conduct background checks for applicants having received their consent to undertake national criminal history background checks and statewide criminal history background checks. Both background checks must be completed no more than 90 days prior to submitting an application. The CCD will conduct background checks for:

  • Each limited partnership partner;
  • Each limited liability company member;
  • Each corporation or trust director, officer, or trustee; and
  • Any individual with a controlling interest in the operations and management of the research facility

For each of the persons named on the application, the CCD will review felony convictions in accordance with the Cannabis Regulation Act and the Criminal Offender Employment Act. The following determinations may lead to the denial of a license application:

  • 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.

The applicant will pay any fees connected with the national criminal history background check and the state’s Department of Public Safety statewide criminal history background check.

New Mexico grants local governments the authority to restrict cannabis establishments, including cannabis research laboratories located within their jurisdictions. Pursuant to the New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA), cannabis research laboratory license applicants must comply with applicable municipal codes or ordinances that do not contravene the state CRA. Such local regulations may include ordinances guiding health and safety, construction and building codes, zoning, building and fire codes, and food and product safety. Therefore, you should verify municipal codes that may apply in your locality before applying for a cannabis research laboratory license.

After submitting a complete application on the CCD licensing portal, the CCD will review your application for compliance with all requirements and also determine if all the required documents and information are provided. If an application is deemed incomplete, the CCD will notify the applicant through the email address on file and indicate the missing information. Failure to re-submit a complete application with the missing information will lead to the CCD closing the application and deeming it incomplete. Consequently, the Division will deny licensure per the New Mexico Uniform Licensing Act. Licensing fees paid for incomplete applications are non-refundable. A new application will be required to restart the application process.

Based on the request of an applicant, the CCD may issue a provisional license letter upon written request. A provisional license letter will state contingencies that the applicant must obtain documents that may be pending approval of the cannabis establishment or must be obtained from other local jurisdictions or state agencies for the application to be deemed complete. Per the provisional license letter, final licensing is conditional on meeting the requirements stated in the letter. Note that a provisional license does not authorize an applicant to commence operations in the cannabis establishment.

The CCD permits applicants to withdraw their applications at any time before the Division makes a final determination on the applications. However, the applicant must write, date, and sign such withdrawal requests before filing them with the Division. Fees paid for withdrawn applications are also non-refundable. A withdrawn application does not preclude an applicant from reapplying at a later date. However, a new application and licensing fee will be required.

How Much Does a Cannabis Research Laboratory License Cost in New Mexico?

According to the CCD, the cannabis research laboratory license costs $2,500 and additional $1,000 for each licensed premises. The license is only valid for one year and may be renewed at the same cost as the initial licensing fee.

Can Marijuana Research Laboratory Licensees Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in New Mexico?

The New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act does not limit the types of cannabis business licenses that licensed research laboratories in the state may hold. The New Mexico CRA permits cannabis business licensees in the state to conduct any approved marijuana activity or a combination of lawful activities at their licensed premises, provided that the licensees have not obtained their licenses under the New Mexico Liquor Control Act.

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New Mexico Marijuana Research Laboratory License