New Mexico Marijuana Limitations

What Happens if I am Under 21 and Caught Carrying or Using Cannabis?

When an individual takes marijuana, the principal psychoactive chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) passes from the lungs or digestive tracts into the bloodstream. From there, it is carried to the brain which causes the "high" that users feel. Marijuana can impair brain functions such as attention, learning, and memory. Its effects can last up to several days.

For teenagers or persons below the age of 21, the brain is not yet fully mature, hence, exposure to marijuana can impact how connections are formed within the brain. Other effects include interference with neurotransmitters and abnormal brain shape and volume structure. A recent study showed that marijuana has a more negative impact on a teenager's cognitive development than alcohol.

These issues among others make marijuana use prohibited among persons below the age of 21. Although the possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana has been decriminalized in New Mexico, the sale, possession, or distribution with intent to distribute any amount of marijuana to a minor is also a felony. The offense is punishable with a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. With subsequent offenses, the maximum punishment is 9 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Where is it Legal to Smoke Weed in New Mexico?

Recreational cannabis only became legal in New Mexico on June 29, 2021. However, the legal sales of the drug will not begin until the first quarter of 2022. Similar to alcoholic beverages, public consumption of cannabis is limited to licensed consumption areas where it may be served and consumed; such locations do not currently exist. In the near future, the state plans to provide guidelines for the establishment of "safe consumption areas". Smoking and consumption of cannabis in public will only be permitted in such designated smoking areas or in standalone buildings.

While you cannot smoke weed in public, private property owners may also forbid it, and your workplace may initiate zero-tolerance policies against it. Until the cannabis industry develops and New Mexico issues licenses for cannabis consumption areas, cannabis use is restricted to private properties.

Can I Leave New Mexico with Cannabis?

Even though New Mexico has legalized the use of cannabis recreationally and medically, the drug remains a Schedule One Controlled Substance under the federal Controlled Substance Act. Hence, it is a federal crime to use or possess marijuana. Any type of interstate transport is legally subject to federal scrutiny and possible seizure or possession prosecution. Even if you purchase cannabis from a state where both medical and adult-use cannabis has been legalized, transporting it across state lines is a federal offense. You can also not consume or possess cannabis on federal properties located within New Mexico. This includes national parks and government offices.

Will Cannabis Affect My Driving Record in New Mexico?

Drugged driving (DWI) is a serious offense in New Mexico, with the offense having a serious impact on the driving record of the offender. A New Mexico DWI conviction stays on your driving record for 55 years. You cannot remove a DWI conviction from your record, even under the New Mexico Criminal Record Expungement Act. A DWI offense will nearly always see consequences on your insurance policy. The specific consequence depends on the insurance agency and their policy towards DWIs. The majority of insurance companies will raise the amount of the periodic payments with offenders likely to pay for higher-risk plans.

Most individuals who are arrested and convicted of DWIs find their employment options limited after getting out of jail. Some employers, especially those who require employees to drive, do not accept applications from persons with DWIs, even if they still have their driver's licenses.

Like several other states in the United States, New Mexico runs an established point system as a means of documenting habitually troublesome motorists. For every violation, a certain number of points is allotted, and if motorists accrue too many within a specific period, they will face certain consequences. If you accrue more than 12 points in a year in New Mexico, you will be suspended for the subsequent year. The following are examples of penalties for driving-related offenses:

  • Reckless driving - 6 points
  • Driving at a speed between 16 to 25 mph above the speed limit where the posted limit is either 15 mph, 30 mph, or 75 mph - 5 points
  • Not giving the right of way to an emergency vehicle - 4 points
  • Careless driving - 3 points
  • Using the wrong signal and other minimal infractions - 2 points
  • Speeding at 26 mph or more above the speed limit when the posted limit is either 15 mph, 30 mph, or 75 mph - 8 points

Note that the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department driving record points will count towards a possible driver's license suspension for only one year. Points that are older than 12 months are not applied. If you are not sure whether your New Mexico driver's license is suspended, you can always order yourself a driving record report. This document shows whether you have a valid license or not. It will also include details about your personal driving history, any tickets received, accidents you have been in, any other event on record at the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department.

Can I Get a DUI if I Drive While I am High?

Per Section 66-8-102 of the New Mexico Annotated Statutes, it is unlawful for anyone to operate a vehicle while under the influence of any drug to an extent that it renders the person incapable of safely driving a vehicle. A law enforcement officer who suspects that a driver may be impaired by drugs will initiate a DWI investigation to verify the suspicion. In line with the New Mexico Implied Consent law, any person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have agreed to blood and breath chemical tests for the purpose of determining the drug content of their samples.

Per Section 66-8-105 to 66-8-112 of the New Mexico Annotated Code, evidence of a motorist's refusal to take a breath or drug test is admissible in court under the Implied Consent Act. The constitutional right to refuse to take the test is not granted under New Mexico law. The right granted by the state legislature is merely the right not to be forcibly tested after manifesting refusal.

The following are penalties stipulated by the State of New Mexico for DWI offenses:

  • First offense: Imprisonment for not more than 90 days or by a fine of not more than $500, or both; the offender may be required to pay a fine of $300; the offender face a minimum of 24 hours of community service; the court will order the offender to partake in and complete a screening program and to attend a driver rehabilitation program for drugs, also known as a "DWI school", approved by the bureau and also may be required to participate in other rehabilitative services as the court shall determine to be necessary. Section 66-8-102(E).
  • Second offense: Imprisonment for not more than 364 days or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or both; an offender shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 96 consecutive hours, not less than 48 hours of community service, and a fine of $500. Section 66-8-102(F)(1).
  • Third offense: Imprisonment for not more than 364 days or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or both; an offender shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 30 consecutive days, not less than 96 hours of community service, and a fine of $750. Section 66-8-102(F)(2)].
  • Fourth offense fourth-degree felony: Imprisonment for 18 months, 6 months of which shall not be suspended, deferred, or taken under advisement. Section 66-8-102(G).
  • Fifth offense fourth-degree felony: Imprisonment for 2 years, 1 year of which shall not be suspended, deferred, or taken under advisement. Section 66-8-102(H).
  • Sixth offense third-degree felony: Imprisonment for 30 months, 18 months of which shall not be suspended, deferred, or taken under advisement. Section 1978, § 66-8-102(I).
  • Seventh or subsequent offense third-degree felony: Imprisonment for 3 years, 2 years of which shall not be suspended, deferred, or taken under advisement. Section 66-8-102(J).

DWI penalties are stiffer for aggravated offenses. Aggravated DWIs are charged when there are DWI-related accidents or when the drivers refuse to comply with the state's Implied Consent Law. The penalties in such instances are:

  • First offense: In addition to the stipulated penalties for an ordinary DWI, when an offender commits aggravated DWI, the offender shall be sentenced to not less than forty-eight consecutive hours in jail. Section 66-8-102(E) and Section 66-8-102(D)(3).
  • Second offense: In addition to the penalties for an ordinary DWI, when an offender commits an aggravated DWI for the second time, the offender shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 96 consecutive hours. Section 66-8-102(F)(1)and Section 66-8-102(D)(3)].
  • Third Offense: In addition to the penalties for an ordinary DWI, when an offender commits aggravated DWI for the third time, the offender shall be sentenced to a jail term of not less than 60 consecutive days. Section 66-8-102(F)(2) and Section 66-8-102(D)(3).

A DWI investigation is very similar to a Driving under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol investigation. You may be flagged by a law enforcement officer if you are driving too slowly, failing to obey traffic signals, or swerving. Upon stopping the vehicle, the officer will look for signs of impairment and marijuana-related items in plain sight.

If a law enforcement officer believes that you have been impaired by marijuana, you will be subjected to field sobriety tests. These tests will be used to determine impairment and are done in accordance with the guidelines of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Field Sobriety tests are administered in a standardized manner in order to be valid indicators of impairment evidence of drug impairment.

Field sobriety tests for DWI include requests from the law enforcement officer that the driver stands on one leg, walks and turns, and keep the head still while the eyes follow a small object. While these tests are ongoing, the officers are looking for clues that will add more credence to the impairment of the drivers.

In addition to sobriety tests, the law enforcement officer may require the help of a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to carry out further tests on the driver. A DRE officer has specialized training in recognizing the signs. Their investigation may be used as evidence against you. Typically, these are blood and urine tests to determine the level of drug metabolite in the driver's blood. Per Section 66-8-102 of the New Mexico Annotated Statutes, any amount of active marijuana metabolites in the driver's blood or urine while driving may be used to establish that the driver was impaired or driving under the influence.

Note that because marijuana is fat-soluble, inactive metabolites remain in your body for hours or days after use depending on whether you are an occasional or a chronic user. If consumed occasionally, it can remain in the body for 12 hours. However, it can last for 2 to 30 days in the body of a chronic user. Hence, the presence of marijuana metabolites in your blood sample, in and of itself, may or may not be evidence of driving impairment.

Can I Buy Medical Marijuana in New Mexico?

You can purchase medical marijuana in New Mexico if you are above the age of 18 and have been diagnosed with a qualifying condition by a certified physician following evaluation. You can find a list of the current 28 qualifying conditions on the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program Website. You must also possess a medical marijuana card under the New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program. Per Senate Bill 523, the New Mexico Department of Health established a patient registry, issuing medical marijuana cards and licenses to patients, caregivers, and providers.

If you are below the age of 18 and have been diagnosed to suffer from one of the qualifying conditions, you can still purchase medical marijuana through a caregiver. A caregiver is an adult over the age of 21 designated by a patient who qualifies to use medical marijuana to help purchase medical marijuana and administer medical care.

Per SB 406, New Mexico allows for reciprocity by accepting out-of-state medical cards. SB 406 allows patients from any state, US territories, the District of Columbia, and New Mexico native tribes to purchase cannabis in the state. This legislation makes New Mexico's reciprocity one of the most liberal reciprocity policies in the United States. It only requires proof of physician authorization rather than cardholder status. Out-of-state medical marijuana patients may also obtain medical marijuana for conditions other than those on the qualifying conditions list.

Where Can I Buy Medical Marijuana in New Mexico?

If you possess a medical marijuana card in New Mexico, you can purchase medical marijuana at any of the state's licensed dispensaries or use a licensed delivery service. If you have obtained a personal production license in the state, you can also grow your own cannabis for use. You may use the New Mexico dispensary map tool on the state's Medical Cannabis Program website to find licensed dispensary locations in the state.

How Much is Medical Marijuana in New Mexico?

Before purchasing medical marijuana, you must obtain a medical marijuana card and get a signed physician's statement from a doctor licensed to practice in the state. New Mexico does not charge patients applying to be registered on the state's Patient Registry to obtain a medical marijuana card. However, a doctor's appointment may cost anywhere between $50 and $200.

Persons applying for PPL licenses to allow for personal production of marijuana by growing cannabis at home must obtain a PPL license for $30 and also pay the annual license renewal fee of $30. Persons with annual incomes lower than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines may be able to obtain PPLs for free.

Prices of medical marijuana products vary in New Mexico. Prices are dependent on the strain and form of marijuana, and the location where you buy from. You may also be able to purchase medical marijuana products in some dispensaries for cheaper than the average market prices if you qualify for their discount programs.

In New Mexico, the approximate prices for marijuana products are:

  • Flower: $50 (1/8th oz)
  • Pre-rolls: $13 per gram
  • Vapes: $40
  • Vapes Cartridges: $55
  • Tinctures: $45
  • Oral Spray: $22
  • Inhalers: $60
  • Transdermal Patches: $20
  • Topicals: $50
  • Nasal Sprays: $120
  • Capsules: $30 - $90

How Much Cannabis Can I Legally Have?

When purchasing medical cannabis in New Mexico, a patient is allowed up to 230 units or 8 ounces over a 3-month period. You can also possess up to eight ounces of concentrates across the same timeframe. The state breaks down the amount in detail in relation to the form of cannabis use, such as chocolate bars, capsules, tincture oil, and wax. For instance, if you are purchasing dried flower, a unit equals about a gram of cannabis. For edibles, tinctures, and topicals, 1 unit is 200 milligram or 0.2 grams of THC.

The units of medical cannabis bought are tracked every time you make a purchase at a dispensary. Purchased units are taken off your total available unit count after 90 days on the rolling 3-month period. For example, in a 90-day period, you may purchase 90 units of dried flower, 65 units of tinctures, 50 units of chocolate bars, and still have 25 units left.

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis program requires all items from approved dispensaries to be correctly labeled with the total amount of THC and number of units. You can track your purchases by registering online and using the patient tracking tool on the New Mexico Department of Health website.

If a medical marijuana patient or a designated caregiver applies for a Personal Production License (PPL) and is approved, the individual is only permitted to cultivate up to 12 mature plants and 4 seedings.

For recreational cannabis, New Mexico adults aged 21 and older can possess and use up to 2 ounces (56 grams) of flower, 16 grams of concentrate, and 800 milligrams of marijuana edibles as of June 29, 2021. According to HB 2, New Mexico recreational marijuana users may possess more cannabis (although the limits were not specified) at home if it is stored in a locked container away from public view. Note that licenses for dispensaries selling recreational marijuana are not expected to be issued until early 2022.

Where is Weed Legal?

State Legal Status Medicinal Recreational
Alabama Criminalized No No
Alaska Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arizona Decriminalized Yes Yes
Arkansas Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Colorado Decriminalized Yes Yes
Connecticut Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Delaware Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
District of Columbia Decriminalized Yes Yes
Florida Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Georgia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Hawaii Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Idaho Decriminalized No No
Illinois Decriminalized Yes Yes
Indiana Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Iowa Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Kansas Decriminalized No No
Kentucky Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Louisiana Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Maine Decriminalized Yes Yes
Maryland Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Massachusetts Decriminalized Yes Yes
Michigan Decriminalized Yes Yes
Minnesota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Mississippi Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Missouri Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Montana Decriminalized Yes Yes
Nebraska Decriminalized No Yes
Nevada Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Hampshire Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Jersey Decriminalized Yes Yes
New Mexico Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
New York Decriminalized Yes Yes
North Carolina Decriminalized No Yes
North Dakota Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Ohio Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
Oklahoma Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Oregon Decriminalized Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Rhode Island Partly Decriminalized Yes Yes
South Carolina Decriminalized No No
South Dakota Decriminalized Yes Yes
Tennessee Decriminalized No No
Texas Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Utah Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Vermont Decriminalized Yes Yes
Virginia Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil Yes
Washington Decriminalized Yes Yes
West Virginia Partly Decriminalized Yes No
Wisconsin Partly Decriminalized Accepts only CBD Oil No
Wyoming Decriminalized No No
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New Mexico Marijuana Limitations