New Mexico Cannabis Laws

Discover the latest cannabis laws in New Mexico, learn about dispensary licensing regulations, eligibility criteria, how to apply, and more.


Dispensaries in New Mexico began recreational cannabis sales on April 1, 2022, with the first recreational cannabis sale occurring at a Cova-powered store. Since then, the Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA) has created a comprehensive licensing, taxing, and enforcement regulatory structure for adult-use cannabis in the state that is administered by the Cannabis Control Division (CCD).

In other words, a lot has changed, including numerous legal and compliance updates for cannabis retailers. This comprehensive guide dives into the legal, regulatory, and compliance aspects of starting and running a Cannabis dispensary in New Mexico.

Disclaimer: This page is meant to educate readers and spread awareness only, it is not intended to be, nor should be considered legal advice. This page is current as of March 22, 2024. Given the evolving nature of cannabis regulations, legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel.

Latest Updates

New Bill Increases Enforcement Powers for the Cannabis Control Division

In March 2024, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Senate Bill 6 which gives the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) as well as its parent department, New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (NMRLD) more enforcement powers to fight unlicensed and out-of-state cannabis products.

Other changes include:

  • Closing a loophole that many exploited to get licenses without federal background checks
  • Stricter criminal penalties for unlicensed activities and new advertising requirements
  • Expanding criminal charges that would disqualify cannabis business license applicants
  • Allowing individuals to hold licenses under both the Liquor Control Act and the Cannabis Regulation Act but forbidding operation of both license types in the same location, at the same time.

New Mexico Senate Votes To Keep Marijuana Drive-Thrus Open

On February 5, 2024, the New Mexico Senate passed an amendment that allows cannabis dispensaries to continue selling cannabis products at drive-thru windows. Cannabis drive-thru windows were called into question earlier with concerns about road safety. However, supporters believe drive-thru windows are crucial for making critical drugs accessible to disabled people with limited mobility. The amendment was passed by one vote.

Legal Weed Sales in New Mexico Top $1 Billion

Two years after the launch of New Mexico’s legal cannabis market, the office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham reported that cannabis sales have crossed $1 billion ($678.4 million of adult-use cannabis products and $331.6 million in medical products).

The milestone was reached after New Mexico’s cannabis market crossed $500 million in its first full year since recreational cannabis was legalized and also setting multiple other sales records around the time.

Governor Signs Cannabis Expungement Processing Bill

In April 2023, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed HB 314 into law, which would help make the expungement process for prior cannabis convictions more efficient. This is another important step in social equity after New Mexico introduced automatic expungements and re-sentencing provisions. Unfortunately, since then, the expungement process has faced technical issues for many cases.

This new law will allow people to verify the status of their expungement and request expedited processing for charges that have yet to be handled by the courts.

New Mexico Cannabis Laws Quick Peek

  • Cannabis is legal in New Mexico for adults 21+ for both recreational and medical use as with the passing of the Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA) on June 29, 2021
  • On April 1, 2022 cannabis started to be sold in dispensaries across New Mexico with the first licensed cannabis dispensary using the Cova Dispensary POS system
  • The regulating organization in New Mexico for cannabis is the Cannabis Control Division (CCD)
  • Adults can now purchase up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower, 16 grams of cannabis concentrate, and 800 milligrams of cannabis edibles
  • Cannabis can only be consumed in a private setting and not in public.
  • The base cost to open a cannabis dispensary in New Mexico is $2,500 for most licenses, a $1,000 fee per licensed facility, plus lease and staffing operational costs
  • New Mexico has partnered with BioTrack as the official inventory tracking system

Key Dispensary Laws and Regulations

Minimum Age: The minimum age to possess and consume cannabis in New Mexico is 21 years or older.

Possession Limits: Adults are allowed to purchase and possess up to 2 ounces of dried cannabis, 16 grams of concentrated cannabis, and 800 milligrams of edibles for personal use at any given time. Possession inside of homes is unlimited (given it's not visible to the public).

Medical Use: Medical cannabis is legally available to New Mexicans through the State’s medical marijuana program. Patients must be registered under the state’s medical cannabis program, hold a medical marijuana card, and have obtained a prescription from licensed physicians.

Recreational Use: Recreational cannabis can legally be bought and sold in New Mexico.

Consumption Areas: The state of New Mexico limits the use of Cannabis (smoking, vaping, eating, etc.) to private residences or to designated “cannabis consumption areas”. It is illegal to use cannabis or cannabis products while driving or while in public spaces (restaurants, parks, public sidewalks, etc.). If cited, you are subject to up to a $50 fine.

Regulatory Organization: The Cannabis Control Division, overseen by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Division, is responsible for licensing and regulation of cannabis in New Mexico.

Growing Regulations: Individuals over 21 years old are able to grow up to 6 plants per person or 12 per household.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can purchase cannabis in New Mexico, and what are the limits?

Adults 21 and older are allowed to:

  • Possess, purchase, and give other adults up to two ounces of cannabis, up to 16 grams of concentrated marijuana, and 800 milligrams of edible cannabis.
  • Create cannabis-infused foods at home or perform extracts that do not involve volatile solvents.
  • Possess a larger amount of cannabis, if it is stored in a locked space at the person’s residence that is not visible from public spaces.
  • Possess, manufacture, and give away paraphernalia.
  • There is no limit to the number of transactions a consumer can make in one day.

Are there any qualifying conditions for medical marijuana patients in New Mexico?

The NMDOH maintains a complete list of qualifying conditions. Patients with the following conditions can qualify for medical marijuana use:

  • Insomnia (added in May 2023)
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Anorexia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Crohn's disease
  • Epilepsy and seizure disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hospice care
  • Huntington's disease
  • Inclusion-body myositis
  • Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Intractable spasticity
  • Lewy body disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Severe chronic pain
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Ulcerative colitis

Is home cultivation allowed in New Mexico?

Yes, recreational marijuana can be grown by adults aged 21 or older, but cultivation is prohibited to six mature and six immature cannabis plants, with a maximum of 6 mature plants per person and 12 mature plants per household. Cultivation must only take place in an enclosed area where the marijuana plants are not visible to the public.

Where can cannabis be consumed in New Mexico?

Cannabis consumption is limited to private property out of public view.

Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal, and consumption in a vehicle is prohibited for both drivers and passengers. Adults, patients, and caregivers may face criminal prosecution or civil penalties for possession, distribution, transfer, or consumption in a school bus or public transportation vehicle, school campuses, workplaces, public parks, recreation centers, or youth centers.

Retail Cannabis Licensing in New Mexico

Everything you need to know about opening a retail cannabis location in New Mexico.

What state agency is in charge of cannabis licensing in New Mexico?

The Cannabis Control Division, a part of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (NMRLD) create rules to license and regulate cannabis businesses. As of, March 2024, the CCD will license 10 types of cannabis businesses:

  • Cannabis Consumption Area
  • Cannabis Courier
  • Cannabis Manufacturer
  • Cannabis Producer
  • Cannabis Producer Microbusiness
  • Cannabis Research Laboratory
  • Cannabis Retailer
  • Cannabis Testing Laboratory
  • Integrated Cannabis Microbusiness (MICB)
  • Vertically Integrated Cannabis Establishment (VICE)

Who can apply for a Cannabis dispensary license in New Mexico?

Any qualified applicant can apply for a cannabis dispensary license in New Mexico. Within 90 days of deeming an application complete, the Division will grant or deny the license.

A background check is performed on each controlling persons, including board members and individuals with a 10% or greater financial or voting interest.

As per the Cannabis Regulation Act, 26-2C-7 sections (E) and (F) NMSA 1978, individuals with criminal charges may have their application rejected for felony convictions involving fraud, embezzlement, or deceit, or involving a minor in drug sales. Additionally, any offense deemed relevant by the division may also result in disqualification. Past cannabis convictions are excluded.

What is the process for obtaining an adult-use cannabis retail license in New Mexico?

The CCD has very helpful application checklists for three major license types (Retailer, Producer, and Manufacturer). The key steps in obtaining an adult-use cannabis retail license in New Mexico include:

  • Uploading a social and economic equity plan, proof of age for controlling persons, and a water and energy use plan.
  • Applicants must complete an Authorization for Release of Information form and certify adherence to various requirements, including background checks, retail, transport, security, quality assurance, and compliance with local laws and regulations.
  • Applicants must also ensure business standing with the New Mexico Secretary of State and obtain a local jurisdiction business license. Failure to meet these requirements can lead to noncompliance and potential cancellation, suspension, or revocation of the application or license.

Additionally, applicants can find all the relevant forms for a cannabis retail license here.

There are no fixed timeframes on how long each application may take to get approved since the CCD reviews these applications on a case-by-case basis.

What are the application and license fees in New Mexico?

The various fees for all license types in New Mexico are published on the CCD website. Here is the summary of the various application and license fees:

  • Cannabis Producer License: $2,500 annually, with an additional $1,000 per licensed premises. There's also an annual fee per plant, ranging from $2.50 to $5.00 per mature plant.
  • Cannabis Producer Microbusiness License: The fee ranges from $500 to $1,000 annually, based on the number of plants grown.
  • Cannabis Manufacturer License: $2,500 annually, plus $1,000 per licensed premises.
  • Cannabis Retailer License: $2,500 annually, plus $1,000 per licensed premises.
  • Vertically Integrated Cannabis Establishment License: $7,500 annually, with an additional $1,000 per licensed premises. There's also an annual per plant producer fee. The initial application and annual renewal fees cannot exceed $125,000 per license for both medical and adult use.
  • Integrated Cannabis Microbusiness License: Fees range from $1,000 to $2,500 annually, based on the number of activities conducted.
  • Cannabis Testing Laboratory License: $2,500 annually, plus $1,000 per licensed premises.
  • Cannabis Research Laboratory License: $2,500 annually, plus $1,000 per licensed premises.
  • Cannabis Courier License: $250 annually, plus $100 per licensed premises.
  • Cannabis Consumption Area: Up to $2,500 annually.
  • Fees are reduced by half for medical dispensaries only.

Has New Mexico incorporated any social equity provisions?

Although the CCD has not established comprehensive social equity provisions in the same way as some other states (like New York), it offers microbusiness licenses to individual cannabis producers to help entrepreneurs enter the cannabis market at a smaller scale.

More importantly, it does not place caps on the number of cannabis licenses issued, and encourages people from communities disproportionately harmed by enforcement of cannabis prohibition to participate in the cannabis market.

In addition to this, the division produces annual reports on diversity in the industry, the latest of which can be found here. These reports highlight ownership figures for race, ethnicity, gender.

New Mexico Cannabis Retail and Dispensary Establishment Laws

Learn how to remain compliant with New Mexico’s cannabis retail laws.

Where can a cannabis retail establishment be located?

Cannabis retail sales are allowed to be located within 300 feet of a lot containing a residential use in a Mixed-use zone district with a Conditional Use Approval. Recent amendments now prohibit the establishment of cannabis retail outlets on lots adjacent to a Main Street corridor, group homes, and religious institutions. On-site consumption is also not permitted on lots adjacent to a Main Street corridor.

Additionally, municipalities and counties can set rules governing the time, location, and operations of cannabis businesses, including restrictions on license density and operating hours to align with neighborhood needs.

Whom can New Mexico cannabis retailers sell to?

Licensed adult-use cannabis retailers may sell cannabis to adults aged 21 and older, with a valid government-issued identification card, and employees are required to check purchasers’ IDs before making the sale.

What products can a New Mexico marijuana retailer sell?

Marijuana stores may sell cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabis products, cannabis edibles, cannabis extracts, seedlings, immature marijuana plants, and marijuana paraphernalia.

Can medical marijuana and recreational cannabis be sold in the same dispensary?

Yes, medical marijuana dispensaries that obtain a recreational marijuana dispensary license could operate both entities in the same/shared location.

What taxes are collected on retail cannabis in New Mexico?

New Mexico levies a 12 percent excise tax on cannabis sales that is paid by consumers and remitted by retailers. Other useful tax information include:

  • The 12% excise tax will increase by one percentage point per year, maxing out at 18% on July 1, 2030. The tax does not apply to any sales to registered patients, caregivers, or visiting patients from other states.
  • One-third of the cannabis excise tax revenue will go to the municipality where the sales were made. Another third of the cannabis excise tax revenue will go to the county where the sales were made.
  • Gross receipts taxes — which range from 5.125% to 8.8125%, depending on the location in the state — would apply to adult-use, but not medical, cannabis.

For more information, applicants can refer to the FYI-260 document which goes over tax obligations of operating a cannabis business in the state of New Mexico.

How many cannabis business licenses will be issued in New Mexico?

There is no set limit on the number of business licensees that could be granted under the program, or the number of facilities a licensee could open. That said, regulators could stop issuing new licenses if an advisory committee determines that “market equilibrium is deficient.”

What are the packing and labeling requirements for a cannabis retail store in New Mexico?

The Cannabis Control Division has established and updated rules that govern all labeling and packaging activities for cannabis retail stores in New Mexico. These packing and labeling requirements are laid out in section N.M. Code R. § of the New Mexico Administrative Code.

As of early 2024, the latest key highlights from the document are:

  • Packaging and labels must not be designed to appeal to children or be targeted towards minors.
  • Labels must include detailed information such as the strain name, manufacture and expiration dates, cannabinoid content, total weight, batch information, and names of entities involved in production.
  • Warnings must be included on possible adverse events including for THC consumption during pregnancy or breastfeeding, driving under the influence, and vaping risks. The number for New Mexico’s poison control must also be present on the label.
  • Drug information sheets must accompany each product sold or distributed, containing batch information, pesticide use, cannabinoid content, storage instructions, product ingredients, and allergy warnings.
  • Expiration dates on product labels must not be altered or obscured, and expired products must be wasted and deducted from inventory.
  • Non-compliance with packaging or labeling requirements may result in suspension of sales, product recall, relabeling orders, or disciplinary action by the department.

What are the marketing and advertising restrictions on cannabis sales in New Mexico?

The marketing and advertising restrictions and required practices are laid out in section N.M. Code R. § of the New Mexico Administrative Code.

Here are the key highlights from the document:

  • Advertising is banned on TV, radio, and mass transit, and to adults who have not opted-in or who subscribed to subscription-based media.
  • Advertising cannot use predatory marketing targeting minors, use cartoon characters, or mimic other brands.
  • Advertisements are limited to areas where at least 70% of the audience is 21 years or older.
  • Any public advertisement must include the statement “Please Consume Responsibly”.
  • Advertisements must not be deceptive, misleading, or false, this includes unsubstantiated health benefit claims.
  • Advertisements must not promote overconsumption or depict actual consumption of cannabis products.
  • Branding is not considered marketing or advertising, and is thus exempt from required warnings and statements for advertising. However, it still must not appeal to children or be otherwise targeted at minors.

Is cannabis delivery allowed in New Mexico?

Yes, cannabis delivery is allowed but only between 7 am and 10 pm, timings that coincide with cannabis retail sales inside a dispensary as well.

Cannabis Tracking and Reporting in New Mexico

Every regulated cannabis market has its own tracking and reporting requirements. Find here how New Mexico monitors commercial cannabis activity.

What are the tracking, reporting, and inventory control requirements for New Mexico marijuana establishments?

Most states require dispensaries and cannabis stores to track and trace all of their cannabis products for regulatory and compliance reporting requirements. Records identifying the source of each ingredient must include the date of receipt of the ingredient, vendor’s name and address, name of the ingredient, etc. A compliant POS software system helps you do all of that without any worries or violations.

The Cova Dispensary POS is an example of such a system – it synchronizes directly with Quickbooks® (or export into other file formats) and also automatically syncs with METRC and other regulatory systems. Cova also meets several industry compliance regulations, including Type 1 HIPAA and SOC 2 Type II.

New Mexico’s tracking, reporting, and inventory control requirements for all licensees of cannabis establishments are laid out in section N.M. Code R. § of the New Mexico Administrative Code.

  • Immature cannabis plants must each be assigned an individual track and trace number via a plant tag.
  • These plants should be grouped together and separated from mature plants.
  • When transferred between licensees, immature plants must be labeled with corresponding track and trace numbers.
  • Mature cannabis plants require tagging with a plant tag attached to the main stem at the base, kept visible and free from dirt and debris.
  • Plant tags cannot be removed until the plant is harvested, destroyed, or disposed of.
  • Cannabis and cannabis products must be tracked according to packaging and labeling requirements.
  • Additional recorded information includes maintaining a complete inventory, noting changes, and recording conversions to waste and subsequent destruction.
  • Document authorized transfers, theft, sales records, and mandatory testing results, including county and municipality details.
  • Other specified information required by the tracking system or division must also be recorded, including segregation during testing.

In addition to these general requirements, make sure to check for additional compliance requirements specific to your license type.

What is New Mexico’s official cannabis monitoring system?

New Mexico uses BioTrack as the state mandatory tracking system for medical and adult-use/recreational cannabis and requires cannabis businesses to use BioTrack for their traceability system.

Licensed cannabis retailers in New Mexico will use BioTrack’s integration with their inventory and sales tracking systems to log the movement of cannabis from seed to sale. Authorities always expect an adequate inventory control system for safeguarding records and patient information, especially for medical marijuana.

Is Cova compliant with New Mexico’s cannabis retail reporting requirements?

Yes. Cova's Cannabis Dispensary POS Software and inventory management system is one of the leading cannabis retail POS systems in New Mexico and adheres to all reporting requirements of the state. Cova can be integrated easily with official reporting systems, including BioTrack, as well as all the features needed to keep cannabis retailers compliant, including:

  • ID scanner for age and card verification
  • Integrated inventory and sales tracking and reporting
  • Built-in product equivalency conversions and purchase limit enforcement

Additional Resources


As of early 2024, the sale of adult recreational cannabis has been legal in New Mexico for three years. In the time since the Cannabis Regulation Act (CRA) officially went into effect, the state of New Mexico has introduced numerous measures to help the cannabis market grow.

Have these measures worked? The data says so. According to CCD’s Cannabis Reporting Online Portal (CROP), New Mexico has approved 2,873 licenses as of March 1, 2024, including 1,050 retailer licenses. The state has generated over $1 billion in all-time revenue, with nearly $48 million in February 2024 alone.

New Mexico also holds the record for the highest amount ever recorded in one single transaction – $2,000 worth of cannabis products purchased through the Cova dispensary POS system on last year’s 4/20. All of this points to 2024 being even bigger for cannabis dispensaries in New Mexico.



Cannabis Business Lawyer & Founding Partner, Segev LLP

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Ron Segev is the founding partner of Segev LLP. A practical-minded business lawyer with expertise in the cannabis industry, he represents cultivators, dispensaries, CBD extractors, oil extractors, food processors, media and marketing companies, consultancies, and other businesses in the legal cannabis market.

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