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New Mexico Decriminalizes Marijuana and Expands Medical Marijuana Program

by Ella Young April 16, 2019

On April 3rd 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed SB 323 into law which decriminalizes marijuana possession in New Mexico. Penalties for possession of up to a half-ounce of cannabis will be decreased to a $50 fine, treated as a penalty assessment misdemeanor and not considered a criminal conviction. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Joseph Cervantes, opposes full legalization of cannabis, however he has been pushing versions of the bill to eliminate criminal charges since early 2015. The law will go into effect July 1st, 2019. This makes New Mexico the 24th state to decriminalize marijuana.

On April 5th 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan signed SB 406 into law which will make substantial changes to New Mexico’s medical marijuana law. These new approved proposals will require New Mexico’s health department to promulgate new rules and regulations. Senate Bill 406 is the first major statutorial change to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act since it was enacted in 2007. Grisham supported legalizing recreational cannabis during her campaign and said the issue would return to the state's legislative agenda in 2020, according to the Albuquerque Journal.


Among these sweeping changes, the more pertinent include:

  • Allowing medical cannabis in school
  • Allowing reciprocity - patients with valid medical marijuana cards from other states may purchase medical marijuana during their visit
  • Creating a new Personal Production license which allows patients in rural areas to grow marijuana and send it to manufacturers to process it into products for them
  • Allowing licensed establishments to have “consumption areas” where patients may consume medical marijuana on-site
  • Extending the validity of patient registration cards from one year to three years


With the newly passed decriminalization bill in conjunction with the advancements in medical marijuana legislation, this is a huge success in implementing positive change. Although New Mexico was not able to legalize recreational marijuana this legislative session, the passage of these bills is a great alternative to relax the state's marijuana laws.


Interested In Applying For A Personal Production License In New Mexico?

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