NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Cannabis Regulation Act makes recreational marijuana legal in New Mexico. While several details are yet to be hammered out by state regulators, the new rules on personal possession and use will go into effect Tuesday. Within the law, personal use will be legal as of June 29, 2021.
Under the new law, adults age 21 and older can possess a maximum of two ounces outside the home. You can legally possess more than two ounces inside your home, but it “must not be visible from a public place,” so discretion is key. If you’re caught with more than two but less than eight ounces of cannabis, 16 grams of cannabis extract, and more than 800 milligrams of edible cannabis in public, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor under the new law. KRQE previously reported on some of the other key numbers related to the new law.
As for smoking, you are not allowed to smoke in public under the new law. As the industry develops, the state will issue licenses for “cannabis consumption areas,” but until then, cannabis use is restricted to private property. Anyone who breaks this law is subject to a $50 civil penalty.
At home, you can also grow cannabis under the new law. But there are some limits. You can grow up to 12 plants at home without a permit, as long as you aren’t selling the cannabis or operating like a business. Growing more plants or selling cannabis products without a license could lead to a fourth-degree felony.
The new law also generally prohibits law enforcement from stopping or detaining a person solely because of the smell of weed. But this part of the law does not apply to people operating vehicles or when an officer thinks someone might be using a vehicle under the influence.
Adults under the age of 21 are not allowed to possess cannabis. Doing so could lead to a mandatory four-hour educational program or four hours of community service.
While the Cannabis Regulation Act is now in effect, retail sale of cannabis has yet to begin. The law stipulates that sales will start no later than April 1, 2022. But before that, would-be retailers and producers must obtain a license from the Cannabis Control Division (CCD) — the group in charge of statewide regulation.
The CCD told KRQE that they are in the process of developing rules for cannabis producer licenses. Tomorrow, June 29, 2021, they will hear public comments on a proposed draft. The CCD says they are eager to hear input from New Mexicans to ensure that the rules are fair and inclusive. You can find information and join the meeting on their website. Once the rules are codified, the CCD will begin accepting and processing licenses for commercial cannabis producers no later than September of 2021.
In Albuquerque, the city council recently updated the zoning code to include rules on when and where cannabis business will be able to operate. The most restrictive proposed rules, such as limiting retail sales after 10:00 p.m., failed to materialize, but there are some limits on potential retail locations.
In addition to legalizing marijuana, New Mexico also developed new expungement legislation to help decriminalize cannabis. Under the law, the department of public safety has until January 1, 2022, to identify criminal records eligible for expungement.