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New Mexico Marijuana Laws

Maybe you’ve been seeing the news that a few states, including our northern neighbor Colorado, have recently legalized recreational marijuana use. And maybe you’re wondering if New Mexico is next. The answer is not quite yet. Despite Colorado’s legalization efforts and some in-state decriminalization support, the Land of Enchantment still prohibits marijuana possession, except for medical use. This is a basic overview of New Mexico’s marijuana laws.

Marijuana Laws in New Mexico

For the most part, state marijuana laws still prohibit marijuana possession and sale in New Mexico, with penalties depending on the amount of pot involved, the location of the sale, and the criminal history of the seller. New Mexico does allow patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions to use marijuana to alleviate symptoms. New Mexico’s marijuana statutes are highlighted below.

Code Section

New Mexico Statutes 30-31-1, et seq.: Controlled Substances

New Mexico Statutes 26-2B-1, et seq.: Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use act


Under 1 oz.: petty misdemeanor, 15 days and $50-$100;

1-8 oz.: misdemeanor, 1 yr. and $100-$1000;

Over 8 oz.: 4th degree felony;

Subsequent offense: Under 1 oz.: misdemeanor, 1 yr., $100-$1000

Exceptions: A qualified patient or patient’s caregiver shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner for the possession of or the medical use of cannabis if the quantity of cannabis does not exceed an adequate supply.


4th degree felony;

If over 100 lbs., 3rd degree felony;

Subsequent offense: 3rd degree felony;

If over 100 lbs.: 2nd degree felony;

Higher penalties if in drug-free school zone



While New Mexico regulates pot within the state, the federal government also restricts marijuana possession, sale, and trafficking by way of the Controlled Substance Act. So if the thought of sneaking to Colorado to circumvent New Mexico’s marijuana ban had crossed your mind, you should be aware that even if one state’s marijuana laws say it’s legal, federal law always trumps state law and applies to interstate commerce. While federal law enforcement agencies have mostly left in-state marijuana cases to in-state authorities, the federal government may still enforce prohibitions on interstate cases of pot possession, manufacturing and cultivation and trafficking and distribution.

More Resources for New Mexico Marijuana Laws

As noted above, drug laws can be complex and are subject to change. For additional articles and resources on this topic you can visit FindLaw's section on Drug Charges. If you would like legal assistance with a drug matter, you can consult with a New Mexico drug crime attorney. And if you or someone you know may have a drug or substance abuse problem, New Mexico’s Office of Substance Abuse Prevention has resources that can help.

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