Several MMJ programs across the country are experiencing problems in terms of supply, licensing, and online registry platforms. However, medical marijuana in New Mexico is performing surprisingly well in recent times.
Sales from the program totaled $129 million in 2019. Ultra Health, the #1 company in the state, earned over $9 million during the first six months of that year. In 2020, there were an estimated 82,000 patients in the MMJ program in New Mexico.
Furthermore, up to 75% of residents are now in favor of full legalization. Recreational cannabis remains illegal at the time of writing, and an attempt to bring a bill into play failed in February 2020.
The state recently decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis. If caught with less than half an ounce, the punishment is a $50 fine. Possession of between half and a full ounce is a misdemeanor. That said, you could end up in prison for 15 days. Furthermore, those found with more than 8 ounces face a felony criminal charge, with a fine of $5,000 or more. More pertinently, a jail term of up to 18 months is possible. Therefore, your only way to use the herb is by applying for the state’s MMJ program.
Do you live in New Mexico and require a medical marijuana card? If so, this comprehensive guide on how to apply for the program is for you.
How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in New Mexico
Step 1 – Contact a Physician
The first step to getting a medical marijuana card in the state of New Mexico is to obtain your medical records. Next, get a signed physician’s statement from a doctor that is licensed to practice in the state. The appointment is usually a straightforward process. The doctor will ask you a few questions about your condition to see if medical marijuana is a viable option.
What if your physician does not approve of MMJ as a medicine? In that case, you can book an appointment at one of many clinics and doctor’s offices throughout the state. These facilities specialize in medical marijuana consultations.
Up until recently, only state residents could get a card. At that point, you had to provide proof of residency. For example, a New Mexico ID, passport, or another photo ID that declares residency (bank statement or utility bill).
However, in September 2019, New Mexico began to issue cards to non-residents. An Arizona resident named Duke Rodriguez became the first non-NM resident to receive a card in the state. Two petitioners from Texas also succeeded in their quest. All three were able to prove that they needed access to medical marijuana. A District Judge ruled in favor of the trio, although the state is planning an appeal.
Step 2 – Register Online and Submit Your Application
After the consultation, you will obtain an official document stating you are a valid patient. (See below for the full list of qualifying conditions). Next, register online with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Submit your application to receive your registry identification card.
In most instances, the doctor’s office that schedules your initial consultation will take care of the entire registration/application process. It usually happens on the same day as your visit. However, they charge a consultation fee. If your physician doesn’t sort it out, the onus is on you to do so.
*For further information on downloading the application packet, meeting with a physician, submitting the application, etc., feel free to contact the New Mexico Department of Health Medical Cannabis Program at:
Medical Cannabis Program
1190 Saint Francis Drive Suite S-3400
Santa Fe, NM 87505
You should receive your MMJ card in the post within 7-10 business days.
The process for renewing a medical marijuana card in New Mexico is similar to those applying for the first time. To restore your card, apply 60 days before the expiration of your old card. All cards are processed in the order they are received by the state.
What Are the New Mexico Medical Marijuana Costs?
The New Mexico Patient Registry doesn’t charge MMJ patients for applying. You can access and complete the application by downloading the following form. A doctor’s appointment costs anywhere from $50 to $150.
Those who wish to cultivate medical marijuana must apply and submit a Medical Cannabis Personal Production Application. You also need a copy of your New Mexico driver’s license or state identification card. The license application fee is $30 unless your annual income is less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. In that case, it is free.
What Conditions Qualify for a Medical Marijuana Card in New Mexico?
The New Mexico medical marijuana program officially passed on March 13, 2007. The House approved Senate Bill 523 – aka “The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act” by a 36-31 margin. It quickly passed the Senate by 32 votes to 3. The law came into effect on July 1, 2007.
To qualify, a physician must diagnose a patient as having one of the following debilitating medical conditions:
- Severe chronic pain
- Painful peripheral neuropathy
- Intractable nausea/vomiting
- Severe anorexia/cachexia
- Hepatitis C infection currently receiving antiviral treatment
- Crohn’s disease
- Cervical dystonia
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Huntington’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Hospice patients
The above is not an exhaustive list. At the last count, New Mexico allowed for up to 29 qualifying conditions.
*For those applying for medical marijuana in New Mexico, please note that if applying due to:
- Chronic pain, the patient must have a second certification from a specialist.
- PTSD, the patient must have medical records showing a psychiatrist’s diagnosis.
- Glaucoma, the patient must have medical records showing an ophthalmologist’s diagnosis.
- Inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis, the patient must have a certification from a rheumatologist.
Other Information on the New Mexico Medical Marijuana License Process
Although the NM medical marijuana program is relatively old by state standards, prospective patients are often confused by the contradictory information they read. We aim to clear up a few things in this section.
How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?
MMJ patients in New Mexico can possess “an adequate supply” of marijuana. This is defined as a maximum quantity of no more than 230 units (approximately eight ounces) over three months. You can also possess up to eight ounces of concentrates across the same timeframe.
Can I Grow Cannabis at Home?
Yes. You need to obtain a Personal Production License (PPL). It permits you to grow a total of 12 Cannabis sativa seedlings. You can also grow up to four mature marijuana plants. A licensed producer can grow up to 150 mature plants!
Where Can I Buy My MMJ?
Patients must purchase from a Licensed Non-Profit Producer. At the time of writing, there are over 660 dispensaries in New Mexico. The rate of 16.5 dispensaries per 100,000 residents is among the highest in the country
Where Can I Use My Medical Marijuana in New Mexico?
New Mexico does not permit the public use of medical marijuana. An enrollee’s participation in the medical cannabis program does not shield them from criminal prosecution for certain activities. These activities may include:
- Using any form of cannabis on a school bus, school grounds, or property.
- Marijuana use in the workplace.
- Using cannabis at a public park, recreation center, youth center, or any other public place.
- Transferring or distributing any form of cannabis product to anybody not authorized under New Mexico MMJ legislation.
- Transporting any pot outside New Mexico or attempting to move a cannabis product outside state lines.
- Possessing amounts of medical marijuana that exceed the allotted amount.
Also, your car is a public place. As such, the use of marijuana in your vehicle is prohibited under 26-2B-5 (4).
Can I Take My Medical Marijuana to a Different State?
No. Medical marijuana patients may face federal and local charges of transporting pot if they cross state lines with the drug. This is true even if traveling in ‘legal’ states. If you need to leave New Mexico with your cannabis, contact the relevant Bureau of Health in the state(s) you are traveling in.
Does New Mexico Have a Reciprocity Agreement?
Yes. Valid MMJ cardholders in any U.S. state with an active medical cannabis program may buy cannabis from a licensed New Mexico medical marijuana dispensary.
Can I Assign a Caregiver?
Yes. You can assign an individual aged 21+ who is a resident of New Mexico. This caregiver can only provide care for one patient at a time. They must submit their application along with that of their designated patient. Minors must select at least one adult parent or legal guardian as a caregiver. An MMJ patient can assign up to two caregivers.
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