ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) – Possessing and growing cannabis became legal in New Mexico on June 29, after the Cannabis Regulation Act officially took effect. Although some limits remain, lawmakers such as Representative Andrea Romero said New Mexicans will no longer have to fear being arrested for the substance.
Rep. Romero was an advocate for the bill, lawmakers such as her having adopted the goal of decriminalizing marijuana.
The bill states that those 21 years and older are allowed a certain amount of marijuana on them.
“You must be over the age of 21 so anyone who can possess it must be over the age of 21,” said Rep. Romero. “So you can possess up to two ounces as a plant, up to 800 milligrams as edibles and 16 grams of extract… That’s like the different waxes and things currently, you’re allowed to possess all of that.”
However, New Mexicans still won’t be able to buy it in stores until next year.
“Could be sooner depending on the Regulations and Licensing Department offers the opportunity but that really deals with a lot of rulemaking that needs to be in place before April first,” said Rep. Romero.
New Mexicans are now also able to grow marijuana at home, but are limited to six plants for an individual or 12 for a household with two or more adults over 21. However, those who grow their own are still not allowed to sell it to others; cannabis businesses will need to follow local guidelines and restrictions for sale.
As far as where New Mexicans are now allowed to use marijuana, public places are still off-limits. However, cities are able to create their own consumption areas, according to the bill.
Crossing state lines with marijuana is still against federal law. New Mexicans are not allowed, despite the bill, to travel to a different state to buy the substance and then bring it home.
As far as enforcement goes, New Mexico State Police said they’ll still be on the lookout for impaired drivers and for people who possess more than the legal limit. “Just like with alcohol, if you choose to use don’t drive, period,” said Cpt. Micah Doering with the NMSP. “Drugged or alcohol-impaired drivers, our enforcement techniques are not going to change at all.”
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Licensing Department Superintended Linda Trujillo heralded the day.
“This is a landmark day, a huge step forward both for social justice and economic development in our state,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We are proactively stopping the disproportionate criminalization of people of color for cannabis possession, and we are building a new industry in which all New Mexicans can participate—and that will bring millions of dollars to our local communities and our state.”
The Governor’s office said that moving forward, the newly created Cannabis Control Division will oversee both medical and adult-use cannabis in New Mexico.
“We are excited at the Cannabis Control Division to play such a key role in bringing adult-use cannabis sales to fruition in New Mexico,” said Superintendent Trujillo. “The economic impact of adult-use sales will be significant and we are committed to ensuring a timely, open process that allows New Mexico entrepreneurs and businesses the opportunity to enter this new industry.”