Marijuana Reform in New Mexico

In 2021, New Mexico became the 17th state to legalize adult use marijuana. In a special session, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a package of legislation, the Cannabis Regulation Act (House Bill 2) and the Expungement and Resentencing Act (Senate Bill 2).   
DPA has been leading the campaign to legalize cannabis in New Mexico for years. From the beginning, we have been clear that any legislation that moves forward must be comprehensive – it must ensure equity and justice and begin to repair the damage of the drug war which has disproportionately impacted Hispanic/Latinx, Black, Native, and Indigenous people. 

Legislators rightly heard our call for justice and passed legislation that prioritizes repairing the damage of the drug war. We thank the Governor and our legislative allies for not taking "no" for an answer and stopping at nothing until we were able to get justice for New Mexico communities.
The Cannabis Regulation Act will create a system to tax and regulate cannabis responsibly for adults 21 and over and allows personal cultivation of up to six plants. It has strong medical cannabis patient protections and public health and safety provisions, and promotes diversity and equity in the new industry. And the Expungement and Resentencing Act provides vital expungement and resentencing provisions for people with past cannabis arrests or convictions. 

We have more work to do to finish the job. We will be advocating to ensure equity and social justice are not forgotten in the rule making process and we’ll be coming back strong during the 2022 budget session to secure funding for critical reinvestment in the communities that have been most harmed by prohibition. 

Learn more about what is in the new laws here.

Our Victories

  • In 2021, New Mexico legalizes adult use of marijuana.
  • In 2019, DPA was appointed to serve on the Governor’s Marijuana Legalization Work Group.
  • In 2019, New Mexico decriminalized marijuana and became the first state to decriminalize possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • In 2018, the City of Albuquerque decriminalized 1 ounce or less of marijuana and associated paraphernalia.
  • In 2018, DPA chaired a statewide Medical Cannabis Accessibility and Affordability Task Force called for by the New Mexico Senate. The recommendations in the report set the stage for improving the program so that all New Mexicans are able to better access medical cannabis to alleviate their debilitating conditions.
  • In 2014, the City of Santa Fe decriminalized 1 ounce or less of marijuana and associated paraphernalia, meaning there is no jail time associated with possession. DPA and ProgressNow NM led this initiative. 
  • DPA, along with a group of dedicated patients, served as the leading policy advocacy organization to get New Mexico’s medical cannabis law passed. After seven years of lobbying, the NM legislature passed a bill, and Gov. Bill Richardson signed the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act into law in 2007. New Mexico was the first state to license cannabis production at the state level, and became a national model. The medical cannabis program has grown steadily over the years and now serves more than 58,000 patients.