Adult-use cannabis will be legal in New Mexico at the end of June, but sales are not expected to begin until next Spring.
The state will also allow New Mexico residents to grow cannabis at home. Emily Kaltenbach of the Drug Policy Alliance says this is a key benefit of the law.
“I think there are multiple ways that it can benefit residents. For one, individuals who are low income can grow the plants at home, just like currently medical cannabis patients can. We obviously live in a very rural state, so folks that can’t drive hundreds of miles to get to the nearest retailer might choose to grow plants at home,” said Kaltenbach.
Kaltenbach says New Mexico is placing restrictions on the number of plants that can be grown at home.
“There’s a cap on the number of plants that individuals can grow. For example, you can’t have more than six mature plants and six immature plants. If there are multiple adults that live in one household, you cannot have more than twelve mature and twelve immature plants,” said Kaltenbach.
Possession and growth of cannabis will only be legal for individuals 21 and older. In order to reduce the risk of minors using cannabis, Kaltenbach states that New Mexico needs to focus on education about responsible adult use and growth of cannabis at home.
“We need to educate New Mexicans on what is responsible adult use of cannabis. We advocate that if people are going to be growing, then they grow in a secure, locked area. Just like if you had a firearm – you wouldn’t want your toddler or child having access. We need to educate folks who will be participating in this new industry,” said Kaltenbach.
As marijuana can be packaged in many forms, Kaltenbach says there’s a need for child-proof packaging.
“I think having a plant lying around is not a huge danger, but what is more concerning is obviously edibles that are made to look like candy or desserts. We’ve learned from Colorado that we need child-proof packaging. We need to not allow products to mimic a candy,” said Kaltenbach.
Medical cannabis patients may continue to grow plants at home, and Kaltenbach says the at home growth of cannabis plants should not impact local dispensaries.
“I don’t think that there will be any economic impact on local dispensaries at all. I think a small number of people will choose to grow their own, but it’s not going to be an impact for the industry from an economic perspective,” said Kaltenbach.
Cannabis growth and possession will be legal in New Mexico on June 29, but legal retail sales will not start until April 2022.