Cannabis in New Mexico

Cannabis in New Mexico is illegal for recreational use and remains a criminal offense, but is allowed for medical purposes.

Prohibition (1923)[edit]

In 1923, New Mexico banned the cultivation, importation, or sale of cannabis. The Santa Fe New Mexican noted:[1]

The Santa Fe representative, however, had better luck with his bill to prevent sale of marihuana, cannabis indica, Indian hemp or hashish as it is variously known. This bill was passed without any opposition. Marihuana was brought into local prominence at the penitentiary board’s investigation last summer when a convict testified he could get marihuana cigarettes anytime he had a dollar. The drug produces intoxication when chewed or smoked. Marihuana is the name commonly used in the Southwest and Mexico.

Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act (1978)[edit]

In February 1978 New Mexico was the first state to pass legislation that recognized the medical value of marijuana.[2] Representative David Salman was the main sponsor of the 1978 Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act (or Lynn Pierson Act), which allowed the medical use of marijuana.[3]
The act was to legalize the use of the drug to relieve pain and suffering from debilitating illnesses.[4]
The House Judiciary voted 9-1 to recommend passage of bill.[5]

Medical cannabis (2007)[edit]

In 2007, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson signed into law a bill to create a medical marijuana program in New Mexico. Prior to signing, Richardson had stated to the media, “I don’t see it as being a big issue … This is for medicinal purpose, for … people that are suffering. My God, let’s be reasonable.”[6]


  1. ^ Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding. The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. Commissioned by President Richard M. Nixon, March, 1972
  2. ^ Lester Grinspoon; James B. Bakalar (1997). Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine. Yale University Press. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-0-300-07086-6.
  3. ^ Associated Press (2010-03-02). “Ex-State Rep. Championed Education”. Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  4. ^ Boyd, Dan (2010-03-20). “Groundbreaking Legislator Eulogized at Capitol”. Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  5. ^ Terrell, Steve (2003-03-03). “House to Debate Medical Marijuana”. The New Mexican. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  6. ^ “Richardson to legalize medical marijuana – politics – Decision ’08 – Bill Richardson News”. NBC News. 2007-03-16. Retrieved 2016-11-07.