The process for obtaining a medical cannabis card can be confusing and frustrating. Here we clear the smoke to make it as easy for those with qualifying conditions to join a 75,000+ strong community of cannabis consumers in New Mexico.
3 Types of Cannabis Cards:
- Personal: meant for personal use. This card is for an individual who wants to purchase and consume cannabis for themselves.
- Caregiver: meant for a person authorized to purchase and consult on behalf of a registered medical cannabis patient. Beneficial for patients who are underage or who otherwise need help with consultations or purchasing products and services. Requires a background check which is easily accessible from a site like SentryLink.com and costs about $20.
- Personal Production License: meant for patients that wish to cultivate their own plants. This card must be applied for separately from the medical cannabis card and allows you to grow a limited number of plants on approved property.
Any New Mexico practitioner with prescribing authority, including your primary care provider, can sign the medical certification on the patient application. Call to inquire if your primary care provider is able and willing to certify your paperwork. Otherwise, find a list of approved providers here. You will need to make an appointment and prepare to pay the fee for consultation which is unique to each provider.
Getting Your Card:
- Make an appointment to see a provider. Bring the application to your appointment if the provider does not already have them available for you.
- Make sure all required signatures are on the application, including from the patient and certifying practitioner. Make copies of all documents for your personal records.
- Include a current, valid copy of your New Mexico identification card or your New Mexico drivers licence.
- Submit copies of all applicable medical records to support the qualifying condition sited by your certifying practitioner. This does not necessarily pertain to patients applying under PTSD condition.
- Be sure to follow the checklist on the application to ensure all required information is submitted. Applications missing key documents will be delayed or rejected.
- Mail or deliver your paperwork to the New Mexico Department of Health. Some providers may complete this step for you.
- Be patient. The application and approval process can take 30 to 60 days to complete. If approved, your card will be mailed to your address. At that point you may start purchasing products from any New Mexico licenced cannabis dispensary.
Once You Have Your Card:
After you receive your card in the mail its important to know the rules around purchasing and traveling with your medicine. We cover those below as well as some reminders about your card and keeping in compliance.
New Mexico has a unit-based system that determines how much cannabis you can purchase. You must register at each dispensary you visit and present your medical card and valid ID. Every time you purchase at any dispensary your card is scanned so the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) can keep an accurate account of your usage. Your local dispensary can check your unit count for you, or you can call the DOH directly (505.827.2321).
One unit equals one gram of dried flower or 200 mg of edible/topical cannabis. Most patients have 230 units available over a three-month cycle.
Here is an example:
- If you purchase 3 grams of flower on your first day, you will receive 3 units back to your DOH account on the ninetieth day (3 months later).
- Your units will be automatically tracked and adjusted as you make purchases.
Here is one more example:
- If you purchase 230 grams (just over 8 oz.) of flower on your first day, you would receive 230 units on day 90 (3 months later).
- You would not be allowed to purchase more product until the units replenish on your account.
Transporting Your Cannabis Home:
According to the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, “A qualified patient or patient’s caregiver shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution or penalty in any manner for the possession of or the medical use of cannabis if the quantity of cannabis does not exceed an adequate supply.” While there are no specific regulations about how your medicine should travel, we suggest retaining the receipt of purchase and keeping all of you medicine and paraphernalia in a secure container. We encourage you to investigate the local restrictions for your county for a better understanding of your legal responsibility.
Renewing Your Cannabis Card:
Your New Mexico medical cannabis card is valid for three years from its issue date. It is important to begin the renewal process for your card at least 30 days before it expires—though the DOH encourages patients to begin the process up to sixty days prior to ensure no lapse in coverage.
You must have an Annual Certification by a certifying practitioner to maintain eligibility. Each certification due date is printed on your medical card. These annuals may be done via telephone after your first in-person visit. The “Annual Certification Form” will be available on the NMDOH website later this year.
Quick Cannabis Law:
It is important to understand the allowances and restrictions affiliated with the NM Medical Cannabis Card are enforceable in New Mexico only. You will be subject to drug enforcement laws of any other state should you travel outside of NM with your medicine. New Mexico Law Enforcement Fact Sheet.
The Medical Cannabis Card Allowances:
- You may possess up to 8 oz dried flower.
- You may purchase from a licensed non-profit producer.
- You may possess paraphernalia associated with cannabis consumption.
- If you do not have your card available, you will be given time to produce it before being charged with criminal action.
- You or your primary caregiver may grow up to 16 plants (4 mature, 12 immature) for personal use with approval from NMDOH and according license.
- You may transfer (not sell) up to 2 oz of cannabis to another patient or primary caregiver.
The Medical Cannabis Card Does Not Exempt You From:
- Criminal possession or civil penalties for activates not authorized by the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act.
- Liability for damages or criminal prosecution arising from driving while under the influence of cannabis.
- Criminal prosecution or civil penalty for possession or use of cannabis: in a school bus or public vehicle, on public property or place of employment.
Changes to Come:
The Medical Cannabis Program in New Mexico is continuously developing. These rules and regulations may evolve further in the future. We will do our part to inform our community when these changes may affect you and your access to quality medicine.