New Mexico Gun Rights for Medical Cannabis Patients
Table of Contents
The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, also known as Senate Bill 523, was enacted by Governor Bill Richardson in April 2007.
The law permitted the use of cannabis with a doctor’s prescription for the management of a number of illnesses, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Later on, a provision for patient cultivation was included, along with an expansion of the list of qualifying diseases.
With the passage of Senate Bill 523 by votes of 32-3 in the Senate and 36-31 in the House, New Mexico became the 12th state to legalize medicinal cannabis usage and the fourth to do so by a state legislature act.
The laws and regulations for patient and caregiver IDs and Personal Production Licenses for patients or caregivers to cultivate medicinal marijuana for personal use are governed by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH).
In 2019, SB 406 significantly improved New Mexico’s medical cannabis program, particularly in terms of patient rights.
The law granted all patients, caregivers, and workers protection from both criminal and civil responsibility and legalized the use of medicinal cannabis by student patients in educational settings.
Additionally, SB 406 created employment protections that forbid employers from discriminating against registered patients, established civil rights protections for child custody and medical care, including organ transplant, and mandated NMDOH to develop product safety and quality regulations by the end of 2019.
In the same year, New Mexico expanded the list of medicinal cannabis qualifying ailments to include opioid use disorder, sleep apnea, Alzheimer’s disease, autism spectrum disorder, and three degenerative neurological disorders.
Additionally, in 2019, Governor Grisham approved SB 323, which decriminalized up to half an ounce of marijuana and lowered the penalty from incarceration to a $50 fine.
Senate Bill 242 was signed by Gov. Grisham in April 2023 which will make it easier for people to register for the medical cannabis program in New Mexico.
The bill gets rid of the confusion caused by the current process, in which medical certifications and Medical Cannabis Patient ID Cards have to be renewed at different times each year. With this bill, both of these things can happen at the same time.
SB 242 will take effect on June 16, 2023.
In May 2023, New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program — which is run by the state’s Department of Health — said that insomnia will be eligible for registration and sufferers will be able to get medical marijuana in New Mexico beginning in June 2023.
Does Having a Medical Cannabis Card Mean Not Being Eligible for a Gun License in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, it is legal to acquire guns at will and there are no laws preventing people from buying weapons, even assault rifles.
Both loaded and unloaded pistols and long weapons are legal to carry openly. Handguns may not be banned from possession or use in cities and towns, unless they restrict gunfire within their boundaries.
Only concealed handguns in New Mexico require a license.
It is also important to note that despite what New Mexico legalizes, part of the Federal law still regulates the possession of firearms.
The right to keep and bear weapons granted by the Second Amendment to all Americans may not include cannabis users.
A number of people are prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing firearms or ammunition under the Gun Control Act (GCA).
People in this category include anyone who is addicted to a controlled substance — including marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or cannabis — as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act.
Even if New Mexico has ruled that you are not “an unlawful user” of cannabis under state law, Federal law still prohibits you from possessing or using firearms if you test positive for cannabis.
Therefore, even if you can work, drive, or handle a firearm in New Mexico, you might still test positive and face severe financial and legal repercussions.
While no state law prohibits you from getting a gun while having a medical cannabis card, Federal law says otherwise.
So, consider these things before visiting your local cannabis store. The state and Federal laws will hopefully converge at some point in the future.
Can You Take Your Gun to a Dispensary in New Mexico?
New Mexico is a shall-issue state with concealed weapons licenses issued at the state level by the Department of Public Safety.
When buying a handgun from a private person, you don’t need a permit or to register the gun. However, as of July 1, 2019, private sales of firearms will have to go through background checks.
Selling a gun without a background check by a licensed Federal firearms dealer is a misdemeanor crime under SB-8, but there are some exceptions.
A background check is not required for sales between law enforcement officers or between close family members.
In New Mexico, anyone who can legally own a gun and is at least 19 years old can open carry without a license. Some places are off-limits — like tribal land and where hard liquor is sold.
In order to carry a loaded concealed gun on foot, New Mexico residents require a Concealed Handgun License (CHL), and non-residents require a permit from a state New Mexico recognizes.
State law dictates that people with a concealed carry license can only carry one gun at a time. The CHL also specifies the type and size of handguns that can be concealed.
No license is needed to carry an unloaded gun, concealed or loaded gun in a car.
These places remain off-limits even with the possession of CHL:
- Public schools, colleges, and universities (except in a private vehicle if older than 19)
- Public school buses
- Establishments licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages other than beer or wine
- Anywhere while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including certain prescription or over-the-counter medications
- At the New Mexico State Capitol building
- Albuquerque City parks and recreation facilities
- Designated child detention or correctional facilities
- Correctional facilities and jails
- Any state, county, municipal, or tribal court
- State wildlife management areas/game refuges
- Tribal land
- Public buses
- Private property where the owner has posted signs indicating that you may not carry or if the owner tells you that you cannot carry
- Airport security zones
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal law or state law or regulation
As long as you have a CHL, you can conceal carry a gun in a dispensary or open carry without a license.
Can You Consume CBD and Own a Gun in New Mexico?
CBD made from hemp is legal in New Mexico, and CBD made from marijuana is legal for patients who qualify and are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program.
Like many other states, New Mexico has made it legal to grow hemp and make products from it — such as cannabidiol (CBD) – in line with changes made at the Federal level by the U.S. Farm Bill in 2014 and 2018.
The state has not put any limits on how much hemp-derived CBD a person can have.
It is possible to own a gun while using CBD, as long as the CBD is derived from hemp. Only enrolled medical cannabis patients are allowed to own a gun and consume CBD from marijuana at the same time.
Can I Own a Gun if My Spouse Has A Medical Cannabis Card in New Mexico?
Gun owners and cannabis consumers must take into account how state and Federal regulations on cannabis and firearms interact, even if New Mexico has approved medicinal marijuana and permits the possession of firearms.
Even when used for medicinal reasons, cannabis possession and usage remain illegal under Federal law and may make one ineligible to purchase a handgun, according to the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
It’s possible that the ATF will see the presence of cannabis in your home as a possible violation of Federal law if you share a residence with someone who uses cannabis, including for medicinal purposes.
This might have an impact on your ability to carry a weapon.
It’s important to speak with legal experts who are knowledgeable about New Mexico’s laws regulating firearms to get more case-specific information.
There could be special exclusions that apply in your situation because laws and interpretations in every state can differ.
Get a New Mexico Medical Cannabis Card
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