September 25, 2019

New Mexico Senator Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 523 into law on April 2, 2007, which allowed for the use, possession, and sale/distribution of medicinal cannabis for patients with qualifying medical conditions.

In February 2015, the state’s Department of Health (DOH) added some new regulations to the bill. They reopened the application period for non-profit producers to include 23 existing medical cannabis facilities for a month, but the application process closed on May 1, 2015. As of now, the state is not accepting any new cannabis business applications.

Nonetheless, let’s look at what’s involved in starting a marijuana dispensary in New Mexico.

When was marijuana legalized?

In 2007, the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act legalized medical marijuana in New Mexico. This medical cannabis program permits the possession of up to 8 ounces in a 90-day period, by registered patients. Some patients can have more if authorized by their physician.

Marijuana Legal

The law also allows qualified patients to apply for a Personal Production License, permitting home growing. For non-patients, New Mexico has decriminalized simple possession under Senate Bill 383.

How does the marijuana market look in New Mexico

There are currently 48 licensed dispensaries operating within the state. New Mexico’s marijuana market size was slightly over 97 million dollars at the end of 2016, and it’s rapidly growing. Cannabis sales have overshadowed the state’s green chili market, which pulls in $41 million, and the New Mexico alcohol market, which has a revenue of $30 million.

Owner requirements

New Mexico’s law allows counties and cities to set rules for growers and sellers. They’re allowed to ban them outright if they choose. If the application window did open again, you would need to check the local laws first to confirm that you can acquire the necessary licenses.

Owner requirements
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License requirements

Starting a dispensary can certainly be pricey. There is a $2,200 lab application fee and another $1,000 manufacturer application fee, in addition to the $10,000 LNPP (licensed non-profit producer) application fee.

For licensing, it can range from $30,000 to $100,000. There is a yearly background check for everyone associated with marijuana businesses, and you’re required to pay all the associated fees.

To own a dispensary in the state, you must be New Mexico resident, although a timeframe isn’t specified, and you’re required to provide a copy of your New Mexico driver’s license or comparable state of New Mexico or federally issued photo identification card verifying New Mexico residence.

There is a single license for cultivation and sale, called a licensed non-profit producer (LNPP). License holders do not have to own a shop; they can deliver, transfer to couriers to do so, or transfer to manufacturers. Manufacturers and labs both have separate license types. A manufacturer may be associated with an LNPP or independent.

Financial requirements and pay-off

Financial requirements and pay-off
Financial requirements and pay-off – Image powered by Greenrushdaily.com

Keep in mind that it costs anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 to open a dispensary in New Mexico so you may need to save up a bit. Insurance requirements are similar to that of a standard business owner.

All the spending is well worth it in the end, though, as dispensaries typically average $60,000 to $150,000 annually. Marijuana dispensaries and delivery services sometimes bring in millions of dollars.


New Mexico isn’t accepting new applications for marijuana businesses, but if they were, the process could take some time. Allow at least a year to start making money, once you are fully licensed.

Links to consulting companies that can help open a marijuana dispensary in New Mexico

Links – Image powered by Roomservicestore.com

Looking to start a marijuana dispensary in New Mexico? These consulting firms provide a wide range of services that can help you launch your business. Contact them for help with state licensing requirements, assistance with applications or stocking your business.

Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]


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