How to open a Dispensary in New Mexico

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

Then, in April 2021, the state legalized recreational marijuana. It currently follows the Cannabis Regulation Act. Applications for new cannabis dispensaries begin in January 2022.

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    Here’s what you need to know to start 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. A physician could authorize larger amounts.

    Marijuana Legal

    The law also let qualified patients apply for a Personal Production License for home growing. Later on, the 2021 law legalized the possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana and permit home-growing of up to six plants without a license.

    How does the marijuana market look in New Mexico

    There are currently over 120 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. Stay updated on guidelines posted by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department for exact dates and requirements.

    Owner requirements
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    License requirements

    Starting a dispensary can certainly be pricey. There is a $2,500 annual fee and another $1,000 per year fee per location. Additionally, you must license each server. There are also licenses for consumption areas, research laboratories, manufacturers, and microbusinesses.

    To own a dispensary in the state, you must be a 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.

    Financial requirements and pay-off

    Financial requirements and pay-off
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    Keep in mind, starting a business is expensive and 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 will accept new applications for marijuana dispensaries in January 2021, so if you are interested, start now. Allow at least a year to start making money, once you are fully licensed.

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    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.

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