How to Start a Marijuana Delivery Service in New Mexico

Bill Richardson, a New Mexico senator signed SB 523 into law in April of 2007.  Consequently, this Senate Bill legalized the possession, distribution, and use of medical marijuana for registered patients suffering from qualifying conditions. Eventually, the Department of Health made additional changes in February of 2015.

After temporarily closing, the application period reopened for nonprofit marijuana businesses in 2015. However, it closed again by May of that same year. Currently, the application window is closed, however, the state will once again accept licenses in the fall of 2021. Until this happens, it is a good idea to be prepared.

Marijuana delivery services in New Mexico are officially called “courier services.” At this time, courier services may transport cannabis to a primary caregiver, a registered patient, a not-for-profit producer, a qualifying laboratory, or a qualifying manufacturer. Beginning 2022, couriers may transport cannabis directly to consumers. Additionally. approved courier services may partner with New Mexico dispensaries.

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    The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act of 2007 legalized marijuana. Under this law, medical marijuana patients can possess as much as 8 ounces of medical marijuana during a 3-month period of time. Furthermore, a physician can approve greater amounts.

    Additionally, the 2007 act also approved personal production licenses. Under it, qualified patients can grow 16 plants in their homes. Only four plants may be mature at a time, however, up to 12 plants can be in their vegetative phase.

    When was cannabis made legal
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    Changes in March of 2015 lowered the severity of personal use laws, and in April 2021, New Mexico signed recreational use marijuana into law. Adult-use legislation permits possession of up to 2 ounces. Adults can also grow up to six plants without a license.

    How many marijuana businesses are currently in New Mexico

    New Mexico has over 120 cannabis businesses and will license more in 2022. However, currently licensed non-profit producers (“LNPP”) will be considered first for commercial business licenses.

    The Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health decides the number of medical licenses issued. Comparatively, Adult-use licenses are issued by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

    How much money is in the New Mexico marijuana market

    Medical sales for 2016 were around $97,900,000. Even without taking on additional dispensaries or changing the laws, expected revenue from marijuana businesses in 2021 will reach around $131,300,000. This estimate does not include adult-use cannabis businesses. Commercial cannabis begins spring of 2022.

    Delivery Owner requirements

    Courier owner requirements are the same as dispensary owner requirements, at least regarding the application process. Because all board members must be residents, applicants must provide a copy of a New Mexico driver’s license or ID or a federally issued photo identification card verifying New Mexico residence.

    Vertical Integration is required for marijuana business owners. Under medical marijuana guidelines, there is a single license for cultivation and sale, called a licensed non-profit producer (LNPP). However, license holders do not have to open a shop. Manufacturers and labs both have separate license types. Still, a manufacturer may be associated with an LNPP or operate independently.

    Delivery Owner requirements
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    License and financial requirements

    The licensing period for new marijuana businesses in New Mexico is currently closed. However, new applications for adult-use cannabis businesses will be accepted in the fall of 2021.  Generally, it is a good idea to prepare for the application by gathering the following information:

    • A plan for delivery, security, safety,
    • Transport vehicles’ description
    • Employees list
    • ID cards of all courier personnel and any other persons involved
    • History screening documentation
    • List of producers and other facilities the courier will deliver for
    • Description of fees the courier will charge
    • Any and all business protocols
    • Proof of location legality (that it’s not within 300 feet of a daycare, church, or school)

    The fees associated with opening an Adult-use marijuana business in New Mexico are:

    • Cannabis courier license: $1,500/year; $1,000/year for each additional licensed premises
    • Lab application fee: $2,200
    • Manufacturer application fee: $1,000
    • LNPP application fee: $10,000 (but if the application is denied $9,000 is returned.)
    • Initial (and then yearly) background check: must pay all associated fees


    marijuana business timeframe

    Starting a delivery service in New Mexico will take some time, especially since the state is not currently accepting applications. New businesses should allow at least a year to secure finances, acquire the necessary licenses, and line up employees and suppliers.

    Looking to start a marijuana delivery service in New Mexico? The consulting firms listed below provide a wide range of services from helping with state licensing requirements and applications to running and stocking your business.

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