Last updated on: 8/31/2007 | Author:

New Mexico Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Governor Signs Legislation

On Monday, Apr. 2, 2007, Bill Richardson (D), Governor of New Mexico, signed Senate Bill 523 (PDF 70KB), “The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act,” making New Mexico the 12th state to legalize medical marijuana.

The legislation, which takes effect July 1, 2007, was approved 32-3 in the state Senate (Mar. 8, 2007), and approved 36-31 in the state House of Representatives. (Mar. 13, 2007).

I. Statements from Governor Richardson:

Governor Richardson stated in a Mar. 16, 2007 press release:


“This bill will provide much-needed relief for New Mexicans suffering from debilitating diseases while including the proper safeguards to prevent abuse. I am pleased that the legislature did the right thing, reconsidered this important bill and supported a humane option for New Mexicans who endure some of the most painful diseases imaginable.”

Gov. Richardson additionally noted in a Mar. 15, 2007 Associated Press article by Deborah Baker:


“I don’t see it as being a big issue. This is for medicinal purpose, for … people that are suffering. My God, let’s be reasonable.”
Mar. 16, 2007 Bill Richardson

II. Recap of Legislation:

Removes state-level criminal penalties on the use and possession of marijuana by patients “in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments.” The New Mexico Department of Health will administer the program and register patients, caregivers, and providers.

Conditions covered: “cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, HIV+ or AIDS status, admitted into hospice care in accordance with rules promulgated by the department, or any other medical condition, medical treatment or disease as approved by the [Health] Department.”

Cultivation: Cannabis growers (“providers”) will be licensed by the New Mexico Department of Health. The Health Department will distribute the marijuana to qualified patients.

Possession: Senate Bill 523 permits a qualified patient or their registered caregiver to possess an “adequate supply,” which is defined as “an amount of cannabis, in any form approved by the department, possessed by a qualified patient and the qualified patient’s primary caregiver that is determined by rule of the department to be no more than reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of cannabis for a period of three months and that is derived solely from an intrastate source.”

III. Resources:

  • Senate Bill 523 (PDF 70KB), “The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act”
    (Approved: Mar. 13, 2007 by House, 36-31; Mar. 8, 2007 by Senate, 32-3)