New Mexico

Equity Project State Briefing

Social Equity

Social Equity Definition / Criteria

New Mexico has not yet published specific criteria to qualify for their social equity program. However, the social equity program is designed to encourage participation from communities that have disproportionately been harmed by rates of arrest through the enforcement of cannabis prohibitions and encourage racial, ethnic, gender, geographic diversity, and New Mexico residency among license applicants, licensees and cannabis industry employees. Policies must also encourage industry participation from rural communities that are likely to be impacted by cannabis production, including agriculture.


N.M. Code R. § Social and Economic Equity

Social Equity Provisions

While social equity provisions have not yet been published by the board, the state has a goal of distributing at least fifty percent of cannabis licenses and cannabis jobs to social equity applicants.


N.M. Code R. § Social and Economic Equity

License Priorities and Set Asides

  • License Priorities / Set Asides:

New Mexico has not yet established any priority licenses or set asides for social equity operators.

Fee Waivers and Reductions

  • Fee Waivers / Reductions:

New Mexico has not yet established specific fee waivers and reductions for social equity applicants.

Other Financial Support for Social Equity Applicants and Licensees

The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department announced in December 2021, that the state will provide business loans of up to $250,000 toward small-scale cannabis businesses in an effort to provide economic opportunity to communities that were hit hard by past criminal enforcement of marijuana laws.

The New Mexico Finance Authority is planning for a $5 million line of credit for cannabis entrepreneurs, with average loan size of about $100,000. The application process is expected to open in February 2022.


The Associated Press "New Mexico approves public financing for cannabis businesses". Retrieved January 11, 2021

Other Licensing Provisions

License Caps

  • License Caps:

New Mexico does not have licensing caps, however regulators have the authority to stop issuing new licenses if an advisory committee confirms that the “market equilibrium is deficient.”  Local municipalities do not have the option to opt out of the adult use sector.


N.M. Stat. § 26-2C-6. Licensing cannabis activities; limitations; medical cannabis legacy licensing; cannabis shortage for medical program. Subsection (I)
N.M. Stat. § 26-2C-12. Local Control. Subsection (B)(2)

Application Selection Process

  • Selection System:

New Mexico distributes adult-use cannabis licenses based on merit.


N.M. Stat. Ann. § 26-2C-7 . Subsection c

Felony Disqualification on Ownership

  • Ownership Exclusion for Felony Convictions:
In some instances
  • Exemption for Cannabis Offenses:
In some instances

New Mexico’s adult use framework disqualifies applicants for cannabis licensure on the basis of their conviction history, however it must be done in compliance with the state’s Criminal Offender Employment Act. An application for cannabis adult use licensure will be denied if the applicant has been convicted of an offense that is substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of the applicant’s business. The following are considered substantially related:

1) a felony conviction involving fraud, deceit, or embezzlement

2) a felony conviction for hiring, employing, or otherwise using a person younger than 18 to a) carry or transport controlled substance or  b) sell, give away or offer to sale a controlled substance 

 (3) any other offense determined by the department. 

A cannabis conviction is not considered substantially related to the qualifications, functions or duties of a person seeking a license and cannot serve as basis to deny an applicant.


N.M. Stat. Ann. § 26-2C-7. Subsections d and e

Employee Criminal Records

  • Conviction Restrictions for Employees:
In some instances
  • Exemption for Cannabis Offenses:
In some instances

Within New Mexico’s adult use framework, a person must obtain a cannabis server permit within thirty days of employment at a cannabis establishment. Specifics have not yet been released on any possible disqualifications for server permits based on one ‘s criminal history. However, what is known is that any review of an applicant’s criminal history must be done in compliance with the states Criminal Offender Employment Act of 2019.


N.M. Stat. § 26-2C-11. Cannabis server permits; cannabis servers; permit required; applications; education program approval required; issuance or denial of a permit or approval; penalties
N.M. Stat. § 28-2-3. Employment Eligibility Determination

Availability of Expungements

  • Expungements:
Yes, Automatic

Nevada offers automatic expungements for certain cannabis offenses which are now legal or a lesser offense. This record cleaning remedy is automatic 2 years after the date of the conviction. Other convictions can be expunged through petitioning the court. (Automatic expungement law become enacted April 2021)


N.M. Stat. § 29-3A-5. Expungement of records upon conviction
N.M. Stat. § 29-3A-8. Expungement of arrest and conviction records; procedure