New Mexico’s cannabis application process is one of the most straightforward and accessible in the country, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get a license.

With a little help, most applicants are able to set up an LLC or partnership to operate their business, but figuring out what a social equity plan is, or to where and in what order to submit your water or background checks, zoning approvals and water calculations are another thing altogether.

At Weeds., our team members literally wrote the book on licensing in New Mexico. Our founders served as the chairman and staff of Gov. Lujan Grisham’s legalization task force and as the state’s first director of the Cannabis Control Division. We teamed up to help entrepreneurs, established and startups alike, navigate the process and understand the risks and opportunities in the market.

New Mexico officially legalized adult-use cannabis on July 1, 2021, and started accepting applications in September 2021. In the first year, the application process underwent 3 significant changes (so far, the state has reliably issued new rules or changed internal processes governing licensing every 4-6 weeks). Many of the rules governing the process are still under emergency status (meaning they haven’t been finalized and can change overnight) or still being developed. Worse, cities were supposed to have local rules in place in 2021 but many are dragging their feet.

That means that requirements can change while your application is pending review, often requiring additional documentation throughout your process. In other words, expect some curveballs and be ready to roll with the punches. Relax, we’ve got this for you.

Sidebar: As of the writing of this report (July 2022), the State, some license categories no longer requires 1 document listed in the “required documents” list, but does they require an additional document not listed in the list for all licenses. This additional document must be emailed when you submit online in order to avoid a pause of your application review. For these reasons, we recommend you work with a professional licensing consultant with experience winning licenses over the past 30 days when you are preparing to submit.

Components of a New Mexico cannabis license

A New Mexico cannabis entrepreneur license has 11 major components. Each type of license (production, manufacturing, retail etc) may have additional components depending on the activity you pursue and your location.

Be careful when applying. While the online application portal only requires you to submit some documents at first, applicants are required to attest, under penalty of perjury, that they have each of these components in place and available for review upon request of the Cannabis Control Division. Failure to respond to those inquiries could delay or jeopardize your application.

While local cities and counties are not allowed to “opt-out” of cannabis in New Mexico, they can impose limits on the time, place, and manner of cannabis businesses in their jurisdiction.

In most local jurisdictions, that means limits on where your facility can be located (and, in some cases, a cap on the number of businesses in the city limits), limits on hours you can operate, or requirements to meet cannabis-specific building codes.

Even if you receive a state license, you may not open or operate without local approvals. Local approvals generally include:


Whew! That’s a lot.

No one expects new applicants to know how to do all of this. In our experience, the most experienced growers don’t make the best business people and the smartest business people don’t make good growers. That’s why we work with you to provide model policies, consultants, and experts to fill in the gaps no matter how you plan to operate and who is on your team.

Don’t worry, we’ve got this. Our team has built applications for companies and facilities around the state so when you start with Weeds you aren’t working alone or from scratch.

We provide our clients with more than the paperwork to obtain a state license. We help develop a licensing plan from seed-to-sale. And along the way, we provide you with a 600+ page book of model policies, recommended training standards, and access to our team and contact lists of professionals who know New Mexico cannabis.

In The Weeds.

Are you on top of your industry? Are you sure?

Our clients receive insider industry news, analysis, and compliance alerts by email every month. Try it for free today.