New Mexico: Recreational Marijuana Legalized, Expungement of Related Criminal Acts Permitted


All Employers with NM Employees


June 29, 2021


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(888) 378-2456

In 2007, New Mexico passed laws that permitted use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Now, New Mexico Governor Grisham signed into law two new bills, The Cannabis Regulation Act and The Expungement of Certain Criminal Records Act, which further relax consumption and possession standards for marijuana.

Beginning June 29, 2021, the Cannabis Regulation Act permits adults to possess certain quantities of cannabis, which differs if stored at home/out of public view or if carried in public.  Adults may smoke, vaporize, or ingest cannabis in public within designated cannabis consumption areas. Adults may also possess set numbers of mature cannabis plants at home. However, recreational cannabis sales are not permitted until April 2022.

Despite this, employers are still permitted to have drug-free workplace policies. Employers may prohibit or take adverse action against those who are impaired by or in possession of intoxicating substances at work or during work hours. Employers are also free to maintain rules or policies in compliance with federal laws or regulations, and/or take actions that will prevent an employer from losing federal contracts or funding.

Hand in hand with the Cannabis Regulation Act is the Expungement of Certain Criminal Records Act, which allows expungement of arrest and conviction records relating to cannabis offenses that become legal as of June 29, 2021. Public records held by a court, an agency of the state, or local jurisdiction that relate to such arrests or convictions will be expunged after two years. If the records contain multiple charges, only the cannabis-related charges will be expunged. Minors’ records will be retained until  the earlier of two years or when the minor turns 18 years old. Finally, correctional facilities must identify all cannabis-related convictions which are no longer a crime pursuant to the new rules and determine if any are eligible for reopening, recall, dismissal, and expungement within 30 days of June 29, 2021.

Action Items

  1. Update substance abuse policies for compliance with the new regulations.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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