Is It a Crime to Sell Marijuana?
New Mexico was one of the states to first legalize marijuana. After passing the decriminalization in April 2007, it made the state the 12th in the country to do so. While you can purchase and use marijuana in the state, you may wonder if it is illegal to sell it. The answer depends on how you sell it, how much, and where you sell.
Exploring the Nuances of Marijuana Laws in New Mexico
The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act allows patients in the state with approved, debilitating conditions to possess up to eight ounces of medical marijuana within 90 days. Patients must have medical approval cards, and once they obtain these medical cards, they can:
- Purchase marijuana from licensed non-profit parties;
- Purchase and use the paraphernalia necessary to consume marijuana;
- Apply for a personal production license to grow marijuana in their home for personal consumption; and
- Possess in public as long as they have their card.
Can You Cultivate and Sell Marijuana
The state’s existing Medical Cannabis Program does allow a patient to cultivate marijuana, but they cannot sell it. You must only cultivate for personal use. If you were to cultivate and sell, even with an approved patient card, you have violated state laws. After all, New Mexico does not allow marijuana for recreational use.
Likewise, if you were to sell marijuana to another patient, even if they have a valid card, you will be breaking the law.
When Can You Sell Marijuana Legally in the State of New Mexico?
Selling marijuana is strictly prohibited. Even though the state has decriminalized possession and use of it, you cannot sell without a valid license to do so. You must be a licensed, inspected, and approved medical dispensary in the state – and this process is incredibly difficult.
If you are a licensed vendor, you must sell from your approved location only. You cannot privately sell, distribute, or exchange marijuana what-so-ever.
The Penalty for Selling Marijuana
If you were to sell marijuana without the proper licensing or state approval, you would face a fourth-degree felony. If you carry more than 100 pounds of cannabis at the time of your arrest or you have more than 100 pounds out of an illegal selling operation, you will face a third-degree felony.
Exceeding the 100-pound mark may lead to a second-degree felony charge. And if you are in a drug-free school zone, regardless of weight, you can face enhanced penalties.
Taking Marijuana across State Lines Is a Crime
While the state has decriminalized marijuana, the federal government still considers it a controlled substance. Therefore, if you were to take your legal marijuana into a neighboring state where it is outlawed (such as Utah), you will not only face criminal charges in that state, but also federal charges.
Marijuana is illegal to possess, sell, or distribute under the Controlled Substances Act, and the penalties for doing so are harsher than most state laws. Federal law also always trumps state laws, and state laws are typically the more lenient of the two. Therefore, you will face a longer prison sentence and higher fine for violating federal laws over state ones.
Recreational Use Is a Crime Regardless
While you can possess and cultivate marijuana for medical use, you cannot use it recreationally. Therefore, possession for even up to one ounce could result in a petty misdemeanor charge. You might feel that marijuana should be legalized for medical and recreational use. And while you have your reservations, you must realize that the law is still the law.
Breaking the law can affect you for the rest of your life, and just some of the penalties you could face include:
Charges for Possession
If you carry marijuana for recreational use and you are charged with possession, the punishment will depend on the amount you were carrying at the time. You could face a fine from $50 to as much as $5,000 in fines, along with anywhere from 15 days in jail to as much as three years imprisonment (if you face felony charges).
Charges for Selling or Trafficking Marijuana
Selling and trafficking are serious offenses in the state. If you possess a lower amount of marijuana, then you may only face up to 15 days in the county jail and a fine ranging from $50 to $100. However, if you are charged with trafficking, the penalties increase severely. Trafficking of up to 100 pounds includes up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to $15,000. Over 100 pounds will result in up to 18 years imprisonment and up to $15,000 in fines.
As you can see, it is not worth it to risk putting your personal feelings above the law. When you transport marijuana, sell it, or traffic it, you could face serious felony charges that will affect you for the rest of your life.
Hiring an Experienced Drug Defense Attorney Is Key
If you are facing a petty misdemeanor or felony charges for selling marijuana illegally, now is the time to act. If you do not hire an attorney quickly, you may lessen your chances of a favorable outcome.
Marijuana charges can destroy your life. These charges are criminal drug charges, which can permanently bar you from entering the military, obtaining housing assistance, qualifying for government programs, and it can limit employment opportunities among other things. You could also lose your right to vote or carry/own a firearm if convicted of a felony drug crime.
If you have been accused of selling marijuana illegally, contact the defense team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices immediately. Our team is here to defend you aggressively, and we work to get a favorable outcome for our clients.
Before you speak with the police or even the prosecution, schedule your free case evaluation with our team by calling our office. You can also ask about our defense services online by completing the online contact form.