While some states have legalized marijuana, using the substance for recreational use remains illegal in New Mexico. Some jurisdictions, including Albuquerque, have enacted lower penalties for possession of small amounts and allow medical marijuana. However, distributing or the intent to distribute out of the state comes with penalties.
Federal penalties for distribution
Drug charges can be at the state or federal levels, but they all count as felonies. The Controlled Substance Act enables the federal government to regulate the sale, possession and distribution of illegal substances. Federal charges often result in stiff penalties for first and subsequent offenses.
The possession of fewer than 50 kilograms could result in a fourth-degree felony charge with the first offense that usually sends an offender to prison for five years and requires him or her to pay a $250,000 fine. They may face a first-degree felony charge for possessing 50 to 100 kilograms, which commonly results in 20 years of prison and a $1 million fine. Selling or possessing drugs near a school increases the fines up to $15,000 and an 18-year jail term.
State penalties for distribution
A first-time possession charge at the state level commonly falls under petty misdemeanor for under 1 ounce, which may result in a 15-day stint in jail and a maximum $100 fine. Less than half an ounce often includes a $50 fine and no jail term.
Possession with intent to distribute or the distribution of 100 pounds or less could require the defendant to serve a 1.5-year jail term and pay a $5,000 fine. A second offense could result in three years of jail time and a $5,000 fine. If the defendant gets caught with more than 100 pounds the first time or less than 100 pounds the second time, he or she may get sentenced to serve a three-year jail term and pay a $5,000 fine.
New Mexico takes drug charges, which often exact lifelong consequences, seriously. However, errors can happen, so a defendant has the right to a hire a good criminal defense team.