Saturday, May 27, 2017

How To Get Your Personal Production License And Grow Medical Cannabis In New Mexico

Putting Your Health Back In Your Own Hands

The Medical Cannabis Program (MCP) was created in 2007,  under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, chapter 210 Senate Bill 523. The purpose of this Act is to allow the beneficial use of medical cannabis in a regulated system for alleviating symptoms caused by debilitating medical conditions and their medical treatments. Under New Mexico law cardholders in the MCP are legally permitted to be in possession of 230 units (grams) and may grow up to 16 medical cannabis plants. The New Mexico Department of Health administers the MCP in accordance with the LECUA Act, 2007.

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program is available to any New Mexico residents with certain medical conditions. The production and distribution of medical cannabis is provided by Licensed Non-Profit Producers (LNPP) throughout the state. Licensed Non-Profit Producers may grow no more than 450 total plants; including mature, seedlings, cuttings and clones. A Primary Caregiver may be designated by the Qualified Patient to take responsibility for managing the well-being of the qualified patient in the use of medical cannabis.
A qualified patient may also obtain a Personal Production License (PPL) to grow medical cannabis for personal use. You must submit an application to New Mexico Department of Health’s Medical Cannabis Program administrator’s office along with all required forms.
What Does My Medical Cannabis Card Allow Me To Legally Possess In New Mexico?
Qualified Patients are allowed to possess up to approximately 8 ounces (230 units) of usable cannabis. Primary Caregivers may transport up to this amount for each patient listed on the
Caregiver ID card. If an exception to the 8 ounce limit is granted, it is noted on the back of the
Patient ID card. Maximum THC content of concentrates: A qualified patient or primary caregiver shall not possess a concentrated cannabis-derived product that contains greater than seventy percent (70%) THC by weight.
What Does My Personal Production License Allow Me To Legally Possess In New Mexico?
Qualified Patients may apply for a license to grow their own supply of medical cannabis. The license should be posted or kept near the growing area. Several of the medical cannabis producers and dispensary locations in the medical cannabis program provide for sale; seeds, cuttings, clones and even rooted plants.  A Personal Production License (PPL) allows Patients to have 4 mature flowering plants and 12 immature plants or seedlings at any given time. The definitions for mature and seedling plants are as follows:
• Mature plant – A harvestable female cannabis plant that is flowering.
• Seedling – A cannabis plant that has no flowers.
To legally possess more than eight ounces, the patient’s medical provider must submit a letter and petition to the New Mexico Department of Health, requesting an increase.

Quantity Of Usable Medical Cannabis That May Be Possessed By A Qualified Patient Or Primary Caregiver in the MCP:
-Maximum quantity:  A qualified patient and a qualified patient’s primary caregiver may collectively possess within any three-month period a quantity of usable cannabis no greater than 230 total units.  For purposes of department rules, this quantity is deemed an adequate supply.  (For ease of reference:  230 units is equivalent to 230 grams, or approximately eight ounces, of dried usable cannabis plant material.)  A qualified patient and primary caregiver may also possess cannabis seeds.
-Calculation of units:  For purposes of department rules, one unit of usable cannabis shall consist of one gram of the dried leaves and flowers of the female cannabis plant, or 0.2 grams (200 milligrams) of THC for cannabis-derived products.
-Maximum THC content of concentrates:  A qualified patient or primary caregiver shall not possess a concentrated cannabis-derived product that contains greater than seventy percent (70%) THC by weight.
-Medical exception:  A greater quantity of usable cannabis, not to exceed 115 additional units, may be allowed, and a concentrated cannabis-derived product with THC content greater than seventy percent (70%) by weight may be allowed, at the department’s discretion, upon the submission of a statement by a medical practitioner explaining why a greater number of units of usable cannabis, or a higher concentration of THC in concentrated cannabis-derived product, is medically necessary.  Any such allowance shall be reviewed for approval by the program’s medical director.
Possession Of Usable Medical Cannabis Allowed in the MCP:
A qualified patient or primary caregiver shall ensure that that all cannabis, cannabis-derived products, and paraphernalia are kept secure and out of reach of children. A qualified patient and primary caregiver shall ensure that all cannabis and cannabis-derived products that are purchased from a licensed non-profit producer remain in the package or container provided by the non-profit entity when not in use.  If the package or container is damaged, the product label and any other identifying information from the package or container shall be kept and remain with the cannabis or cannabis-derived product upon transfer to another package or container. A qualified patient or primary caregiver may transfer cannabis and cannabis derived products to an approved laboratory for testing purposes.
Program Prohibitions, Restrictions And Limitations On The Use Of Medical Cannabis By Qualified Patients:  
Participation in the medical cannabis program by a qualified patient or primary caregiver does not relieve the qualified patient or primary caregiver from:
- criminal prosecution or civil penalties for activities not authorized in this rule and act;
- criminal prosecution or civil penalties for fraudulent representation to a law enforcement officer about the person’s participation in the program to avoid arrest or prosecution;
- liability for damages or criminal prosecution arising out of the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis or cannabis-derived products; or
- criminal prosecution or civil penalty for possession, distribution, transfer, or use of cannabis or a cannabis-derived product:
(1) in a school bus or public vehicle;
(2) on school grounds or property;
(3) in the workplace of the qualified patient's or primary caregiver's employment;
(4) at a public park, recreation center, youth center, or other public place;
(5) to a person not approved by the department pursuant to this rule;
(6) outside New Mexico or attempts to obtain or transport cannabis, or cannabis-derived products from outside New Mexico; or
(7) that exceeds the allotted amount of usable medical cannabis, or cannabis-derived products.

Basic Medical Cannabis Growing Tips

First-time cannabis growers should start with an organic soil-based system rather than other more complicated methods such as hydroponics. Your first harvest will help you get the feel for the growth and life cycle of cannabis. This will help you build confidence that things are going well for your next harvest.

Growing Medium

Organic Soil is the easiest medium to grow from for a number of reasons. First, micronutrients, which are critical to proper growth and vigor of the plan, exist in gardening or potting soil naturally. Good quality soil is inexpensively available at any gardening store and can even be ordered online from a local grow store with delivery to your front door.
Make sure that the soil is not too dense. Use perlite, a natural volcanic glass, to lighten and loosen the soil. This provides necessary space in the medium for air. Air is an important factor in cultivating any type of plant. Do not use soil from your yard as it may have pH imbalances, lack nutrients, or contain insects or mold spores that could harm your plants.


If growing indoors, use a high-intensity discharge (HID) light, either a high-pressure sodium (HPS) or a Metal Halide (MH) bulb. Both work well, but HPS systems are the best for flowering.
While fluorescent grow bulbs work for the vegetative growth of the plant, they lack the proper light spectrum and intensity to produce dense buds. Never use regular incandescent bulbs —they will not provide the correct spectrum of light for the plants and are expensive to run. Specialty incandescent “grow bulbs” don't have the intensity needed to grow dense buds, but they will definitely keep the plants alive. New LED bulb technology draws far less power and generates much less heat than HIDs, with better light spectrum output than fluorescents, though yield may not be quite as good as with an HID.


Cannabis flowers form naturally outdoors in the fall, as the nights grow longer. Indoors, we can force cannabis to flower when we want by creating a growing space where the light cycle can be controlled. At least 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness is necessary to force cannabis to flower. This period, known as the flowering period, lasts approximately 6-10 weeks, depending on the strain of cannabis.
The vegetative period, which precedes the flowering period, is usually done under 24 hours of continuous light. If starting with clones, that is rooted cuttings from a mature plant, this period usually lasts from five days to a month depending on strain, vigor, and the desired plant size. If starting from seed (not recommended), the vegetative period will be longer to allow the plant to mature.
Seeds will produce both male and female plants. Males should be culled before they can pollinate the female plants. You can determine the sex of the plant as it begins the flowering cycle.
Cannabis plants will usually increase in size by 50% during the flowering period, so plan for that in relation to the height and width of your garden, especially if using a grow tent.


There are three main nutrients that plants need to flourish: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). Plant food labels show their N-P-K content as relative percentages. That means a high-nitrogen food good for vegetative growth would be listed as 20-10-10 or 20% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium.
When forcing the plants from vegetative to flowering growth (i.e. changing the light cycle from 24 hours of continuous light to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness), the nutrient ratio must change as well. Plants use P and K to make flowers or “buds.” During the flowering stage, feed your plants a plant food high in P and K. Something like 1-10-12 would be appropriate, but some nitrogen is necessary. Don't get hung up on the actual numbers. It is the ratio that is actually important. Follow the instructions on the label and be careful not to overfeed or over water!


Water your plants once the top two inches of soil are dry. Overwatering is a common cause of death for cannabis. Overwatered plants droop and may look like they need water. What the plants are actually lacking is air, because the roots are drowning. One simple way to check for the proper time to water is with a wand-type water meter, another is to lift the pot after watering. Feel its weight, or put it on a scale and make a note. Next time you think the plant needs water, lift the pot and see how heavy it is. If it is light, then water it. If it feels heavy, then don't. Young plants will use less water. As the plant grows and the root ball fills the container, it will use more water.  A moisture, pH and light meter can be purchased from your local cannabis garden store and is very useful tool for the indoor grower.


pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the planting mix and water. The right pH is critical to the plant's ability to absorb nutrients. In general cannabis likes the root zone to be acidic; around 5.8-6.5 is the ideal range for soil, and no lower than 5.5. The only way to know and adjust the pH of your plants' environment is with pH test strips or a pH test kit that you can use to check the plants' runoff. The pH of your tap water may change from season to season, so it's best to check it frequently.
If you are maintaining proper pH and providing appropriate nutrients and your plants are still not thriving, or are turning yellow or appear to be burning at the edges of the leaf, you should consult a more exhaustive source of information about how to go about solving these problems.

Air and Temperature

Cannabis needs circulating air rich in carbon dioxide or CO2. Fresh air from the outside can be used if you are ventilating an indoor garden with fans. Cannabis plants can consume far more CO2 than is in the atmosphere naturally, so for maximum yield some method of CO2 enrichment is frequently used. The easiest is using a regulator attached to a CO2 tank, which can be found at beverage supply stores. Without enrichment or fresh air, plants will consume all the CO2 in the environment and replace it with oxygen, leaving them without the carbon dioxide needed to grow well.
Whether enriched or not, air circulation also helps manage temperature and create stronger plants. HID lights in particular generate a lot of heat, and temperatures above 95 degrees will inhibit growth. Keep the cultivation area temperature between 80 and 85 degrees, using an air conditioner or fans with outside air to cool the space. Too cold is bad as well, especially in the root zone. Below 60 degrees, the plant will be unable to photosynthesize and stops growing.
If you're using fans to bring in outside air and exhausting air from the garden, you may want to use carbon filters or other odor-scrubbing devices on the exhaust. Cannabis emits powerful, distinctive aromas, particularly during flowering, that can attract unwanted attention.

If you keep the basic needs of the plant in mind, the cannabis plant will reward you enormously.
Additional Growing Resources:
Medical Jane Has A Great Online Cannabis Growing Methods Section

For information on managing pests or creating sophisticated hydroponic systems, consult one of the books by experts such as Ed Rosenthal or Jorge Cervantes. Suggested reading for detailed information on cannabis cultivation:
-Marijuana Grower’s Handbook: Official Course Book of Oaksterdam University by Ed Rosenthal
-Marijuana Garden Saver by Ed Rosenthal and JC Stitch
-Indoor Horticulture by Jorge Cervantes