LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – A recent case in southern New Mexico highlights some of the newest state law on the books being used to address the alleged sale of unlicensed cannabis. A police stop on the New Mexico State University campus resulted in the arrest of an 18-year old, charged with violating cannabis trafficking law.
The stop happened early Wednesday morning, before 5 a.m. in NMSU’s “Lot 22” parking lot. That’s near Garcia Hall and several other campus residence halls on the north side of campus. According to a criminal complaint, an NMSU police officer found 18-year-old Edward Vigil sitting in his car.
NMSU Police says the officer went up to Vigil’s car “due to [a] high amount of auto burglaries in the area and the time of morning.” Vigil is accused of giving the officer the wrong name and date of birth. Police then found cannabis in “three jars, along with baggies in the vehicle.”
According to the complaint, Vigil “admitted to selling marijuana without a license” after being advised of his Miranda Rights. Documents indicate Vigil was arrested on two misdemeanor charges, including violation of cannabis trafficking regulation (no license) and concealing identity. Documents also indicate that police towed Vigil’s car.
Under New Mexico’s newer state law on cannabis, New Mexicans are allowed to grow a finite number of cannabis plants for personal use. The State’s Regulation and Licensing Department says it’s lawful for adults (21 and older) to “share” cannabis without compensation, to a person 21 years or older under the legal possession limit. However, “the sale of a service or commodity associated with the sharing is prohibited, including so-called “gifting.”
“So-called ‘gifting’ or giving away cannabis at the same time as another transaction or is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer for the sale of goods or services — this activity is illegal,” says RLD in a posting on its website.
New Mexico is nearly one year into the state’s regulated market, which opened in April 2022. State lawmakers have continued to measure ideas on how to enforce state rules tied to licensing and sale of the cannabis. Allegations of improper sale were among some of the most frequent complaints sent to the state’s Cannabis Control Division in mid-2022.