With the sale of recreational cannabis across the state of New Mexico beginning April 1, The University of New Mexico campus, including branch campuses, remain drug-free environments, including the use of marijuana.

Following a special legislative session in 2021, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the Cannabis Regulation Act into law legalizing the use and possession of recreational marijuana for those over the age of 21, beginning June 29, 2021. The legislation also allows for the sale of recreational marijuana to begin by April 1, 2022, at state-licensed dispensaries.

Despite the state’s legalization, UNM’s Regents Policy Manual 2.6 Drug Free Environment remains in effect. This policy applies to all members of the University community and all property owned, used, leased, or controlled by the University, or any site where official University business is being conducted. Students, employees and visitors are prohibited from possessing or using marijuana or its derivatives, including but not limited to edibles, oils, wax, vape cartridges, for recreational or medical reasons, on The University of New Mexico’s campuses and in UNM facilities. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of controlled substances (including marijuana), or alcohol, on University property or as part of any University activities by any member of the University community is strictly prohibited and may result in the imposition of disciplinary action.

Although New Mexico regulates cannabis within the state, federal law restricts marijuana possession, sale, and trafficking through the Controlled Substance Act. Cannabis continues to be a Schedule I drug according to the United Stated Drug Enforcement Agency.

Since cannabis continues to be listed as a Schedule I drug by the federal government, its presence in any form on UNM campus would also be a violation of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, which bans illegal drugs on college campuses and public schools. Violation of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act could put the University at risk of losing federal funding, such as support for research and federal financial aid for students.

Finally, as UNM is committed to wellness and providing a healthful environment in which to learn, work, and visit, UNM’s Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Campus policy also prohibits smoking and vaping on UNM property. The UNM Visitor Code of Conduct states that visitors illegal use, possession, or distribution of any controlled substance, illegal drug or alcohol is a violation.

UNM will continue its robust on-campus drug prevention and education programs and is ready to expand them if necessary.

The UNM Student Handbook states students are subject to appropriate disciplinary procedures and sanctions if found committing, or attempting to commit, acts of misconduct. According to Section 2.11 of the UNM Student Code of Conduct, this includes illegal use, possession, or distribution of any controlled substance, illegal drugs or alcohol.

It is important for all students to be aware that violating this code of conduct could lead to disciplinary action by the University.

Students found to be in possession of marijuana in the residence halls, including Lobo Village, Casas del Rio, and Lobo Rainforest, will be referred for conduct action under the Residence Hall Handbook. Campus housing will continue to work in conjunction with the UNM Police Department to evaluate situations where persons are found in possession of marijuana.

Whenever UNM employees are working, are operating any University vehicle, are present on University premises or are conducting UNM-related work offsite, they are prohibited from: (1) using, possessing, buying, selling, manufacturing or dispensing an illegal drug (to include possession of drug paraphernalia), including but not limited to marijuana; (2) being under the influence of alcohol or an illegal drug, including but not limited to marijuana.

UNM employees who are subject to pre-employment, random, and suspected impairment drug/alcohol testing should refrain from using cannabis altogether as it could impact their conditions of employment.

Any employee who may appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be sent for testing, in accordance with the UNM Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 3270.

Supporting Links

UNM Resources
Regents Policy Manual 2.6 Drug Free Environment
UNM’s Policy on Illegal Drugs and Alcohol
Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Campus policy 
UNM Visitor Code of Conduct
UNM Student Code of Conduct
UNM Residence Hall Handbook
Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 3270
Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention

State Resources
Cannabis Regulation Act

Federal Law
Controlled Substance Act
DEA Drug Scheduling
Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act
Federal Funding and Higher Education