New Mexico Could Become the Twelfth State to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

On Jan. 16, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham unveiled legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in the hopes of employment and revenue opportunities.

Introduced by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, NM-D, and Rep. Javier Martinez, NM-D, the new legislation would allow for adults in New Mexico to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. The bill will also consider a number of recuperative justice, and social equity reforms.

In an effort to support the communities heavily impacted by prohibition, the various reforms will include the automatic expungement of prior cannabis convictions, and the installment of micro-business licensing to promote small business participation in the market. The new bill will also include licensing opportunities to allow local colleges to generate cannabis training and certification programs. 

“Every year we’ve said, ‘No, not yet, it’s not for us,’ Gov. Lujan Grisham expressed in a speech on Tuesday, according to KRQE. “Well, it’s easy to get to ‘no.’ It’s harder to stand up and create something good and new. And we’re ready for that,” she continued, referring to legal cannabis as the states “next economic frontier.” 

A similar legalization bill was introduced in the state last year. But, hope that this year’s proposal will pass. As opposed to last year’s attempt, the 2020 bill does not allow for local jurisdiction to opt out of the program, nor does it allow for home growing. Further, along with eliminating the state’s gross receipts taxes for medical cannabis sales, and creating subsidy programs for low income patients, the proposal also dedicates revenue to substance use disorder treatment, job training, and education programs in the state. 

At this point, there is no indication of when the legislation will be heard. However, with Gov. Lujan Grisham’s strong support and eagerness to sign, be sure to stay tuned for updates. 

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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