Cannabis in America
Will New Mexico Legalize Recreational Marijuana Next?
After several failed attempts, experts point to New Mexico as the next possible state to legalize recreational marijuana. Lawmakers are expected to introduce a new bill that would help rebound the state’s lackluster economy with the help of marijuana tax revenue.
On Wednesday sponsors in both the house and senate announced their proposals for parallel marijuana bills that would include a 15 percent tax on sales.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, local governments would choose whether to allow marijuana sales within their jurisdictions and could collect an additional 5 percent tax, while cultivation would be allowed statewide under a proposal modeled after marijuana laws in Colorado.
Governor and former district attorney Susana Martinez, a Republican, has consistently opposed legalizing marijuana or industrial hemp production; however, supporters plan to also advance a constitutional amendment that would call for a statewide vote in 2018, sans the governor’s approval.
“We create jobs, we create economic activity, and we create revenues for the state,” Democratic Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque told the Albuquerque Journal. “It is one way this state has, and I think one of the most promising ways, to get back on track economically.”
He plans to introduce the senate version of the bill later this week. Representatives Bill McCamley (D-Las Cruces) and Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque) are sponsoring the house version of the legalization bill.
“If it were to be passed by the Legislature, signed by the governor, it could be operational in New Mexico in July,” Ortiz y Pino said.
In 2016, three marijuana initiatives were introduced in New Mexico that would have legalized and taxed marijuana for adult recreational use in the state. In particular, the New Mexico Use of Marijuana Revenues Amendment, also known as Senate Joint Resolution 5, would have created a constitutional amendment to allow possession and personal use. It was approved by the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee before being defeated on the senate floor, with a vote of 17-24.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, 61 percent of likely voters said they would support full legalization. With increased favorability and joint initiatives in both houses, marijuana advocates could finally see a win in the Land of Enchantment.