Members of the New Mexico House of Representatives approved House Bill 12 Friday night to legalize and regulate the use, possession, cultivation and retail sale of adult marijuana.
The measure, which was passed by 39 votes to 31, would allow adults to purchase at least two ounces of marijuana at a time and cultivate up to six mature plants for personal use. Those in possession of more than two ounces must lock it up in their place of residence. According to HB 12, individuals convicted of an offense involving up to two ounces of marijuana possession can be automatically deleted, and those currently incarcerated for those offenses can be released.
House Bill 12 is now being sent to the Senate for further consideration.
House Bill 12, one of five competing adult legalization measures, is favored by advocates for its additional social justice and community reinvestment provisions. The Friday House vote came the day before the Senate’s Tax, Business and Transportation Committee considered three additional measures to legalize and regulate the retail sale of marijuana.
During Saturday’s Senate hearing, lawmakers discussed differences and similarities between the competing measures, suggesting that those differences need to be reconciled quickly and a compromise reached before the month-end time runs out.
New Mexico has a short term, the legislature slated to adjourn on March 20, 2021.
In both 2019 and 2020, New Mexico lawmakers pushed forward proposals to legalize marijuana, but these ultimately stalled after moving to the opposing chamber. Legalizing adult use has also been a priority for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham since she was elected to office in 2018. She advocated the issue, and then in 2019 appointed a working group to provide recommendations to lawmakers on how best to regulate the use of adult marijuana in the state.
After legalization laws stalled in 2019, separate laws were enacted to decriminalize possession of quantities of cannabis for personal use.
According to national poll data, 72 percent of New Mexico voters are in favor of a proposal to legalize, tax, and regulate the sale of cannabis.
If you live in New Mexico Send a message to your lawmaker to help support adult legalization efforts.