New Mexico is getting nearer to legalizing marijuana

New Mexico is just a step away from becoming the 17th state to legalize adult cannabis and the fourth state to pass legalization policy by passing a law through its legislature. The final stop is Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk for signature. New Mexico follows New York State, which has also embarked on this path to full legalization. Illinois and Vermont have chosen the legislature route while 13 other states have legalized through electoral initiative.

Members of the New Mexico House and the Senate on Wednesday gave their final approval to two separate measures amending the state’s marijuana laws. The first legalizes and regulates the possession, production, and sale of adult marijuana. The second facilitates automatic review and deletion of the records of people convicted of low-level marijuana crimes.

“New Mexico lawmakers and advocates deserve applause as they are on the verge of legalizing adult cannabis. This year is proving to be monumental for the cannabis policy reform movement. State legislatures across the country recognize the urgent need to end the cannabis ban and are rising to the challenge, ”said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. MPP said in a statement that under HB 2, personal possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and growing six mature plants will be legal for adults 21 and older. In addition, HB 2 contains measures that would encourage those disproportionately affected by the ban to enter the new industry. Legal sales would begin on April 1, 2022 at the latest. An accompanying invoice provides for automatic deletion.

Carly Wolf, Manager of NORML State Policies, commented on the passage of the bills: “This is a historic day for New Mexico! These important policy changes will ensure that consumers will no longer be arrested and prosecuted, while eliminating past injustices caused by the drug war. I recommend lawmakers work together to create laws that prioritize social justice and inclusion. The enactment of these laws will ensure that minor marijuana offenders, including many young people, no longer have a criminal record and the associated life sentences and stigmatization. “

RELATED: New York Becomes 15th State to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director for Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance, said, “New Mexicans can finally breathe out. After many years of hard work, another hurricane term, and input from stakeholders across the state, the social justice legalization of cannabis is on its way to the governor’s desk, where it has already agreed to be signed. We thank the governor and our legislative allies for not answering “no” and for stopping at nothing until we were able to help the New Mexico communities – especially Hispanic / Latinx, Black, Native and Indigenous – meet that have been immensely harmed by cannabis ban. “

Photo by Kate Torline via Unsplash

She added: “Today’s adoption of the cannabis legalization and expulsion package will ensure equal opportunities for farmers and other small businesses and long overdue justice – including automatic expulsion – for those with previous cannabis arrests or convictions. And it doesn’t stop there. We still have much work to do to fully repair the damage caused by the war on drugs. This means we will have to return during the 2022 budget meeting to ensure funds are made available for critical reinvestment in the communities that have been hurt most. “

RELATED: New Mexico Gov. Regrets not legalizing marijuana pre-coronavirus

Erik Altieri, NORML’s Executive Director, added, “New Mexico joins an ever-growing list of states that have recognized the failure of the marijuana ban and the harm it has caused to their communities and citizens. They are the third state this year to pass legalization through the legislative process, and we expect more to follow in a short time. The American people are calling for an end to the forbidden policies that have ravaged the paint communities, wasted countless millions in tax dollars, and wasted limited resources on justice and law enforcement to criminalize otherwise law-abiding individuals for owning a product that is objectively less harmful than it is currently more legal Alcohol and tobacco.

“Fortunately, the state legislators are finally implementing the will of their voters and thus putting further pressure on the federal government to finally dismantle marijuana at the national level and to end this ongoing tension between state and federal politics.”

This article originally appeared in the Green Market Report and was republished with permission.

Comments are closed.