New Mexico’s future as a legal cannabis state is all but cemented by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a vocal advocate of legalization, who acts as the final hurdle before marijuana reform laws come into effect. As New Mexico residents prepare to launch an adult market, Texas law enforcement agencies prepare to adhere to the Lone Star State’s strict pot regulations.
How New Mexico’s marijuana legalization bills are affecting Texans
The Democratic-controlled Congress in New Mexico has passed a series of measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Once Governor Grisham signs the bills, New Mexico will join California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado as legal cannabis expands its reach throughout the American Southwest.
The proposed bills would allow adults 21 and older to own up to 57 grams of marijuana for personal use, plus allow it to be grown at home. A regulated market would be created, with an excise duty of 12 to 18% on cannabis sales, bringing much-needed revenue into the state. Texans looking to take advantage of the neighboring legal weed market, however, should think twice before shipping marijuana across state lines.
“It’s still illegal to have marijuana here,” said Shirley Hardee, Ector County’s information officer. “It shouldn’t affect us at all here in the Ector County Sheriff’s office. We are dealing with Texas law where New Mexico has different laws. “
Hardee’s “Texas Act” refers to making possession of up to two ounces of cannabis a Class B offense, which can result in a six-month prison sentence, $ 2,000 fine, and loss of a driver’s license. However, according to Ryan Urrutia, commander of the patrol division at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, these penalties can increase depending on the criminals’ cannabis product of choice.
“Edibles, or the vape cartridges people are using now, are actually a criminal possession. So you can actually be charged with a criminal offense if you are in that form in that form of THC,” Urrutia said. Such restrictions would also be placed on New Mexico residents caught with cannabis products in Texas. Officer Urrutia continued, “Even if you live in New Mexico once you brought it to Texas, it is still illegal to own it no matter what other state you live in or what country you brought it from to have.”
While the state-level cannabis laws in Texas remain strict, some municipalities have eased restrictions. Dallas County has limited penalties for first time possession violations, and Austin has effectively decriminalized possession of up to four ounces of marijuana.
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