Danae Hurst

Despite Opposition, Cannabis Legalization Bill Pre-Filed in New Mexico

A New Mexico state representative has pre-filed a bill for the 2016 legislative session that would legalize cannabis for adults ages 21 and older.

State Rep. Bill McCamley (D-Las Cruces) pre-filed the “Cannabis Revenue & Freedom Act” late last month. The bill would make marijuana legal to possess and consume by any adult 21 or older, and would also legalize the cultivation of hemp.

The tax structure on marijuana would be similar to the one currently in use in Colorado. McCamley cited the neighboring state’s success with legalization, saying New Mexico should follow suit in order to increase the state’s tax revenues and do damage to drug cartels in the area.

Speaking with NBC affiliate KOB-TV, McCamley said:

“When you look at Colorado on our other border, they’ve brought in around $100 million in increased tax revenue, so this is a really good way of hurting drug cartels and helping our business community and our schools at the same time. A lot of people say let’s wait and see what Colorado does. Well how long are we going to wait to see the kind of success that they’ve had? It’s already there!”

Rep. McCamley sponsored a similar bill last year, which failed to gain traction in the face of staunch Republican opposition to any kind of marijuana legalization. Governor Susana Martinez had also threatened to veto any such legislation. She also vetoed a 2015 bill that would have made industrial hemp production possible there.

“The message we’ve gotten so far from the Republican leadership is that no marijuana legislation is going to get taken seriously,” said McCamley.

The best hope for legalization in New Mexico is likely to come in 2019, when Governor Martinez’s term limit expires.

Photo Credit: Danae Hurst

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