New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) included legalizing adult-use cannabis among her policy items for the state Legislature’s first session of 2020. In her announcement, Grisham said cannabis legalization in the state “is projected to create 11,000 new jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.”
Grisham said the legislation would include a regulatory framework for adult cannabis use, “including public safety considerations, public health safeguards, and the protection of the state’s existing medical cannabis program.”
In October, the Marijuana Legalization Work Group – created for and appointed by Grisham – released its report on potential legalization in New Mexico and estimated the state would see $63 million in new state and local taxes following year one and nearly $94 million by year five. The task force called for a 17 percent average tax rate, anticipating first-year sales of $318 million and five-year sales up to $620 million by year five in a market with 468,000 consumers.
Under the recommendations, state excise taxes on sales would be set at 5 percent, with a 5.125 percent gross receipts tax on businesses, a 5 percent local excise tax, and a 2 percent local gross receipts tax.
Two polls released this month found very different results for support for legalization in the state. One poll, commissioned by prohibitionist group Smart Approaches for Marijuana and conducted by Emerson College found 63 percent opposed broad legalization, while a poll commissioned by the Marijuana Legalization Work Group and conducted by Change Research found 75 percent support the reforms – a supermajority.
The 30-day session is expected to start on January 21. If lawmakers go along with the governor’s plan, New Mexico would be the 12th state to legalize recreational cannabis and the second to approve a taxed-and-regulated market via the legislative process.
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