New Mexico House Votes to Legalize Cannabis

Lawmakers in New Mexico’s House of Representatives voted to legalize adult-use cannabis last week, setting the state up for another legalization showdown in the Senate after a similar attempt failed there in 2019.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers in the New Mexico House of Representatives last week advanced legislation to legalize cannabis for adults, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The proposal, House Bill 12, includes an 8 percent tax rate but cities and counties could add up to an additional 4 percent. The maximum possible cannabis tax rate in the state would be 21.4 percent.

Under the proposal, adults would be allowed to purchase and possess cannabis products and residents would be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants in their own homes. If approved, the new law would let certain medical cannabis dispensaries start selling to anyone who is 21 or older on January 1, 2021.

“This bill has been vetted. This is a big deal, and it should be.” — Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Albuquerque), co-sponsor, via the Albuquerque Journal

Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) said that legalizing cannabis would help undo inequities caused by the drug war, which disproportionately target people of color. “This gateway drug has been a gateway to eviction, to deportation, to arrests, to criminalization of addiction and more,” she said.

Republicans in the House widely opposed the bill and argued, unsuccessfully, for letting local municipalities opt out of cannabis sales. “I don’t think the state of New Mexico is in the habit of forcing communities to do things against their will,” said Rep. Randal Crowder (R-Clovis.).

The New Mexico House previously passed a legalization bill in 2019 but that legislation ultimately failed in the Senate. Proponents of House Bill 12 believe things may go differently this year, however, because there are both new senators in the chamber and because the cannabis legalization issue continues to grow in popularity among Americans of every stripe.

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