Lawmakers on a New Mexico Senate committee on Sunday pulled the cannabis legalization bill off its agenda just minutes before a hearing on the measure due to disagreements over taxation, licensing, and criminal justice reform provisions in the bill, the Associated Press reports. The measure was approved by the House in February but still requires Senate approval before heading to the governor.
The state’s regular session closes in five days.
The reforms are supported by Democratic lawmakers in the state, including Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Senate Speaker Brian Egolf, and Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth. During last year’s election, anti-legalization Democrats, including the Senate president pro tempore and the Finance Committee chair, were defeated by progressive primary challengers, which renewed hope the state would pass a legalization bill this year.
A Senate committee on Sunday also approved a bill that would prohibit the state’s medical cannabis patients from getting medical cannabis cards in other states, according to New Mexico Political Report. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, said the proposal will prevent the state’s medical cannabis program from being “slowly deteriorated.” He said the new rules were needed as the state moved toward adult-use legalization because medical cannabis products would remain untaxed, and residents could go to states with looser program requirements to skirt paying taxes on cannabis products in New Mexico.
The reciprocity bill heads next to the Senate floor and, if approved by the chamber, it would still need to be passed by the House before Saturday’s deadline.
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