New Mexico Senate Speaker ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Legalization This Year

New Mexico Senate Speaker Brian Egolf said legalization is a top priority for lawmakers this session and he is “cautiously optimistic” the reforms will pass this year.

Full story after the jump.

New Mexico Senate Speaker Brian Egolf (D) said that cannabis legalization is a top priority for state lawmakers this session after the reforms have stalled in the chamber for years, according to a KRQE report.

“We’re still nine days left in the session and in legislative time, the last nine days offers plenty of time for bills to work their way through the session. But I think everyone who is following the issue is cautiously optimistic that something will pass.” – Egolf to KRQE

The legalization bill is currently headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it died last year. In late February, the House of Representatives passed the reforms 39-31.

During her State of the State address in January, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signaled strong support for legalization, saying the industry could help the state’s economy “roar back to life” as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. She later tweeted that the reforms would lead to “tens of thousands of jobs” and “hundreds of millions in new revenue” for the state.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Peter Wirth said in a January interview with podcast Growing Forward that he was “feeling more confident” about legalization this year.

During last year’s election anti-legalization Democrats, including the Senate president pro tem and the Finance Committee chair, were defeated by progressive primary challengers, which increased the likelihood of legislative support for legalization.

If approved, adults 21-and-older 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. Under the proposal, certain medical cannabis dispensaries would be permitted to start selling to adults on January 1, 2022.

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