Legal cannabis in New Mexico closer to reality

Legal cannabis in New Mexico closer to reality

Making marijuana legal for anyone 21 and older in New Mexico is now in the hands of our elected officials, after a Governor-appointed work group finished drafting its recommendations for what a recreational marijuana program would look like.

“In other states,the the recreational program just cannibalizes medical, and patients lose access because there’s a lot more money to be made on adult use,” said Pat Davis, the chairman of the Governor’s work group on recreational marijuana. “We’re saying, you can’t even go to adult use unless you take care of your medical patients first and if there’s ever a shortage, patients are first in line and that’s because for them, it’s medicine; it’s not something fun to do on a Friday afternoon after work.”

Tax revenue from recreational sales in the first year will be more than $60 million, according to the report.

“We want to use these new revenues to really change the dynamic in terms of New Mexico’s big issues without raising taxes,” Davis said.

A big chunk of revenue will go toward law enforcement programs and nearly half would go toward public health programs including DWI prevention, housing, and education, the report says.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office issued a statement on her behalf, saying, “(she) is pleased that the working group incorporated her priorities for any potential legalization bill into their study, namely: Rigorous protections for the medical program, public safety and workplace concerns, clear labeling and other areas. The governor will be reviewing the recommendations, and the next steps will be to incorporate the recommendations of this working group into balanced legislation and working to win the support of legislators and stakeholders ahead of the session.”

If it passes during the legislative session in January, New Mexico would be the second state to pass recreational marijuana without voters’ approval.

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