A bill to legalize recreational cannabis in New Mexico heads to the Senate floor for a vote after the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Democrat-sponsored bill 5-4.
House Bill 12, which passed in the state’s House last month, would allow the sale of recreational cannabis starting April 2022 for adults ages 21 and over. The bill would also impose an excise tax of 12 percent, with revenue that would go to local and county governments.
The bill went through regulation changes while in committee, and the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department will have the discretion to select plant limits, require testing of potency and prevent monopolies by not allowing companies to have multiple licenses. One change adjusts how cannabis taxes will be collected, while another would help those trying to get previous cannabis convictions expunged from their records.
Although the Senate failed to hear the bill by the end of session on Saturday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said she would call lawmakers back for a special session to consider ending cannabis prohibition.
“We’re going to have a special session in a week or so, and we’re going to get cannabis because I am not going to wait another year,” she said. “We’re going to win it, and it’s going to have the social justice aspects that we know have to be in a package.”
New Mexico previously tried to legalize recreational cannabis last year before being tabled by the same committee that passed it this year. Governor Grisham said then that she would try again in the future to legalize cannabis in New Mexico. The state also recently tightened its rules regarding medical cannabis by banning the use of out-of-state, medical cannabis cards. The Senate also voted against an amendment that would increase the daily purchase limit for medical cannabis patients from three grams to two ounces.