After previously decriminalizing the plant in 2019, the state just took another huge step in the direction of legalization.
States all across America have recently been revisiting their marijuana laws, moving forward with rigorous cannabis reform policies. With many states recognizing and attempting to mend the harm prosecution of the psychoactive plant has done to Black and brown communities all across neighborhoods in America as well as its medical benefits as arguments for moving forward with legalization, it seems like its every day a new state is amending its previous marijuana policies.
The latest state to join this growing list is New Mexico, where lawmakers in New Mexico's House have just passed House Bill 12, which would legalize the use and sale of cannabis in the state. It passed the House Friday night (February 26) in a 39-31 vote, and it will now head to Senate for further deliberation.
Detailed in the proposed bill, the Cannabis Regulation Act legalizes and regulates the use, production, and sale of cannabis and paraphernalia for adults 21 years and older. The bill would also impose an 8% excise tax on all cannabis sales.
According to a press release from state House Democrats, early financial projections indicate that recreational cannabis sales in NM could top as much as $318 million in the first year alone, creating over 11,000 new jobs for their economy. Estimated tax revenue is estimated to be about $28.6 million in the first year, and eventually stabilize at $50 million annually.
“The first goal when legalizing cannabis, I believe, is to put the illicit market out of business,” said Republican House member Pirtle, whose bill would create a cannabis control commission with participation from law enforcement and stamp out illicit markets with relatively low taxes.
“We 100% protect our employers' right to a zero-tolerance, drug-free workplace," Pirtle said. The bill must pass the Senate now, then be approved by Governor Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham (D) before it becomes law.