New Mexico Cannabis Legalization Heads To Senate Floor

Rep. Javier Martínez

STATE News:

SANTA FE — Legislation establishing the legal and regulated use and sale of cannabis in New Mexico will now head to the Senate Floor, after passing the Senate Judiciary Committee with a 5-4 vote today.

Sponsored by Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque)Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque), and Rep. Kristina Ortez (D-Taos), House Bill 12: the Cannabis Regulation Act legalizes and regulates the use, production, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products for adults 21 years and older.

The bill implements a responsible, tightly regulated system imposing an 8% excise tax on all cannabis sales and establishes guidelines for licensure that prioritize diversity and equal opportunity.

Economic projections indicate that recreational cannabis sales in New Mexico could total as much as $318 million in the first year alone, while also creating over 11,000 new jobs. Estimated tax revenue is projected to be $28.6 million in the first year, stabilizing at $50 million annually thereafter. 

Amendments added in committee include:

  • giving discretion to the Regulation and Licensing Department to study and determine a market determined plant limit
  • requiring independent testing of potency and contaminants to ensure manufacturers cannot grow and test their own products 
  • prohibiting producers from stacking licenses to prevent market monopolization.  

“I am incredibly proud of the collaboration that has gone into this process. We’re coming out of committee with a better bill,” Rep. Martinez said. “New Mexico has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a multi-million dollar industry with a framework that is right for our state. That’s why so much work has gone into ensuring that the economic benefits will be equitably distributed, and why we’ve thought hard about the best ways to curb the illicit drug trade while undoing some of the damage that the failed war on drugs has had on our communities.” 

“Responsible, adult use of cannabis has become widely accepted in the US. Legalizing and regulating its sale is an intelligent and opportune step for New Mexico,” Rep. Romero said. “We are looking for ways to diversify our economy and support entrepreneurship in rural and urban communities alike by implementing a policy that over 74 percent of New Mexicans have told us they want to see. Today, we are one step closer to the historic passage of this legislation.”  

“In New Mexico, we recognize that cannabis is an important medicine for the many who need it,” Rep. Armstrong said. “It was always going to be important that access to medical cannabis was not put in jeopardy by the legalization of a recreational market. House Bill 12 successfully protects the supply of cannabis in the medical program.”  

“HB 12 carries widely reported benefits for our economy and for social justice, but it also has important consumer safety considerations as well,” Rep. Ortez said. “With a legal and regulated industry, we can control what is in cannabis products, consumers will have lower-potency options, and we will be able to better educate consumers about the effects of the products they are looking to purchase.”  

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators. 

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