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US: New Mexico House Votes to Legalize Adult Use Cannabis

Sara Brittany Somerset


Friday 08 Mar 2019

The New Mexico House of Representatives voted Thursday evening to legalize marijuana for adult use. No Republicans voted in favor of House Bill 356, while several moderate Democrats voted against it.

According to New Mexico House Democrats's Twitter feed, House Bill 356 will invest in substance abuse treatment programs, community public and road safety, as well as education.

"The bill’s prime sponsor, state Rep. Javier Martinez (D), said he had worked with three Republicans in the state Senate to craft a compromise, giving the bill a shot to pass this session," according to Reid Wilson of the Hill.

If the bill passes, New Mexico could become the 11th state to allow adults to consume cannabis recreationally. The retail framework might mimic the Washington and Colorado models — with a few major differentiations. For the first time in the United States, the bill would attempt to create state-run dispensaries. Apparently, this caveat is meant to appease Senate Republicans.

Additionally, private businesses will be also allowed to sell cannabis to adults, provided state-run stores are not available in the vicinity, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

"I am for legalizing in the right way," said Senator Jeff Steinborn. The senator explained that he doesn't want legalization to roll out without drug treatment plans baked into the agenda and he admits there is still a long road ahead on the path towards legalization.

"The bill now heads to the Senate, where a legalization bill already exists. It still has to clear three more committees before the session ends next Thursday," the Senator explained in a phone call.

If passed, New Mexico’s legal, adult-use consumer cannabis market would begin on July 1, of 2020. In the first year, marijuana legalization "will create 11,000 jobs and bring in more than $70 million in tax revenue," House Democrats tweeted.

Republican Senator Chris Pirtle told the Albuquerque Journal, that the Senate had “plenty of time” to act before the session expires – until March 16.




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