There are a lot of people that think that 2016 will be the year that a state finally legalizes recreational marijuana via legislative action. The most likely states to do so are in the Northeast, specifically Rhode Island and/or Vermont. However, New Mexico was in the race to do so too. That is, until yesterday when New Mexico’s Senate voted against a marijuana legalization bill that had previously advanced out of committee. Per NM Politics:
State senators on Sunday night voted 24-17 against a proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed people 25 and older to buy and smoke marijuana. The measure also would have legalized industrial hemp, a cousin of the marijuana plant, that has myriad commercial uses.
All 18 Republicans and six Democrats voted against the proposal — which, had it passed the Senate and House, would have let voters decide in November whether to legalize marijuana and hemp — after a debate lasting about 40 minutes. Both advocates and opponents of the marijuana measure used crime as their leading argument.
Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque, sponsored the proposal and said marijuana would help the economy and lessen the strain on public agencies. Legalizing recreational pot would mean fewer low-level drug arrests, fewer court cases and “increased ancillary revenue” from businesses that would spring up because of the pot industry, Ortiz y Pino said.
It’s unfortunate that the bill didn’t pass, but it’s not a total loss. New Mexico was a long shot, but there were still conversations started, and 17 Senators voted for the bill. That’s a good starting point. If you live in New Mexico, thank the Senators that voted for the bill, and keep the pressure on the Senators that didn’t!