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New Mexico Senate Committee Passes Marijuana Legalization

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new mexico marijuanaYesterday, for the first time in history, a legislative committee voted in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana in New Mexico.  On a vote of 5-4 New Mexico State Senator Ortiz y Pino’s (D-12-Bernalillo) Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2) passed the Senate Rules Committee.

SJR2 would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age and older and for the regulation of the production, sale and taxation of marijuana in New Mexico.

“Today’s vote sets in motion the process to put the issue on a 2016 statewide ballot for voters,” said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director with the Drug Policy Alliance.  “Marijuana prohibition in New Mexico has clearly failed. It hasn’t reduced use and instead has resulted in the criminalization of people, gross racial disparities, and enormous fiscal waste. Senator Ortiz y Pino’s resolution will allow our legislature rethink how we can enhance the health and safety of all New Mexicans through sensible reforms.”

A 2013 state poll conducted by Research and Polling found a majority of New Mexico’s registered voters (52 percent) say they support legalizing marijuana for adults, including 50 percent of independents and 60 percent of parents with children under the age of 18.  Nearly 40 percent of voters say their senator or representative’s position on the issue would not make a difference in how they vote with 31 percent of voters saying they would be more likely to vote for their legislator if they supported reducing penalties or taxing and regulating marijuana.

All eyes in New Mexico have been on Colorado to gauge the impact of the country’s first-ever state law to tax and regulate the sale and private use of marijuana for non-medical purposes, which took effect last year. January 1, 2015, marked the one year anniversary since marijuana became available for purchase for adults 21 and older in Colorado. For over two years, the state has also allowed adults to possess and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana.

According to the state’s department of revenue, the first ten months of legal marijuana sales have resulted in nearly $40 million in tax revenue.  The city of Denver saw a decrease in violent crime rates in the first 11 months of 2014, following a similar trend in 2013. Statewide traffic fatalities continue to decline, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Upwards of $8 million has been allocated to fund youth education and drug prevention efforts.  And the state is enjoying economic growth and the lowest unemployment rate in years.

“Today is an historic day for New Mexicans,” said Brett Phelps, president of the University of New Mexico’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). “Our legislature has taken a courageous step towards creating a sensible policy for regulating and taxing marijuana in New Mexico. This is an issue that should be decided by the people and SJR 2 will allow New Mexicans to do just that. ”

The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the nation’s leading organization of people who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. DPA fights for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation

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60 Comments

  1. Teresa Charvea on

    Sad…marijuana for recreation…it doesn’t just leave your system right away. It does impair your judgement and over time you lose a lot of your cognitive thinking skills! Also don’t forget employers still have the right to refuse employment even if it is legal by the state. And the state will tax it heavily!! Seen the destruction it has on families too!! Well they already took God out of everything it was only a matter of time for them to go in this direction. Will still teach my children they don’t need marajuana to escape reality. For people who need it medically I understand but just for fun not so much!! Sad in my opinion!

  2. Tobacco does not kill people. It’s what the tobacco companies put into it is what kills people, the chemicals. Raw tobacco has been smoked and used at ceremonial gatherings for centuries.
    Weed is good for aches & pains & has been used by people for centuries.
    What I’m afraid of is the big tobacco companies picking up the weed industry and putting chemicals in the weed.

  3. It can stay illegal in the rest of the states. The sooner it is legal in NM and the longer it takes to be legal everywhere else, the longer NM will benefit from economic boon.

  4. This is the legislature enabling a public vote on legalization. As legislation, the governor, Suzanna Martinez can still veto the question occurring on the ballot.

  5. CO is rich relative to NM. Potent pot is coming from the N in tiny amounts to the elite that can pay. The drug war mostly picks on the poor filling up private for profit prisons.

  6. No. It goes up for a PUBLIC vote in the next election. I hope this comes up during the Presidential election as legalization will drive up voter participation massively. If the Republicans had not obstructed legalization sooner by legislative law, this would not have happened. The Republicans hate high voter turn out because, when people vote, Democrats win. VOTE!
    I know it is difficult and modern electoral system makes it hard to know the candidates but, try to look them up.

  7. Michael Arellano on

    What the fuck are you talking about lady you make no sense. I’m sure you have never even smoked cannabis before but smoke a pack of cigarettes a day just killing yourself

  8. Jeannette Hickson on

    As we legalize marijuana, we make tobacco illegal. I do NOT understand this. Unless our government wants us all doped up so they can take our freedoms away a lot easier. All for the Almighty Dollar?

  9. Derrick Cornejo on

    Obviously you now nothing about how colorado regulates and tracks the sale of each plant that is grown for legal sale of recreational and medical marijuana. Furthermore, I strongly disagree with your statement that colorado is a “rich” state. Finally, only because colorado voters have been more progressive on recreational sale of marijuana then the rest of the country only shows that the citizens of Colorado should be looked at as paving the way for nation wide legalized recreational sales.

    Colorado citizen…

  10. Why on earth should a POOR state like New Mexico allow a RICH state like Colorado get all the dollars from marijuana when it is quite obvious that New Mexico grows quite a bit of the marijuana that ends up being sold in Colorado. Maybe the high end crowd of Santa Fe and Taos, which are literally rolling in weed, could be taxed for their weed use to make up for the legal taxes that they so conveniently circumvent every chance they get.

  11. this is one of the smartest things nm has decided on that is best for all of the residents yeaaaaaaa

  12. maybe they can reduce the state debt “not” legalize but don’t lie that you will do good things with revenue

  13. Oklahoma is not OK sheesh, talk about backwoods ???!!! I lived there for years, I’ll give credit for the friendly inviting attitude of people there, but I would attribute it to the establishment.
    Although I believe that it was due to the fact that while I was there OK was the 2ND highest marijuana producing state , you couldn’t go into the woods without being shot at because of all the illegal crops that was in every corner of the state,
    Meanwhile Meth was creeping in the back door. & state officials just stood by and watch it happen ’cause they were to busy pocketing the $ from back office dealings.
    And it’s true what they say about OK, ‘ that the ones who live there where either too stupid or lazy to keep moving forward (west), totally backwoods!!!!!
    This is from first hand experience, now in the 21st century it’s still acceptable to be completely politically incorrect, (ya ain’t right if u ain’t white attitude) all the backwood hillbilly racial profiling, slurs n innuendo that keep them from true manifest destiny.
    then to beat you with the bible, believing that you received the lords word through osmosis.
    Tells me to believe in Jesus, then steals the money from my hand- real poison
    Yeah. Oklahoma ain’t OK….
    ………y’all come back neow y’hea

  14. I’m an ex con that did 5 years in Mexico and 3 yrs in the States! There is opportunity for anyone who wants it here in NM! Been out since 2000 and been working since! If you want it you can get it!

  15. This is glorious news and we all have until 2016 to get every one to vote yes. Get on it.

  16. I am from Indiana now living in New Mexico and they will ruin your whole life for a seed. Even if you are on probation for a certain length of time, they don’t actually let you off until all your fees are paid which could be years and years. Now you have a felony and can’t get a job, assistance,. . you can’t rent.. I HATE Indiana.

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