New Mexico exhales and becomes the 18th state to officially legalize adult weeds
National Cannabis Awareness Month – The last week was an important moment for cannabis legalization. New Mexico became the third state in a matter of days to legalize the use of recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older. It is the 18th state in the United States to do this.
“New Mexico can ‘finally breathe out’,” trumpeted the state’s largest newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal.
“Legalized adult cannabis will change the way we think about New Mexico for the better – our workforce, our economy, our future,” tweeted Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham after signing the bill on Monday. Lujan is a major proponent of the positive benefits legalization could have for the state’s oil and gas-dependent economy, and is even calling a special legislative session in March to pass the law.
New Mexico voters also had to work to make this moment a reality. Last year they voted out two leaders of the Democratic Senate against legalization in their primaries.
Two other states have legalized recreational cannabis in the past few days. In late March, New York managed to pass legislation after years of legislature debating on drug war refunds and the appropriate use of cannabis taxpayers’ money. Virginia was the first southern state to do this. The law came into force on July 1st.
The financial estimates for the sale of the New Mexico plant are rosy. Some public finance experts predict the state could bring in $ 318 million in its first year of sales. That would translate into $ 20 million in excise taxes in the first fiscal year alone, which is 12 percent of retail sales and is expected to increase to 18 percent over the next few years and 5 to 9 percent of local and state taxes to 11,000 jobs.
The law comes into effect on June 29th and guarantees citizens the right to own cannabis. However, retail sales may not happen until April 1, 2022. Many of the intricacies of the state’s new regulatory system will have to be closed by early the next, from product safety rules to requirements for cannabis business licenses.
New Mexicans can grow six cannabis plants per person and up to 12 plants per household – important given the delay likely to be in retail sales. The legal limit of possession outside of your home is two ounces or 28 grams. Police will no longer be able to use the scent of marijuana as a justification for searches, and cannabis-related crimes that are no longer illegal under the new law will be eliminated Criminal records deleted from individuals.
Cities are not allowed to ban cannabis companies from their territory, but they have the final say when it comes to hours and location density. There are special allowances to facilitate the participation of local communities in the new industry.
Governor Lujan has even suggested that legalizing cannabis could help her state recover from an emotionally challenging year.
“We all still feel shocked,” she told the Albuquerque Journal. “People need something to hold onto and believe in.”
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