New Mexico is about to become the 17th state in the United States to legalize weeds for adults
This week, out of the blue, has become another landmark in the history of cannabis reform. On the same day that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Empire State’s Long Adult Uses Act, New Mexico legislature passed its own legalization package.
Like New York, New Mexico has been working on legalization for years. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has been campaigning for weed reform since she took office, but lawmakers have managed to falsify any attempt to create workable adult law. A new version of the bill was proposed that year, but again lawmakers failed to reach consensus before the end of the year’s term.
Rather than continue the scourge of the ban for another year, Governor Lujan Grisham convened a special legislative session devoted solely to cannabis reform. At that session, Senator Jacob Candelaria (D), a staunch advocate of reform, showed his fellow lawmakers a weed vape cart that he had legally bought under the state’s medical marijuana program.
“If anyone wants to check, this is one gram of indica cannabis extract that I’ll be vaping later after this calculation,” Candelaria said, according to The NM Political Report. “A lot of it. Maybe everything. “
Just two days after the session began, the legislature finally approved three reform bills and sent them to the governor’s desk. The first of these bills, HB 2, officially ends the cannabis ban in New Mexico. Anyone over the age of 21 can now own up to two ounces of weed, 16 grams of concentrates, and 800 mg of food. Adults can also grow up to six mature cannabis plants, or 12 per household, but cannot sell or trade weeds that they are growing.
The bill also provides that licensed and regulated cannabis sales can begin by April 1, 2022 at the latest. Legal sales are charged with the standard state sales tax of 8 percent plus an excise tax that starts at 12 percent and then grows by one percent per year until it hits 18 percent in 2030. There is no limit to the total number of weed businesses, and small micro-businesses are also allowed.
Unfortunately, many of the social justice provisions contained in previous legalization proposals have been removed from the final version. Legislators intend to draft a new bill to address these issues, but the timing for this is unclear. On the positive side, HB 2 will not allow individual municipalities to ban weed operations entirely, as is the case in most other states with legal weeds.
The legislature presented two further bills during the special session. The second draft law, SB 2, introduces a system to review and delete previous convictions for cannabis from the criminal record. The third bill, HB 1, secures government funding to regulate the new adult industry. However, a fourth bill laying down restrictions on stoned drivers has not been passed.
Before it can become law, these bills must be signed by Governor Lujan Grisham, but she has already indicated that she is happy to do so. “This is a significant victory for New Mexico,” the governor said in a statement. “Workers will benefit from the opportunity to develop careers in this new economy. Entrepreneurs will benefit from the opportunity to start lucrative new businesses. ”
“The state and local governments will benefit from the additional revenue,” she added. “Consumers will benefit from the standardization and regulation that come with real industry. And those harmed by this country’s failed drug war, disproportionate color communities, will benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to previous low-level convictions. “
New Mexico is now the 17th state to legalize adult cannabis, but it’s likely that a legal challenge in South Dakota will bring that number back to 16. But not for long – Virginia lawmakers also recently passed a law on adult consumption. Governor Ralph Northam is currently working to get this bill into effect this year.