A new proposal introduced on Oct. 16 would legalize cannabis in New Mexico and earmark cannabis tax money to assist low-income cannabis patients and cannabis startup companies.
According to the Associated Press, a panel headed up by democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham based its new recommendations for legal cannabis on other successful legal states. The idea is to try and get rid of cannabis on the black market and put cannabis tax funds toward worthwhile candidates. The next step is for the legislature to consider these changes. In January, it will likely make a decision about the future of legal cannabis in New Mexico. “We’re going to use some of the revenue from recreational marijuana to reinvest . . . so we don’t lose those patients,” said Albuquerque City Councilmember Pat Davis, who headed up the governor’s task force on legalization.
Medical cannabis in the state is currently taxed at seven percent, but would become tax-free under the legalization proposal. In addition, the money from recreational sales would be set aside to subsidize cannabis for low-income patients with qualifying medical conditions. Any licensed cannabis business in New Mexico would be required to serve the medical cannabis market as well, and priority would still be given to patients.
Earlier this year, legislation stalled in the state Senate when a proposal for state-operated dispensaries was introduced. Current dispensary owners also voiced their resistance to the idea.
New Mexico has started to make some serious headway when it comes to legalization. They have a medical cannabis system in place and aren’t taking the same stringent attitude as in previous years. Now, it just remains to see if they will join their neighbors to the north in Colorado and introduce a strong new recreational cannabis program.