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New Mexico Governor Calls for Cannabis Legalization

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New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is formally calling on lawmakers to legalize cannabis this year after stating in the 2020 agenda that she wants lawmakers to enact a bill legalizing recreational cannabis in the state and establish a regulatory framework for its use. If a bill is sent to her desk, New Mexico will most likely be the next state to legalize cannabis as legislature met for a short session on Jan. 21.

Gov. Lujan Grisham ran on support for legalization in 2018 and after a bill to legalize cannabis didn’t pass, she created a working group to study the issue and make recommendations. Last month, the working group released a poll showing overwhelming support for cannabis legalization in New Mexico.

“Supported by 75 percent of New Mexicans in a recent poll, the legalization of recreational cannabis is projected to create 11,000 New Mexico jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue,” said Lujan Grisham.

The governor is also asking lawmakers to pass a bill making it clear that the state’s medical cannabis program only applies to residents after a court ruled last year that out-of-state residents could participate. Gov. Lujan Grisham said the restriction is needed to protect the program and its participants.

After Gov. Lujan Grisham included legalization in her agenda, lawmakers filed a reform bill that would accomplish the goal. The bill, introduced by Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino and Rep. Javier Martinez, would allow adults in the state to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers. The bill also includes restorative justice and social equity provisions such as expunging prior cannabis possession convictions and promoting the participation of smaller businesses.

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