SANTA FE, N.M (AP) — Legislators mounted a charge toward legalizing recreational marijuana in New Mexico, as House lawmakers on Wednesday sent an approved framework for pot sales, business licenses and taxation to the state Senate for consideration.
The Senate prepared for a decisive evening vote on a House-approved bill to to legalize recreational cannabis for adults 21 and older, after sidelining a competing Republican proposal.
The House voted 38-32 to approve the measure, with several House Democrats joining Republicans in opposition.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called a special session of the Legislature to legalize recreational cannabis after time ran out during a regular annual legislative session.
“The United States of America is in the midst of a sea change when it comes to this,” said Democratic state Rep. Javier Martinez of Albuquerque, who has ushered legalization bills four times to House endorsements without final approval. “This bill begins to repair the harms of prohibition.”
Martinez’s initiative was stripped of several provisions for economic support to communities ravaged by the criminalization of marijuana and tough policing, but it retains low-cost licenses for small pot producers as a measure of equity. And past drug convictions would not necessarily disqualify people from operating a cannabis business.