SANTA FE, New Mexico (KRQE) – Democratic and Republican lawmakers introduce legislation they are finally hoping for legalize recreational marijuana use in New Mexico. State lawmakers are pushing again to legalize marijuana. “The reason I decided to do it this time is because I am frustrated that I think people want us to do it in enough numbers,” Democratic Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto said.
Ivey-Soto is introducing a bill for the first time to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults. “We have to make sure we have a bill that gets passed,” Ivey-Soto said.
Ivey-Soto is proposing a scheme in which private companies would control the sale of cannabis as opposed to the state, and it would be taxed at 21%. Ivey-Soto said it was time to decriminalize the pot. “We are diverting a lot of law enforcement resources to something that is more of a nuisance than something that endangers the safety of others,” Ivey-Soto said.
Senate Bill 13
Republican Senator Cliff R. Pirtle is making his second attempt to pass a marijuana bill. In 2019, his bill would have given the state control over the sale of marijuana, but the bill is dead. This time around he changed it to private companies and said he thinks he has a better chance of being successful. “I think that’s the direction the other bills will take,” Pirtle said. “I want to have a bill that is at least close enough that I can sit at the table on how some of the regulations are.”
Pirtle said his bill would keep taxes low by imposing a 2% excise tax on top of local taxes on gross receipts. He would also donate some of the money donated to the Department of Public Safety to help tackle impaired drivers. “For me, whether it passes or not, it’s not my personal desire,” Pirtle said. “I just think if this is going to pass there are some issues that I think are important that we are maintaining.”
Democratic Representative Javier Martinez has introduced a marijuana bill every year of his tenure. He said his bill is largely the same this year with some changes as to who will benefit from the money earned. Martinez focused on a medical cannabis subsidy program for people who struggle to afford medical marijuana and a program that would help underrepresented communities have an equal chance in the industry.
If passed, Martinez said tens of thousands of jobs would be created, spurring hundreds of millions of economic activities. Martinez said he believed the “different political dynamics” of this legislature would work in favor of the bill. “We have a new commitment to diversify the economy so that we are not so tied to the oil and gas hip,” Martinez said. “It creates perfect conditions if you will. I don’t think the opportunity has ever been better than today to pass a legalization bill.
There is also a difference in the bills on how the money will be distributed to local governments and the state. However, all bills include regulations to discourage use by minors.
Senate Bill 288