Saturday, January 18, 2020
Governor of New Mexico Starts Campaign to Legalize Marijuana
Calling it a potential “an economic game-changer” for the state, New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham initiated a campaign to legalize recreational marijuana.
“The legislature has the opportunity to pass the largest job-creation program in New Mexico in a decade,” Grisham said this week as she outlined her legislative priorities for the new session, as quoted by local news station KOB. “Skeptics have been right to preach study and patience. I agree with their caution – and that’s why we haven’t rushed into this issue. But if we are clear-eyed about the risks, we have to be clear-eyed about the opportunity.”
Grisham, a Democrat who previously served in Congress before being elected as governor of New Mexico in 2018, reiterated the call for legal weed in a meeting with local business leaders at a luncheon Thursday hosted by the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.
“Recreational cannabis is an economic game-changer,” Grisham said, as quoted by the Albuquerque Journal.
“It is an incredibly important opportunity,” Grisham added. “We are serious about getting it passed.”
There is reason to think Grisham might have the people on her side. A poll released last month by Marijuana Work Group, an organization trying to promote legal weed in New Mexico, nearly three in four voters in the state support legalization.
Grisham has been telegraphing this move for a while. Last year, she spearheaded a working group tasked with studying legal weed in the state; the group ultimately proposed an oversight system that would cap taxes on recreational pot at about 17 percent.
But the group’s findings did little to persuade skeptical New Mexico lawmakers.
Pushback on Pot
“I could sit here and rant and rave all day long and I intend to do that when it comes to the legislation part,” said Republican state house Rep. Martin Zamora, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I just want more factual stuff — more scientific, more medical, in a more direct way.”
That underscores the challenges the lie ahead for Grisham and other advocates. Previous efforts to legalize marijuana in New Mexico, including a bill that passed the state house last year, have fizzled in the legislature.
Should this effort succeed, New Mexico would join 11 other states, most recently Illinois, that have already lifted the prohibition on legal recreational pot use for adults.
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