FARMINGTON – New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this week signed into law a bill that allows adult recreational use of cannabis.
Lujan Grisham signed the bill Monday, which was sponsored by Reps. Javier Martinez, Andrea Romero and Debbie Armstrong, and Sens. Linda Lopez, Katy Duhigg and Jerry Ortiz y Pino. The bill passed at the end of March during a special session Lujan Grisham called specifically to address the issue.
“The legalization of adult-use cannabis paves the way for the creation of a new economic driver in our state with the promise of creating thousands of good paying jobs for years to come,” Lujan Grisham said. “We are going to increase consumer safety by creating a bona fide industry. We’re going to start righting past wrongs of this country’s failed war on drugs. And we’re going to break new ground in an industry that may well transform New Mexico’s economic future for the better.”
The bill allows recreational sales starting no later than April 1, 2022. According to the office of the governor, the bill also addresses past low-level convictions. Possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana will cease to be a crime, those 21 and older will be allowed to personally possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and people will be allowed to have six plants at home – or up to 12 per household.
According to a news release sent by the governor’s office, independent economist and public finance expert Kelly O’Donnell said the sales of adult-use recreational cannabis could bring in almost $318 million in the first year alone and create more than 11,000 new jobs.
“As we look to rebound from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, entrepreneurs will benefit from this great opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises, the state and local governments will benefit from the added revenue and, importantly, workers will benefit from the chance to land new types of jobs and build careers,” Lujan Grisham said.
There will be a gross receipts tax and local taxes on those recreational purchases, while medical marijuana will remain exempt from those excise and gross receipts taxes.
The bill also established a Public Health Advisory Board that will monitor and report cannabis use data involving youth access, driving and road safety, workplace safety, consumer and product safety, and emergency room visits involving cannabis.
“The legalization of cannabis is ultimately a public health measure. When we regulate the industry, we can control the product quality, protect consumers and bring down the dangerous illicit market in our state,” said Rep. Armstrong. “This law includes dozens of necessary safeguards to protect our youth, ensure adequate supply for the medical program, and will bring in additional funds for programs, services, and research to support the health and well-being of New Mexicans.”
Lujan Grisham also signed legislation that will erase old, low-level cannabis convictions from tens of thousands of New Mexicans’ records and potentially give early release to those low-level convicted cannabis offenders who are currently incarcerated, according to the release.