NEW MEXICO: House Bill Moves forward to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
The bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state of New Mexico has passed its first committee on Saturday (2/9/2019).
The discussion on House Bill 356 is sponsored by a group of Democrats: Javier Martínez, Antonio "Moe" Maestas, Daymon Ely, Deborah A. Armstrong, and Angelica Rubio. It was expected to be so big that the Health and Human Services Committee hearing was moved to the House floor to accommodate everyone. Then after about three hours of deliberation, it passed with votes 5 to 2.
The bill will now head to the House Judiciary Committee where it could be the last stop before it makes it to the House floor. Senate approval will be required and then it will head to Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. She has said she will support the legalization under special circumstances, such as adequate safeguards against the use by children.
House Bill 356 Details
House Bill 356 touches on an array of policy questions. As it stands now, the proposal would include:
- Impose taxes of up to 19% on recreational marijuana sales. Annual tax revenue would be around $56 million, legislative analysts said. The money would go to law enforcement, health, and research programs, along with the city and county governments.
- Gives cities and counties the ability to opt out of allowing commercial sales of recreational cannabis.
- Expunge criminal records on marijuana arrests and convictions.
- Employers will still have the right to establish a drug-free workplace and have the ability to enforce that, but would prohibit adverse action against employees in the medical marijuana program, unless the worker is in a “safety-sensitive position.”
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