New Mexico to join New York and 14 other states in legalizing recreational cannabis
The New Mexico state legislature passed legalization on Wednesday night, and once Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signs the law as planned, the state will become the 16th in the country to legalize cannabis for the purpose. recreational. This makes New Mexico the second state to pass legalization in 24 hours. Earlier today Wednesday, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, signed a legalization bill, which the state legislature passed on Tuesday evening. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has pledged to sign legislation that will legalize recreational use and sale in New Mexico for adults 21 and older.
An important victory for New Mexico
Changes approved Wednesday by the Legislature mean that almost any adult can grow marijuana at home for personal use, or for profit under a micro-license agreement. The reforms also usher in a new era for marijuana as a big business and make fundamental changes in law enforcement. Many previous convictions will be erased from the books, and the smell of the grass is no longer a reason for police searches.
The start of recreational cannabis sales is scheduled for April 1, 2022
Adults 21 and older can purchase and transport outside the home up to 57 grams of cannabis, with separate limits for extracts and edibles. Hobbyists can grow up to six plants for personal use, or 12 per household.
New indoor and outdoor places to consume are coming soon, which could look like bars or lounges. These “cannabis consumption zones” will be licensed by the state for a fee.
Consumption of cannabis will be permitted in hotel rooms, casinos, cigar bars and designated tobacco shops. In other public places, the use of marijuana will be treated like alcohol or cigarettes.
Local governments cannot ban businesses, but they can set zoning requirements for business locations and hours. Existing medical marijuana dispensaries cannot be easily dislodged.
Patient advocates for medical cannabis say the current prices of the herb in New Mexico are among the highest in the country, putting a strain on the personal finances of some consumers. This should change as the new legislation removes retail taxes on medical marijuana.
Chad Lozano, former medical patient advocate and future commercial cannabis producer, says prices for recreational marijuana in New Mexico will initially be relatively high compared to other states and are expected to decline as the market matures.
He says state regulators have the power to limit mass production and charge special licensing fees of up to $ 50 per plant per year. These decisions could drive up retail prices.
SOCIAL JUSTICE : New Mexico will implement an automated system to review and clear criminal records of past marijuana activity that are now legal. Lawmakers have set aside half a million dollars for the courts to begin the process. These past offenses can no longer be used to prohibit a person from obtaining professional licenses or obtaining employment. Rough estimates show that around 100 detainees could be pardoned.
The new expungement and pardon procedures do not apply to convictions for trafficking large quantities of illicit marijuana.
Previous drug convictions will not prevent individuals from starting a licensed marijuana business, although that is a consideration. In the interest of equal opportunities, the state will issue “micro-licenses” for a nominal fee for the cultivation of up to 200 plants. These businesses might look like small craft breweries.
TAXES AND FEES ; The state will levy a 12% excise tax on the sale of marijuana that will eventually increase to 18%. This is before the standard sales taxes of 5-9%. According to conservative estimates, state and local tax revenues from recreational cannabis will exceed $ 45 million per year within three years. One third of the revenue goes to local government.
Lawmakers have yet to decide how to spend the money
Democratic state representative Javier Martínez - the main architect of the state legalization effort - wants to create a “rural equity fund” to provide support and possibly subsidies to producers in marginalized communities.
Republican State Senator Cliff Pirtle has proposed using a share of the marijuana excise tax to help protect roads from marijuana-impaired drivers, including research into field sobriety tests .
Democratic Senator Jacob Candelaria, lawyer with clients in the marijuana industry, suggests directing half of state revenues to New Mexico's multibillion-dollar trust funds for public education and infrastructure .