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New Mexico Senate Committee Moves Joint Resolution to Legalize Marijuana

Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino

  Commentary:  A proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana passed a Senate committee this morning.

The Senate Rules Committee voted 6-4 to move Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR 5), Use & Tax of Marijuana & Revenue, CA, to the Senate Judiciary Committee without recommendation. Committee members deadlocked in a 5-5 party line vote to pass the joint resolution. Measures that receive tie votes remain in the committee. But Republican Senator Ted Barela later voted with Democrats to move the legislation along with  no recommendation.

Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-12-Bernalillo) told committee members that legalizing marijuana would free law enforcement from chasing marijuana smokers and allow them to focus on serious crimes. The constitutional amendment, if passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives, would be approved or denied by voters in the next general election.