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Cannabis Legalization Passes the New Mexico House

  Santa Fe, N.M. – Legislation establishing the legal and regulated use and sale of cannabis in New Mexico passed the House today with a 39-31 vote. It will now be heard in the Senate. Here is a statement from the NM House Democrats:


Sponsored by Rep. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque)Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque), and Rep. Kristina Ortez (D-Taos), House Bill 12: the Cannabis Regulation Act legalizes and regulates the use, production, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products for adults 21 years and older. The bill implements a responsible, tightly regulated system imposing an 8% excise tax on all cannabis sales and establishes guidelines for licensure that prioritize diversity and equal opportunity.  


Economic projections indicate that recreational cannabis sales in New Mexico could total as much as $318 million in the first year alone, creating over 11,000 new jobs. Estimated tax revenue is projected to be $28.6 million in the first year, stabilizing at $50 million annually.


“The positive economic impact of legalizing cannabis in New Mexico will be significant, but the reason that I am so passionate about this bill is because I know the faces of the New Mexicans who have been most impacted by the failed war on drugs,” said Rep. Martínez. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a multi-million dollar industry with the frameworks that are right for New Mexico. HB 12 takes serious action to undo the damage the war on drugs has had on New Mexican communities and takes a cash crop away from cartels.” 


“With this approach to legalization and regulation, New Mexico will be a national leader in the steps we have taken to protect access to medical cannabis and prioritize diversity and equity in this new market,” said Rep. Romero. “With 74% of New Mexico in support of legalization, and a mandate to diversify our economy, our state is ready to make this move.”


“House Bill 12 is the product of deep collaboration, study, and deliberation amongst stakeholders,” said Rep. Armstrong. “Legalization and regulation make us all safer. It takes income away from cartels and creates oversight for cannabis use, production, and sale. New tax revenue will provide millions to support public education programs, mental health services, and medical research that will contribute significantly to the health and wellbeing of New Mexicans.”


“As a representative of a rural New Mexico district, I am so proud that House Bill 12 ensures that we are opening opportunities for our small farmers and entrepreneurs,” said Rep. Kristina Ortez. “With micro-business loans, we’re ensuring that family farms and small businesses can enter the market, compete, and succeed. Likewise, this legislation gives municipal governments autonomy over the local taxes they collect, allowing them to fund the priorities unique to their own communities.”


Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.