New Mexico

Dem-dominated Legislature rams through extreme recreational weed bill heavily subsidizing Big Pot

On Wednesday, the New Mexico Legislature passed Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s radical recreational marijuana legalization bill, which will give the green light to the use of the illicit drug in the State of New Mexico, a major blow to commerce, law enforcement, and child safety in the state.

The New Mexico Senate passed the Senate by a vote of 22-15, with two Democrat senators, Bobby Gonzales (D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe, and Taos) and Shannon Pinto (D-McKinley & San Juan), voting with Republicans against it.

The Governor called the bill’s passage by the Legislature a “significant victory for New Mexico,” writing that “Workers will benefit from the opportunity to build careers in this new economy. Entrepreneurs will benefit from the opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises. The state and local governments will benefit from the additional revenue. Consumers will benefit from the standardization and regulation that comes with a bona fide industry.” 

However, the most such a bill would bring in to the state would be peanuts compared to the bloated state budget that currently sits at $7.4 billion. Proceeds from the sale of recreational marijuana would only contribute a maximum of 0.204% of the state’s needed budget or $15.1 million in the best year.

According to one report, “The state would levy a 12% excise tax on sales to start, and the tax would grow to 18% over time. Gross receipts taxes would also be added on, pushing the total tax rate to 20% to 26% overall.” 

Both chambers of the Legislature also adopted separate legislation to subsidize the Big Pot industry with $7 million in cash, despite the Governor claiming the industry would bring in money to the state. 

The vehicle used to push through weed, H.B. 2, co-sponsored by Rep. Javier Martinez (D-Bernalillo) and Sen. Katy Duhigg (D-Bernalillo), was ultimately voted on to move forward over Sen. Cliff Pirtle’s (R-Chaves, Eddy, and Otero) competing proposal, which died.

Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana), who was conveniently absent for the final vote on H.B. 2, said, “This bill is not ready, this policy is not ready, New Mexico is not ready,” showing his concern that legalization will do more harm than good in a state plagued by drug and alcohol addiction.

“We’re not really genuinely here to debate the bill or improve the bill,” said Sen. Cervantes, D-Las Cruces. “We’re here to pass the bill.”

The Senate Democrats decisively killed just every amendment to their radical bill proposed by Republicans. Thankfully for minors in New Mexico, the previous language in prior bills allowing parents to legally provide cannabis to children under 21 was removed from the currency legislation.

The bill, however, allows adults over 21 to grow their own pot plants for personal use up to six for personal use and twelve for household use, which will expose children and minors to marijuana.

After the Senate passed the controversial bill following its first passage in the House, the House voted to concur on the bill. It now goes to Gov. Lujan Grisham’s desk, where she is no doubt happily waiting to sign the extreme measure. New Mexico is the 16th state to legalize recreational dope, following New York and fourteen other states. 

BernCo GOP ED turned down voter registration help from pro-Trump activist Scott Presler

On Wednesday, conservative firebrand activist Scott Presler announced that he would visit the great state of New Mexico on July 31, 2021, for a rally and to help with voter registration efforts. Presler is well-known for his volunteer work cleaning up Baltimore and other Democrat-heavy areas plagued with poverty and violence. 

He has been an outspoken pro-Trump activist who has pledged to fight against “Republicans in name only” or “RINOs” and register more Republicans to win elections across the nation. 

Now, Presler is coming to New Mexico to help the Land of Enchantment drain the swamp. He is teaming up with New Mexico activists, including Tammy Martinez, Audrey Trujillo, and others to turn the state around. On Twitter, Presler wrote, “I’m coming to New Mexico, but it wasn’t easy. Woman I’m working w/ reached out to her Republican Party & the exec. dir. said they have voter registration under control. Turning down free help in states you don’t win elections — smart. Not naming names. Truth will come out.” 

He added, “If you live in the Albuquerque, NM, area, please mark your calendar for Saturday, July 31st. We’re putting on an event with or without the help of the Republican Party, since they have things “under control.”

On Twitter, many have named Bernalillo County GOP chair Julie Wright and anti-Trump Bernalillo County GOP executive director Geoffrey Snyder as the culprits behind the snub of Presler. Wright previously defended Snyder after he came under fire for calling pro-Trump activists in New Mexico “Nazis.” 

The Piñon Post reached out to Wright for comment, where she defensively asked why I was inquiring about the matter. She apparently claims to not have directly spoken with Presler, however, has not disclosed whether Snyder or any other Bernalillo County GOP relayed such information.

The Piñon Post now learned that Geoffrey Snyder was the one who snubbed Presler’s voter registration help in an email to Tammy Martinez, asking for other volunteers and monetary contributions instead.

He wrote the following in an email dated March 24, 2021:

I’m very glad you reached out to us.  I trust that our 2nd Vice Chair, Dauneen Dolce, has contacted you by now regarding our operation.  It’s definitely our goal to elect candidates who are as conservative as possible and I appreciate you bringing Mr. Presler to our attention.

Our Party currently has a whole host of voter registrars who are capable of registering new voters.  What we currently do not have is the funding to pay for a full scale voter registration drive.  However, even if we did have that money, a registration drive is required by NM law to register voters from any Party.

Because any operation we implement must keep our candidates’ best interests in mind, we won’t be dedicating our resources to voter registration efforts until we can implement a program that is specifically tailored towards helping our candidates.

Our current operations revolve, specifically, around grassroots volunteer recruitment, fundraising to cover Party costs, and soon will involve assisting candidates in their goals of 1) getting on the ballot for this Fall’s municipal and school board elections, and 2) getting the necessary contributions to achieve their goal publicly funding their campaigns.

To be blunt, we need volunteers and donations, as well as people to join our efforts at gathering volunteers and donations.  We hope you will find the time to assist us!

Thanks so much,

NM abortionist loses court battle after having botched abortion victim arrested

On Wednesday, Abortion On Trial (AOT), a pro-life New Mexico-based group announced that charges for a woman who was arrested at “Women’s Reproductive Clinic” in Sunland Park were dropped.

According to the group, the woman going by “Jane Doe” was arrested on September 1, 2020 after she returned with the body of her deceased baby who was delivered at home following a botched surgical abortion at the facility.

“Jane went to the clinic in physical pain and emotional panic in order to get help, answers, and her medical records. The abortion provider, Dr. Franz Theard, refused to speak with Jane and instead fled the scene in his car after instructing police be called on her.” 

“After the abortion facility illegally took custody of her baby’s body, police arrested both Jane and her husband. Jane’s husband’s charges were later dropped but Jane’s remained,” the press release reads.

Sidewalk advocates from Southwest Coalition for Life were on-scene that day, however, and made sure that she had proper medical care following her botched abortion and home delivery. Abortion On Trial’s attorney, Mike Seibel, also got involved and took immediate steps to defend Jane against the abortionist.

“It took more than 120 days for Women’s Reproductive Clinic to release Jane’s medical records to her. That delay resulted in even more court battles as AOT’s attorney, Mike Siebel, sought to hold Women’s Reproductive Clinic in contempt of a court order. Women’s reproductive clinic responding to that attempt with proposed sanctions against Mr. Seibel,” according to AOT.

Later, the charges against Jane were “dismissed without prejudice” and the proposed sanctions against Mr. Seibel and request for Women’s Reproductive Clinic to have their legal fees paid for were denied, a victory for Jane and for the pro-life movement. 

“Jane’s case is the beginning of fighting back against the bullying women so often experience before and after abortion. Franz Theard and his staff now know that people will push back and stand up for the women they previously got away with mistreating. Women watching this case now know that people will stand beside them in a battle against corrupt doctors. This may not be the last we see of Jane and her story, but it is the last we will see of Franz Theard harming women without being actively opposed,” wrote Abortion On Trial. 

“We hope Jane’s story will continue to spread as a beacon of awareness and precaution to those considering abortion,” said AOT Executive Director, Jamie Jeffries. “We hope those who oppose abortion see this case and realize just how much women need compassionate care after abortion. And we hope those who support providers like Franz Theard see this case and realize who is having women arrested at abortion clinics…and who is fighting for them when that happens.”

Dems tap far-left extremist Melanie Stansbury as nominee to replace Deb Haaland in Congress

On Wednesday, the Democrat Party of New Mexico announced that their central committee had nominated state Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-Bernalillo) to be their nominee for Congress in the First Congressional District to replace Deb Haaland, who recently was elevated to be secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

Stansbury won on a second-round ballot by a tight margin, beating state Sen. Antoinette Sedillo-Lopez (D-Bernalillo) by a mere 6 votes. Stansbury got 103 votes to Sedillo-Lopez’s 97. Only one member of the committee abstained from voting.

On the first round of balloting, Sedillo-Lopez won but did not get a 50% majority of the votes, with 74 votes to Stansbury’s 43.

After the vote, New Mexico Democrat Party Chair Marg Elliston said, “We are so excited to support Melanie Stansbury in the race to become New Mexico’s next strong Democratic representative.” She added, “Her dedication, compassion, and forward-thinking policies are exactly what New Mexicans are looking for in a leader. We look forward to turning out Democrats across this district and electing Representative Stansbury to carry on the legacy of Secretary Haaland by moving our state and our nation toward a brighter future.” 

According to the Democrat Party of New Mexico release, Stansbury “is running for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District to lift up the voices of our communities and tackle our biggest challenges from economic development, to food and water security, to climate change.” 

The Republican Party of New Mexico, run by former congressman Steve Pearce responded to the news, writing, “Rep. Stansbury is one of the most radical lawmakers in this state. She is simply out of touch with the needs of New Mexico.” 

He added, “It’s imperative that voters understand that her views are anti-New Mexico. She wants to ban fracking, supports anti-law enforcement legislation and consistently pushes for more spending and higher taxes on our constituents. She systematically votes with lawmakers who support leftist policies. In Washington Stansbury would vote for similar radical policies that align with the most extreme elements of the Democratic Party, and this will cause irreparable damage to our great state. Our economy and way of life will be threatened. Is this who New Mexicans want representing them in Washington?”

Stansbury will face off against the Republican nominee, moderate state Sen. Mark Moores (R-Bernalillo) in a June 1 special election. 

Glorieta Camps could house thousands of illegal migrant kids from Biden’s border crisis

On Tuesday, it was reported that Joe Biden’s White House had asked the Glorieta Camps near Pecos to “house and feed potentially 2400 unaccompanied children” from Biden’s border crisis set forth by his failure to protect the southern border with Mexico.

The Glorieta Camps are run by a Christian faith-based non-profit called “Glorieta 2.0” which “offers a variety of lodging options for families and kids, including hotel-style rooms with full private bathrooms for families and bunk-style dorms with in-room sinks and shared bathrooms,” according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

According to the Washington Post, more than 8,500 unaccompanied illegal alien children and teens were being housed in Department of Health and Human Services shelters, and a record-setting 3,500 children were backlogged at a Border Patrol station, as of March 10. That number has likely skyrocketed since. 

Over the past few weeks, Joe Biden has been blasted for his failure to control the ravaging of New Mexico’s southern border after he encouraged these criminal alien children to cross into the United States with his weak immigration messaging.

Many illegal immigrants flooding into the U.S. can be seen wearing Joe Biden shirts and holding Joe Biden flags with the messaging “Please Let Us In” written on them. 

There are thousands of illegal migrant children currently in federal custody who are in cramped makeshift holding cells while other children are being housed in metal prison-like boxes outside. 

Josh Nelson, an executive assistant for Glorieta Camps, said he expected the Glorieta 2.0 to issue a press release regarding a federal contract about housing the children, but “he was unsure when the deal would be finalized,” reports the New Mexican.

Congresswoman Yvette Herrell and other members of Congress previously toured the Southern Border to shine a light on Joe Biden’s border crisis after he encouraged illegal aliens to flout immigration laws and stopped construction of the wall built by President Donald J. Trump.

Early in her term, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham left the border defenseless when she removed the New Mexico National Guard troops stationed near the border who were assisting the Department of Homeland Security. 

Previously, Gov. Lujan Grisham claimed President Trump “failed” in his response to the border crisis despite him bolstering the border with resources, leading to fewer people crossing the border illegally. Trump had lower deportation numbers than the Obama administration, which Biden was a part of.

Dems want NM taxpayers to subsidize recreational pot bill with over $7M in funds

On Tuesday, the New Mexico Legislature met for the Governor’s special session on recreational marijuana legalization. She and her party failed to pass it through the Legislature despite having big majorities in both chambers.

The bill, which Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has promised will be a money-maker for the state through the sale of marijuana, turns out to be an apparent scam to subsidize the industry heavily.

As reported earlier, the upfront cost for implementing the marijuana industry, according to the previous 2021 session’s fiscal impact report, was $659,400 in 2022. However, the newly resurrected pot bill in this current legislative session paints a wildly different picture, forcing the state to delve out millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to prop up Big Pot.

The current bill introduced this special session calls for $1.7 million to the Regulation and Licensing Department to “administer” the bill, $750,000 to the Department of Public Safety for “drug recognition expert field certification for law enforcement,” $4 million to the Taxation and Revenue Department for expenditures in the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, $500,000 to the Administrative Office of the Courts to help address with expungement of records, among other costs.

Just on face-value, the taxpayers of New Mexico would be on the hook for nearly $7 million to implement this costly industry, which was promised to be revenue-generating. 

However, according to the previous fiscal impact report for the bill that died in the first legislative session of 2021, by the fiscal year 2024, the flailing industry would only produce at most $15 million in net revenue to the state, which, if current spending levels remain, would only amount to 0.204% of the funds needed to fund the government. 

Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Bernalillo, Sandoval, and Santa Fe) was not pleased with the Democrats’ proposal, writing on Facebook, “We’ve been told marijuana will be revenue positive but now, in the middle of Special Session (that has been called in the middle of a Holiday week), we learn last-minute that the state will subsidize the marijuana industry with millions of taxpayer dollars. This is far from open transparent government!” 

Lujan Grisham’s allies in the Legislature hope to pass the bill within a matter of days without much care for Republican input. H.B. 2, the pot bill, passed the House Judiciary Committee at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday by 7-4 after it flew through the House Taxation and Revenue Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 8-4.

MLG wants the nation to adopt NM’s job-killing Green New Deal

On Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was featured in a video shared by “Climate Power,” an “independently run project created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club.” 

In the video, Lujan Grisham said, “We need Congress to take action on building a clean energy future. We need bold investments in clean energy infrastructure and jobs.”

She cited New Mexico’s “Energy Transition Act,” signed into law in 2019, which has been dubbed by anti-energy groups as New Mexico’s “mini” Green New Deal. The act would completely phase out all energy production in the state by 2050, with a 50% reduction in nine years.

“And New Mexico has shown what clean energy leadership looks like. We committed to a renewable energy future that eliminates our carbon footprint while creating exciting and fulfilling careers across our great state,” said Lujan Grisham in the video. “We invested in our energy communities and refuse to leave them behind as we transition together to a sustainable future.” 

But in New Mexico, the opposite is happening. XCEL Energy, one of the three largest electric utilities in the state is already asking to raise rates on their customers because of the Energy Transition Act, passing off large costs back to the consumers. 

In northeast New Mexico, the Energy Transition Act has forced the closure of the San Juan Generating Station by PNM, leaving countless New Mexicans without jobs and only around 80 employees able to retire. “For the rest of the employees, though, they’re going to have to go find some other form of employment,” said plant manager Omni Warner. 

“We have laid a roadmap for what America can and must look like in the 21st Century. An America where we lead the world in safer, cleaner, and more affordable cities and communities.” said Lujan Grisham in the video.

“Federal lawmakers should take a page from our state’s playbook and the clean energy movement that puts millions back to work and in doing so, better prepare our country to face the existential threat of climate change.” 

However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Mexico is the 46th worst state for unemployment, only coming ahead of other far-left anti-energy states including California, Connecticut, New York, and Hawaii. New Mexico is at its lowest point for energy jobs in over ten years.

Left-wing environmentalists will claim that the massive uptick in unemployment rates is all Covid related and not Lujan Grisham’s Green New Deal. However, New Mexico’s neighboring state of Texas gained energy jobs every single month since last September unlike New Mexico. 

New Mexico is bleeding cash by the day as the Governor’s assault on the energy industry worsens. New Mexicans are being laid off with no fallback other than the state’s flailing unemployment system run by Lujan Grisham’s cabinet appointees. 

Even far-left eco groups have begged the Legislature to make changes to the Energy Transition Act before it completely wrecks the state.

“This is not only our chance to recover, but our opportunity to build back better now and long into the future,” claims Lujan Grisham. But pro-energy groups beg to differ. 

Larry Behrens of Power the Future says, “New Mexico ranks near the bottom for jobs so it’s shocking to see Governor Lujan Grisham advocating for other states to import her failures. The Energy Transition Act is destroying jobs and already causing utilities to seek rate increases on New Mexico’s working families. The fact that even some of those who support the bill now recognize that it is costing our families appears to be lost on Governor Lujan Grisham as taxpayers pick up the tab for her own electric bill.”

Read more about the Energy Transition Act and the Republican members who helped Gov. Lujan Grisham pass it.

Special session marijuana bill could have loophole giving minors access to drugs

On Tuesday, the New Mexico Legislature will reconvene at the behest of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to reconsider a bill legalizing recreational marijuana. However, there is much confusion about what the bill under consideration is going to cover since conflicting pieces of legislation have been distributed to state legislators. One draft appears to grant minors access to marijuana through a loophole.

Sen. George Munñoz (D-Cibola, McKinley, and San Juan) told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “They were supposed to send us a copy of it today. I really don’t know what it’s going to look like. Every time I went to read one [a cannabis bill] during the session, every four hours they had a different bill.”

Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana), who serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “Nobody is saying the bill is ready and should be passed from top to bottom.”

On Monday, Cervantes tweeted out, “To those calling and messaging me on marijuana legislation for special session tomorrow. I’m told we’ll get a new rewritten bill today, which addresses all issues I and others identified in our Judiciary Committee hearing during the regular session.” 

According to the Carlsbad Current-Argus, Cervantes said the bill might be split in two, with one portion dealing with recreational marijuana legalization, while another deals with “social justice” aspects to expunge records of past drug offenses. 

“You can understand how some legislators might vote for the licensing bill, but be against criminal justice reforms; and conversely, some vote the criminal justice reforms and against the licensing bill,” Cervantes said. “There are some Republicans who have said they support the principle of legalization, but may have problems expunging records and letting people out of jail.”

However, there is no certainty the bill will have the support to pass the Senate, with the Santa Fe New Mexican warning of how risky prior special sessions called by governors have been, notably Gov. Gary Johnson, who reconvened the Legislature to fix budgetary issues while falling short on a push to “close a loophole in state gasoline tax law that allowed Indian tribes to sell wholesale gas tax-free.” 

“There are plenty of ideas and, with Easter approaching, precious little time. We’ll see whether legislators can build a new industry, or just blow smoke,” wrote the New Mexican’s editorial board. 

Senator Gregg Schmedes (R-Bernalillo, Sandoval, Santa Fe, and Torrance) shared on his Facebook page what appears to be a Democrat version of the marijuana bill in contention, where it reads “It is not a violation of the Cannabis Regulation Act when: a parent, a legal guardian or adult spouse of a person under twenty-one years of age serves cannabis products to that person under twenty-one years of age on real property, other than licensed premises, under the control of the parent, legal guardian, or adult spouse.” Schmedes wrote, “Apparently Dems like the idea of giving marijuana to minors. Might want to talk to the CDC or WHO or just about any doctor first.”

Also concerning members of the New Mexico Senate is whether Pro Tem Mimi Stewart (D-Bernalillo) will force “sensitivity training” down members’ throats after she was distraught after debating Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto over a bill regarding paid medical leave. She couldn’t answer basic questions about her bill and claimed Ivey-Soto was “abusive.” 

One Republican senator told the Piñon Post that he would reject the training if asked to do it. The senator wrote, “Ha. I will refuse. I don’t force them to do common-sense training.” 

As the special session approaches, the Governor has made it crystal clear that she is not taking “no” for an answer, and the recreational pot industry has made it clear that “social justice” provisions of the bill are “absolutely required.” 

House Republican Leader Jim Townsend said in a statement, “The past sixty days have been defined by the Governor and Democrats silencing the voice of the people, and the silence has become deafening following the crash and burn of their pot bill.”

“If legalizing marijuana is truly about the people, you would think that New Mexicans from all walks of life would have the opportunity to contribute to the process, especially when it failed so miserable[y] at the last minute due to too many cooks in the kitchen. Transparency is key to the public good, and so far all I can tell you is that transparency in this building is on shaky ground.”

Read more about Big Pot’s donations to legislators’ campaigns here.

Disgraced radical enviro group blames failing NM schools on oil and gas industry

The disgraced far-left environmental radicalism group “WildEarth Guardians,” headquartered in Santa Fe, has begun a renewed assault on the critical New Mexico oil and gas industry, claiming the state is “shackled” to revenues from oil and gas production.

In this renewed effort by the group to petition legislators to reject oil and gas, they claim, “If oil and gas were the key to New Mexico’s prosperity, the state would be one of the most prosperous in the United States. It’s not even close.” 

“The state ranks last in quality of education, has the second highest poverty rate in the United States, and was recently ranked the third worst state in the nation,” claimed WildEarth Guardians.

The group appears to be blaming New Mexico’s failing education system on oil and gas, despite basic logic proving otherwise. 

If that claim were true, then Texas, which is benefitted by $502.6 billion of economic impact from the oil and gas industry, or 30.5% of the state’s gross domestic product, would be also failing in education and poverty.

However, Texas is ranked significantly higher than New Mexico on national surveys, such as the U.S. News and World Report, where Texas ranks 34 in education versus New Mexico at 50. New Mexico ranks extremely low for poverty 48th lowest with 18.6% of residents in poverty compared to Texas’ much lower 13.7% poverty rate and rank of 35. 

WildEarth Guardians is well-known for its extremist views on the environment and its incessant lawsuits filed against federal agencies to stymie the United States’ goal of energy independence. 

The organization receives federal and state contracts. According to InfluenceWatch, “WildEarth Guardians reported allegedly fraudulent overbilling by a longtime employee Jim Matison, director of the restoration program, and outside contractor, Jeff Hamm of Colorado-based Timberline LLC., to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque in May 2019.” 

“The fraud reportedly occurred in state and federal contracts awarded to WildEarth Guardians, for projects such as planting native cottonwoods and willows, reducing water temperatures and preventing damaging algae. The organization completed all the contracted work, but then fake work was added. Horning said the group also reported the matter to inspectors general for the U.S. Interior and Agriculture departments and the Environmental Protection Agency, which had awarded contracts to the group.” 

Now, the flailing organization is continuing its record of controversy by claiming, “The oil and gas industry has wielded undue political influence to cover up its true costs.” WildEarth Guardians demands New Mexico lawmakers “make a just and equitable transition” from oil and gas a “priority.” 

According to a 2012 study by Americans for Prosperity, a moderate group, “a total of some $4 billion in economic impacts would result if the WildEarth Guardians were to achieve all of their stated goals with respect to the protection of wildlife through the complete elimination of grazing, coal mining, and drilling on public lands.” That $4 billion economic impact is likely much more today.

WildEarth Guardians “will continue to present a clear and present danger not just to the court system, and to the Western economy and way of life, but to the taxpayers who unwittingly bankroll its monkey-wrenching of the West,” concluded the report.

In the 2020 fiscal year, the oil and gas industry contributed $2.8 billion to state revenues, making up 33.5% of state spending. Without the critical industry, New Mexico would not survive, at least not without extreme cuts to government spending. 

Recreational weed supporters claim the term ‘marijuana’ is racist

On Sunday, the Las Cruces Sun ran an article talking about Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s recreational marijuana legalization push and the terminology that the dope industry has been using to euphemize marijuana: “cannabis.”

The article claims that many industry leaders prefer the term “cannabis,” which is the drug’s scientific term to “marijuana” “given the term’s association with criminality as well as racist animus toward Latino and other non-white social groups.”

“It played into branding immigrants as a problem and it played into branding people of color as a threat to white America,” claimed New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce executive director Ben Lewinger. He added, “I think we absolutely need to stop saying ‘marijuana’ — today.” 

Lewinger also claims that using the term “recreational” is also discriminatory, saying, “Some advocates say the crude distinction between ‘recreational’ and ‘medicinal’ use has the effect of stigmatizing those who use cannabis without a physician’s signature or a state-minted medical cannabis card.” 

“I would say a lot of people who use cannabis ‘recreationally’ are using it to help them sleep, or for stress relief, or for anxiety reduction, or for pain management even if they’re not enrolled in the medical program right now,” Lewinger said. 

Regarding the terms “black market,” “illicit market,” or “illegal market” marijuana, Lewinger claims that what makes these terms offensive to him is the fact that “what is illicit or unlawful gets decided by who writes the laws — i.e., who holds power.” Essentially, he thinks that because white men hold places of power in government, the very act of not legalizing recreational weed is racist. 

“The medical cannabis industry, which is largely owned by white men — they’re still engaging in federally illegal activity right now,” Lewinger said, “but we don’t talk about it in the same way that we would of a person of color growing and selling cannabis.”

“When we talk about undoing the harms of the war on drugs that has disproportionately impacted Black and brown people in the United States, part of that is acknowledging that it’s very much those people of color who are now in jail who are the trailblazers for cannabis in the United States,” says Lewinger.

Previously, while speaking on the “New Mexico Grass” podcast, Lewinger said that the left-wing social justice aspects of a marijuana bill are “super important” and “absolutely required” for the bill. He said, “We absolutely have to do that.” 

He also said that he thought the Democrats’ recreational marijuana bill had an 88% to 100% chance of passing during a special session of the New Mexico Legislature. 

Gov. Lujan Grisham has announced a special session to commence on March 30 to hash out the marijuana bill, as well as an economic development program, which is likely to extend through Holy Week ahead of Easter. 

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