Gov. MLG signs recreational marijuana bill despite concerns

On Monday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed H.B. 2, which was rammed through the Legislature in a special session specifically called for recreational marijuana passage after the body failed to pass the bill in the regular session. 

The Governor called the bill, “a major, major step forward for our state. Legalized adult-use cannabis is going to change the way we think about New Mexico for the better – our workforce, our economy, our future.”

She added, “We are going to increase consumer safety by creating a bona fide industry. We’re going to start righting past wrongs of this country’s failed war on drugs. And we’re going to break new ground in an industry that may well transform New Mexico’s economic future for the better.”

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.

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. 

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.

New Mexico is the 16th state to legalize recreational dope, following New York and fourteen other states. Law enforcers and family-based groups have noted how the bill would lead to more people using narcotics in the state, while these drugs will be more readily accessible to youth. These concerns fell on deaf ears by the Democrats in the Legislature and Lujan Grisham.

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