The New Mexico Legislature rammed through Democrats’ H.B. 2, the Cannabis Regulation Act, during a special session called by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham after lawmakers in the Democrat-dominated Legislature failed to pass it during the regular session. Traditionally, special sessions are only called for emergencies and urgent matters such as natural disasters or pandemics.
The newly passed recreational marijuana law, which is likely to be signed into law any day now by the Governor, has many in law enforcement wary of the law opening the door for even more corrosive illicit drugs such as methamphetamine and crack cocaine being fast-tracked to legalization.
Lea County Sheriff Corey Helton told the Carlsbad Current-Argus that he “feared the passage of legislation to legalize the use of recreational cannabis in New Mexico could be the first step in decriminalizing other current illegal substances.” He said he would “expect more of this” in the future, leading the state down a slippery slope.
Former FBI agent and current Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh said narcotics legalization is a destructive road to go down.
“People who have never dealt with a family of a meth user have no concept of how destructive that drug is. Same thing for heroin and that’s the problem. These people who have these rose-colored glasses concept, ‘well it’s only a problem because it’s illegal,’ no it’s illegal because they’re problems,” he said.
“The reality is there’s a huge drug problem here in New Mexico. I believe the drug problem really flows from behavioral health issues and this has done nothing to make it better. This is basically the state serving as an enabler to encourage those who are in bad shape having real issues to continue to wallow in a situation that will ultimately destroy them.”
In states such as Colorado, which have legalized recreational weed, it has seen a dramatic increase in violent crime, traffic fatalities, and marijuana hospitalizations. And usage by minors – sometimes fatal, from eating poorly regulated marijuana candies has increased.
“The bottom line is it’s a scheduled one narcotic. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s still on the schedule one for federal. Which means there is no use for it whatsoever and that hasn’t changed and that’s not going to change for a while,” said Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage.
He noted how New Mexico’s new law puts banks in jeopardy because on the federal level, financial institutions cannot do business with entities selling the illicit drug, per federal law.
“Because they’re FDIC insured. So, they can’t do that. They’re not allowed to do that,” said Cage. “You want to legalize dope, smoke it, eat it. That’s great. The problem is it’s still illegal federally and it still has all these weird implications that we have to deal with.”
“Because our governor wanted this, and I have to wonder exactly why? Is it a money thing? It’s not definitely a money thing for our state economy, right? Is it a money thing for individuals? Or is it for votes? Maybe that’s what is. I don’t know. I’m astounded by it,” added Cage.
The new law is sure to add roadblocks for local law enforcers and leave financial institutions liable, something that Cage called the Governor putting “the cart before the horse.” It is unclear what the next step is for the Legislature in the legalization of narcotics, but if the recent legislative session proved anything, the Democrats have the votes to ram through just about anything they want.