New Mexico’s current marijuana policies are defined by prohibition and have resulted in profound harms. Prohibition is the absence of control. Under prohibition, there is no oversight or legal control of the production, distribution, or sale of marijuana.
The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) advocates for allowing the possession and use of marijuana and hemp by adults, and for the New Mexico state legislature to create a regulatory system.
According to this survey, 69% of New Mexico residents support the legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults.
Taxing and regulating marijuana would create a predictable and significant revenue stream for our cash-strapped state. Millions of dollars of new revenue in New Mexico could go a long way towards funding Medicaid or drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
For the last three years DPA has been advocating at the state legislature for passage of a Constitutional Amendment allowing the possession, use, and sale of marijuana. In 2016 this measure made history when it was heard on the Senate Floor. It was narrowly defeated by a five vote margin. This coming legislative session, starting Jan 2017, we will again be working to pass legalization legislation.
In 2014, the City of Santa Fe decriminalized 1 ounce or less of marijuana and associated paraphernalia, meaning there is no jail time associated with possession. DPA and ProgressNow NM led this initiative.
On November 4, 2014, voters in Santa Fe County and Bernalillo County voiced overwhelming support for marijuana decriminalization of 1 ounce or less at a city, county and state level. While this did not change the current law, it is a vital step in ensuring elected officials know where New Mexicans stand on this issue.
What would decriminalization mean?
Decriminalizing marijuana in NM would:
Decriminalizing marijuana is also a priority at a state level. In 2013 and 2015 legislation to decriminalize 1 ounce or less of marijuana passed the House of Representatives and Senate respectively. However, the legislation has to pass both houses in the same year to be placed on the Governor’s desk. DPA will be advocating for this legislation again in 2017.
DPA, along with a group of dedicated patients, served as the leading policy advocacy organization to get New Mexico’s medical cannabis law passed. After seven years of lobbying, the NM legislature passed a bill, and Gov. Bill Richardson signed the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act into law in 2007.
In 2018 DPA chaired a statewide Medical Cannabis Accessibility and Affordability Task Force called for by the New Mexico Senate. The recommendations in the report set the stage for improving the program so that all New Mexicans are able to better access medical cannabis to alleviate their debilitating conditions.
New Mexico was the first state to license cannabis production at the state level, and became a national model. The medical cannabis program has grown steadily over the years and now serves more than 58,000 patients.
DPA continues to serve as a watchdog for the program and engages as necessary to ensure patients have access to medical cannabis and to hold the Department of Health accountable for meeting patient needs, statutory requirements and regulations.