New Mexico House Health and Human Services Committee Passes Cannabis Legalization Bill that Centers Social Justice

Press Release February 15, 2021
Media Contact

Contact:
Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
[email protected]

Santa Fe, NM – With the New Mexico House and Human Services Committee Voting in Favor of Cannabis Legalization today, Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director for Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:
 
“Cannabis legalization moves forward in New Mexico after the House Health Committee votes in favor (7-4) of advancing HB 12 to the House Tax Committee. House Bill 17, a similar bill but which did not include social justice and equity provisions that are necessary to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs, was tabled.  
 
Legalization must be responsive to the lives of New Mexicans, not solely business interests, and that means centering social justice, as the House Bill 12 introduced by Representative Martinez, Representative Andrea Romero and Representative Deborah Armstrong does.
 
New Mexicans are absolutely ready to see marijuana legalization become a reality in the state, but they have made it clear that repairing the damage done by the drug war is non-negotiable. Any legislation considered this session must reinvest back into communities most harmed by drug prohibition, particularly Hispanic/Latino, Black and Native populations in New Mexico.”

As New Mexico considers the end of cannabis prohibition, any legislation that moves forward in New Mexico should be comprehensive and contain these key provisions:

Background
In December, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment & Expungement (MORE) Act that frames cannabis reform as a racial justice and equity mandate.  The MORE Act was the first piece of comprehensive cannabis reform legislation that decriminalizes marijuana—and the only one centered in reparative justice—to pass either chamber of Congress.  Arizona and New Jersey passed legalization proposals this past year that center equity and racial justice as well, with New York considering similar legislation in their current session.

Nearly three out of four New Mexicans approve of cannabis legalization with provisions in place to ensure tax revenue is reinvested back into communities, including 94% of Democrats, 93% of Independents and 46% of Republicans. 

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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