New Mexico Legislature Continues to Push Forward Cannabis Legalization Bill that Centers Social Justice

Press Release March 9, 2021
Media Contact

Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
[email protected]

Santa Fe, NM – With the Senate Tax, Business and Transportation Committee Voting in Favor of Cannabis Legalization, Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director for Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:
“House Bill 12, the only cannabis legislation centered in social justice—putting New Mexico families before big business—emerged as a favored bill in the Senate, rightly indicating the state’s priorities for legalization. Of the amendments made to the bill in the Tax Committee was one that increases the plant count for microbusiness licenses, which will inevitably lead to a more equitable and diverse marketplace and encourage local small businesses involvement in the industry.   

With only one more committee to vote on the measure before the full Senate takes up the bill, cannabis legalization in New Mexico has a clear path to the Governor’s desk.  

And though SB 288—another legalization bill that does not include any social justice and equity provisions or public health protections, and continues to perpetuate the criminalization of New Mexicans—was also passed out of committee, New Mexicans have made it abundantly clear that, while they are excited to make marijuana legalization a reality in the state, repairing the damage done by the drug war is non-negotiable.”

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:

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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