Press Release

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Calls for a Special Session to Pass Cannabis Legalization

New Mexicans Have Another Chance to Make Sure Equity and Justice are Center to the Legislation

Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
[email protected]

Today, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called for a special session to consider cannabis legalization. The special session will start next Tuesday, March 30th at noon Mountain time.
In response to this, Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director for Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:

"New Mexicans may not have to wait much longer to reap the benefits and justice cannabis legalization will provide—especially to Hispanic/Latinx, Black, Native and Indigenous communities, who have been disproportionately impacted by prohibition.  

We have been working around the clock to ensure that the racial justice and equity provisions, public health priorities, and medical cannabis patient protections will be included in the special session cannabis legalization package.  New Mexicans are 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.”

As New Mexico considers the end of cannabis prohibition, the Drug Policy Alliance believes that legislation that moves forward in the special session should be comprehensive and contain these key provisions:

  • Equity in the new marketplace by allowing individuals with prior cannabis convictions to work and be licensed in the new industry 
  • Microbusiness licensing, establishing an opportunity for small New Mexico businesses to enter the marketplace.
  • Procedures that promote and encourage full participation in the cannabis industry by representatives of communities that have been disproportionately harmed by rates of arrest through the enforcement of cannabis prohibitions in law and policy, rural communities likely to be impacted by cannabis production and agricultural producers from economically disadvantaged communities 
  • Protections for the use of cannabis, including prohibiting police from stopping and searching an individual or vehicle based on the smell of cannabis alone, no denial of public benefits or health care based on cannabis use or a positive cannabis drug test or removing or placement into state custody of a child; denial of custody or visitation; and, presumption of neglect of child endangerment based on the use of cannabis alone.
  • Medical cannabis patient protections by eliminating GRT on medical cannabis sales and ensuring adequate supply of medicine.
  • Personal cultivation (home grow) of a small number of plants for recreational use.

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. 

Marijuana Legalization and Regulation
New Mexico