New Mexico House Passes Cannabis Legalization Bill

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Residents in the state of New Mexico are one step closer to reasonable, safe access to cannabis. That’s because today state lawmakers voted in favor of a legalization bill.

State lawmakers seem to have based their bill on the successes and issues of legalization measures in other states. The fact that legalization has often served to increase demand for cannabis on the unregulated, underground market seems to have made an impact. Either that, or state lawmakers are incredibly keen to ensure that the government gets its cut of cannabis excise and sales taxes.

That’s because this bill, if passed, would only make it legal to possess cannabis if you buy it from a special store. Specifically, there will be state-run dispensaries if the bill passes as-is. Lawmakers apparently hope this will keep dispensaries from popping up around the state. The only loophole for entrepreneurs hoping to start a cannabis shop will be rural areas. Private businesses can potentially sell cannabis under this law if there isn’t a state-run dispensary within 25 miles.

Consumers could legally have up to an ounce of cannabis in their possession, but only if they retain the receipt that shows they bought it at a licensed, state-run store. If the Senate and the governor both sign off on the bill, the end result could cannabis dispensaries opening in New Mexico by July of 2020. There is also a Senate bill for legalization that has made it out of committee.

Legalization would certainly benefit the people of New Mexico, but this law doesn’t allow for private cultivation and significantly cuts down on the economic benefits of cannabis shops by denying private citizens the right to start small businesses. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle view this bill with skepticism, so we’ll just have to wait and see how the Senate feels.

For previous Ladybud articles about New Mexico, click here.