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New Mexico just legalized marijuana

It’s the 17th state to legalize marijuana.

By German Lopez

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making her state the 17th in the country to legalize marijuana.

Under the law, adults 21 and older will be able to use and grow marijuana for recreational purposes. The state will launch a legal, regulated market, expected to start in 2022, with cannabis products taxed at levels beyond the state’s sales tax. Another measure will let people with past marijuana convictions expunge their records, and make people currently serving a punishment for a marijuana-related crime eligible for resentencing.

Lujan Grisham has worked hard for legalization over the past few years, calling a special session of the legislature in late March to push lawmakers to get a legal cannabis bill to her desk. After a quick but chaotic back-and-forth, the state’s House and Senate agreed to the legislation that Lujan Grisham has now signed into law.

New Mexico had already legalized marijuana for medical purposes, going back to 2007. The new law expands legalization to recreational use.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. But starting with former President Barack Obama’s administration, the federal government has, in general, allowed states to legalize cannabis with minimal federal interference.

With New Mexico’s law, 17 states and Washington, DC, have now legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, although DC doesn’t allow recreational sales. (South Dakota voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in November, but that measure’s future is uncertain, as it’s caught up in legal battles.)

Supporters of legalization argue that it eliminates the harms of marijuana prohibition: the hundreds of thousands of arrests around the US, the racial disparities behind those arrests, and the billions of dollars that flow from the black market for illicit marijuana to drug cartels that then use the money for violent operations around the world. All of this, legalization advocates say, will outweigh any of the potential downsides — such as increased cannabis use — that might come with legalization.

Opponents, meanwhile, claim that legalization will create a huge marijuana industry that will market the drug irresponsibly. They point to America’s experiences with the alcohol and tobacco industries in particular, which have built their financial empires in large part on the backs of the heaviest consumers of their products. And they argue ending prohibition could result in far more people using pot, potentially leading to unforeseen negative health consequences.

At least in New Mexico, supporters of legalization have come out on top.

Article source VOX

New Mexico governor signs bill to legalize recreational pot

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed legislation that will legalize recreational marijuana

By MORGAN LEE Associated Press

The governor, a Democrat, has supported marijuana reform as a way to create jobs and shore up state revenue.

On Monday, she also touched on concerns about the harm inflicted on racial and ethnic minorities by drug criminalization and tough policing, noting that the new law could free about 100 from prison and expunge criminal records for thousands of residents.

“It is good for workers. It is good for entrepreneurs. It is good for consumers,” she said of legalization. “And it brings about social justice in ways in which we have been talking about and advocating for, for decades.”

The signed bill gives the governor a strong hand in oversight of recreational marijuana through her appointed superintendent of the Regulation and Licensing Department.

Agency Superintendent Linda Trujillo said people age 21 and over will be allowed start growing marijuana at home and possess up to 2 ounces (56 grams) of cannabis outside their homes starting on June 29.

Recreational cannabis sales start next year by April 1 at state-licensed dispensaries.

Lujan Grisham highlighted that licensed cannabis farmers can begin scaling up cultivation several months ahead of opening day in efforts to keep pace with demands when sales begin.

New Mexico voters ousted ardent opponents of legalization from the state Senate in the 2020 Democratic primary, opening the way for recreational marijuana.

The governor called a special legislative session to tackle the issue in late March after legalization efforts faltered.

Legislators rallied behind a legalization framework from state Rep. Javier Martínez of Albuquerque that provides automated procedures for expunging past pot convictions.

“I grew up along the border. I’ve seen what the war on drugs has done,” Martinez said. “I’m proud that New Mexico — little old New Mexico — has done its part to tell the federal government once and for all to legalize cannabis for the people.”

Republican lawmakers were notably absent from the signing ceremony, though GOP state Sen. Cliff Pirtle was credited with influencing the outcome through a competing bill that emphasized free markets and public safety.

Regulators in early legalization states have been whipsawed by initial fluctuations in marijuana supplies and prices, amid concerns about child access and workplace and roadway safety.

In New Mexico, regulators will be able to put a cap on marijuana cultivation quantities for years to come and impose a per-plant state fee of up to $50 a year. The new law mandates child-proof packaging and defers to employers on whether workers can indulge in marijuana.

At the same time, home marijuana growers will be allowed to grow up to six plants per person, or 12 per household. The scent of marijuana will no longer be grounds for police searches.

Local governments can’t prohibit marijuana businesses from setting up shop. They can have a say through zoning about the location and hours of operation.

Medical marijuana dispensaries already are staking out territory in small towns near the border with Texas — a major potential market for marijuana tourism. It remains illegal to transport marijuana across state lines.

Challenges await state regulators as they prepare to accept applications for a variety of marijuana business licenses as soon as September. The state will license product testing labs, industrial operations that grow, refine, package and sell cannabis products and craft marijuana “microbusiness” that grow only up to 200 plants.

Rules also are due by the start of 2022 on product safety, minimum qualifications for a marijuana business license and standards for vetting and training “cannabis servers” — who must hold a state permit and be 21 or older.

The state will levy an excise tax on recreational pot sales that starts at 12% and rises over time to 18%, on top of current taxes on sales.

All taxes will be waived on medical marijuana. Decisions are still pending about exactly how much marijuana the industry must set aside for qualified medical cannabis patients.

Enrollment in the state’s existing medical marijuana program climbed in March to more than 112,000 patients — about 5% of the state’s population of 2.1 million residents.

The approved legislation allows the state to forge agreements with Native American tribal governments that could open the marijuana industry to tribal enterprises.

Article source ABC News

Governor of New Mexico signs cannabis legalization bill (April 12th 2021)

New Mexico Gov. Signs Cannabis Legalization Bill

by Graham Abbott

New Mexico’s governor signed two bills this afternoon to legalize adult-use cannabis and expunge some cannabis-related criminal records.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) has signed the pair of cannabis reform bills lawmakers sent to her desk last week. Together, the legislation legalizes adult-use cannabis and automatically expunges some cannabis-related criminal records for crimes that would no longer be illegal under the new law.

Under the new rules, adults in New Mexico aged 21 or older are allowed to possess up to two ounces of cannabis and 16 grams of extract from a licensed manufacturer and can grow up to six cannabis plants at home. Adult-use cannabis retailers are set to open by April 2022. Cannabis sales in the state will initially be taxed at 12% but that rate will eventually rise to 18%, and cannabis businesses will face gross receipt taxes of between 5% and 9%.

The Department of Public Safety recently released numbers suggesting the automatic expungement language could affect more than 150,000 New Mexico residents, according to the SF Reporter.

“New Mexico will greatly benefit from this new revenue stream and the creation of thousands of jobs. Most notably though, legalization will spare thousands of otherwise law-abiding residents from arrest and a criminal record, and the state’s new expungement law will help provide relief to many who are suffering from the stigma and other collateral consequences associated with a prior marijuana conviction.” — NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf, in a statement

New Mexico‘s legislative session had ended March 30 with no action on the popular cannabis issue but Gov. Grisham called lawmakers back for a special session to reach a legalization deal.

New Mexico is the fourth state to legalize cannabis in 2021 — following New Jersey, New York, and Virginia — and the 18th U.S. state overall to legalize.

Article source Ganjapreneur

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