New Mexico Senate Committee Passes Marijuana Legalization

NEW MEXICO:   Yesterday, for the first time in history, a legislative committee voted in favor of taxing and regulating marijuana in New Mexico.  On a vote of 5-4 New Mexico State Senator Ortiz y Pino’s (D-12-Bernalillo) Senate Joint Resolution 2 (SJR2) passed the Senate Rules Committee.

SJR2 would allow for the possession and personal use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age and older and for the regulation of the production, sale and taxation of marijuana in New Mexico.

“Today’s vote sets in motion the process to put the issue on a 2016 statewide ballot for voters,” said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director with the Drug Policy Alliance.  “Marijuana prohibition in New Mexico has clearly failed. It hasn’t reduced use and instead has resulted in the criminalization of people, gross racial disparities, and enormous fiscal waste. Senator Ortiz y Pino’s resolution will allow our legislature rethink how we can enhance the health and safety of all New Mexicans through sensible reforms.”

A 2013 state poll conducted by Research and Polling found a majority of New Mexico’s registered voters (52 percent) say they support legalizing marijuana for adults, including 50 percent of independents and 60 percent of parents with children under the age of 18.  Nearly 40 percent of voters say their senator or representative’s position on the issue would not make a difference in how they vote with 31 percent of voters saying they would be more likely to vote for their legislator if they supported reducing penalties or taxing and regulating marijuana.