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New Mexico Democrats Have High Hopes for Marijuana Legalization

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New Mexico Democrats plan to have an initiative in the next general election to legalize recreational marijuana. The legislature has to get the bill through first, then the measure can go up for public vote. A bill was introduced at a special session this past September, but it didn’t get a vote.

If the committee approves the measure, it’s a small win for the measure, Daily Lobo reports. Bills introduced in recent years haven’t received the support they’ve needed to get to a public vote. What’s changed in New Mexico? The State House and Senate are now a Democratic majority.

Representative Javier Martinez said, “I suspect we’ll get out of committee.”

As long as a majority of legislative house members support the new recreational marijuana amendment, it won’t have to go to the Governor’s office first. It will be able to go right to voters for approval.

Ortiz y Pino said, “If we get his on the ballot, it’s going to pass.”

Polls conducted in October show 61-percent voter support of legal recreational marijuana for adults ages 21 and older. Previous attempts have failed, but the general attitude toward marijuana throughout the country is shifting.

Martinez said, “As our understanding of cannabis has expanded, particularly the impact criminalizing has on communities of color, it’s clear it’s time to be proactive on something far less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco.”

Lawmakers also believe that legal recreational marijuana will help stabilize and boost the state’s economy by opening up more job opportunities and bringing much needed tax dollars into the state. It is projected that recreational marijuana could create up to 11,400 jobs in the state and $412.5-million in revenue during the first year alone.

Martinez closed his commentary by saying, “I don’t know I can promise we’ll get it done this year.” He’s optimistic but isn’t making any promises – it’s now in the hands of the state House and Senate.