Not all Democrats in New Mexico agree on recreational marijuana. Proposals to legalize, regulate and tax recreational marijuana have stalled in the New Mexico Senate Committee. The reason for the delay – legal concerns.
Some Democrats are generally opposed to recreational marijuana, according to Albuquerque Journal. Proposals are expected to be worked again and reintroduced for the next legislative session. Senator Clemente Sanches is just one Senator that opposes legal recreational marijuana.
Sanchez said, “Morally, I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do. I’ll vote against it from the beginning.”
When the reworked proposal is brought to light again, Senator Sanchez, who is the chairman of the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee, will still oppose it. This committee would need to hear the bill and approve it before it can be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sanchez’s vote, plus 3 Republicans who are likely to oppose legal recreational marijuana, can block measures from moving forward, regardless of a democrat majority in the state.
All hope isn’t lost in New Mexico though. There are other bills pending that could still make their way through the necessary channels.
Emily Kaltenbach of New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance said, “This was really our intent this legislative session, to hear from elected officials what’s palatable and what’s not. We want to get as far as possible and have as much debate as possible.”
If New Mexico does legalize recreational marijuana, it could bring the state $60-million in revenue. This is much needed revenue for several struggling cities. The state would also see an increase in tourism.
Senator McSorley said, “Every eastern (New Mexico) border county will decry the devil of marijuana and take every penny they can get. It would be, ‘Come for horse-racing, casinos and cannabis.’”
Senate Bill 278, introduced by Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino still has a chance. The bill would require a 15-percent tax on sales. One of the hurdles it needs to cross is stopping teens from using fake ID cards to purchase marijuana – which is one of the legal concerns holding up the bill’s progress. Other legal concerns regarding penalties for breaking the laws of the potentially new regulations also need to be put in place.