New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a bill to allow industrial hemp research for a second time. There has been strong bipartisan support for the bill as lawmakers agree that it would have created great business opportunities for New Mexico farmers.
The bill cleared the Senate in a 37 – 2 vote and the House with a 58 – 8 vote, according to Santa Fe New Mexican. Two years ago, Senator Cisco McSorley introduced a similar bill, with the same results. Just three days after the bill passed the state’s legislative process, the governor vetoed the bill.
McSorley said, “This is the difference between advocating between a 1980s drug war policy and the ability to govern a 21st century state. If she wants to be a 1980s drug warrior, I’ll be happy when she leaves the state and is no longer governor.”
The governor’s term in office ends in 2018. The previous veto came with one reason being the inability of police officers to establish the difference between hemp and marijuana.
This time, however, McSorley’s bill included provisions to train law enforcement officers to know how to tell the two plants apart.
He said, “We have farmers in desperate need of cash crops that use little water. I feel bad for the farmers because they are the ones that are going to suffer.”
New Mexico is one of only 18 states that do not have hemp research legislation in place. There is, however, the chance that lawmakers may attempt to override the governor’s veto.
McSorley said, “We’ll have to wait and see. She has her thumb pretty hard on some members of the Republican caucuses.”
There was great Republican support for McSorley’s bill this time around, so it may be difficult for the governor to regain that support if an attempt to overturn the veto is made.