The Cannabis Regulation Act has passed the House & Senate and is headed to the governor
Santa Fe, N.M. – The legalization of adult-use cannabis in New Mexico is only one signature away from reality, following the House of Representatives’ concurrence last night with an amendment made in the Senate to House Bill 2: the Cannabis Regulation Act. The measure will now make its way to the desk of Governor Lujan Grisham, who has been supportive of cannabis legalization.
Establishing a responsible, tightly regulated system for the use, production, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products for adults 21 years and older, the Cannabis Regulation Act is sponsored by Reps. Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe), Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque), Senator Katy Duhigg (D-Albuquerque), and Senate Majority Whip Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque). The bill establishes a 12% excise tax on all cannabis sales and sets guidelines for licensure that prioritize diversity and equal opportunity.
Adult-use cannabis in New Mexico is projected to bring in $318 million in sales and $28.6 million in tax revenue in the first year alone, along with creating more than 11,000 new jobs.
The Senate amendment establishes a restriction that legislators cannot secure a commercial license for three years after the bill is enacted.
“This is a momentous victory for the state that will benefit New Mexicans for generations to come,” said Rep. Martínez. “The Cannabis Regulation Act not only establishes a multi-million dollar industry that will strengthen New Mexico’s economy, but it also takes into account smart measures that ensure equitability and social justice. I’m so thrilled that this long-sought and hard-fought dream will soon become a reality for our state.”
“New Mexico has always been at the forefront of innovation related to cannabis, from initial studies into the medical use of cannabis, to fighting the injustices caused by its criminalization,” said Rep. Romero. “That will continue with today’s passage of House Bill 2, a New Mexico-built solution that will get this economic game-changer and social justice correction measure off the ground and working for our state.”
“Legalizing cannabis in New Mexico is ultimately a matter of public health. When we regulate an industry, we can control the quality, protect consumers, and bring down the dangerous black market in our state,” said Rep. Armstrong. “This bill has been researched, written, and then rewritten to account for concerns of various stakeholders, leading to the robust, New Mexico-tailored, forward-thinking piece of legislation we passed today.”
According to recent polling, 74% of New Mexicans support the legalization of adult-use cannabis, and thanks to the tireless work by the bill’s current and past sponsors, advocates, and community members. House Bill 2, The Cannabis Regulation Act will regulate the sales of cannabis beginning no later than April 2022.
The legislation also assists New Mexicans who seek gainful employment but have a criminal record
Santa Fe, N.M. – Social justice legislation expunging criminal records for acts no longer illegal under the proposed Cannabis Regulation Act, and supporting reentry into employment for those with non-violent criminal records, passed the House of Representatives 41-28 today. The measure passed the Senate earlier today with a 23-13 vote and will now go to the governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 2: Expungement of Certain Criminal Records is sponsored by Representatives Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe) and Javier Martínez (D-Albuquerque), Senate Majority Whip Linda Lopez (D-Albuquerque), and Senators Katy Duhigg (D-Albuquerque), and Jerry Ortiz y Pino (D-Albuquerque). The bill contains two key criminal justice reforms:
Creating a procedure to expunge arrest and conviction records for conduct that would no longer be illegal under the Cannabis Regulation Act, as well as calling for a review of all persons currently or previously incarcerated for such acts for possible dismissal, expungement, or redesignation. This reform will help repair the damage of the failed ‘War on Drugs” and the criminalization of our communities for minor cannabis charges.
Rightly revising the currently short list of criminal records that cannot be considered in an application for public employment, licensure, or other authority to practice a trade, business or profession. Similar legislation in other states has been shown to improve employment opportunities for people with criminal records, without compromising public safety.
“By legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis, we are saying ‘enough’ to the harmful and devastating War on Drugs that has incarcerated and penalized thousands of New Mexicans for minor possession charges,” said Rep. Romero. “To ensure equity and social justice around legal cannabis, we must rightly provide a path to expungement for those convicted of acts no longer illegal under the Cannabis Regulation Act.”
“After decades of discriminating against our communities of color for minor cannabis offenses, we must ensure that those who would not be arrested today, do not continue to be incarcerated or held back by criminal records for acts that are no longer crimes,” said Rep. Martínez. “For those who have already served their time for offenses unrelated to cannabis, this bill also provides a reasonable pathway to gainful employment based on a fair vetting process, supporting them as they rehabilitate and contribute to society.”
Criminals with a history of violence or sentences for other crimes will still serve their time under this bill. Expungement, dismissal or redesignation under SB 2 are solely for minor cannabis offenses, and any sentencing for non-cannabis offenses under a case with multiple charges still holds.
Crimes that can no longer be considered for employment of licensure under SB 2 include records of arrest not followed by a valid conviction, convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, or pardoned, juvenile adjudications, or convictions for a crime that is not job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.
Members of the public can track the legislation of the 2021 Special Session on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings.
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