mcloudyn.png
Friday August 7th, 2020 12:37AM

New Mexico bid for recreational marijuana is all but doomed

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's bid to become the 12th U.S. state to legalize recreational use of marijuana abruptly fell flat after state senators in a legislature dominated by Democrats rejected a bill that would have forced permission for sales in all of the state's cities and towns.

In a late-night committee vote Wednesday, two Democratic senators joined with Republicans in a 6-4 vote to halt the legalization bill that would have also expunged past marijuana convictions and helped the state's existing medical cannabis program with tax breaks and patient subsidies.

It marked the second failure by legalization proponents to achieve their goal in New Mexico since Democrats took control in 2018 of the governor's office from Republicans and expanded their legislative majority.

The vote all but doomed a bill born from yearlong legalization preparation effort by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham — and illustrated the difficulties of using the legislative process to fully legalizing marijuana.

Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C., have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use. Michigan and Illinois are the most recent of 11 states to OK recreational sales but only Illinois and Vermont have legalized it through their legislatures. The rest of the recreational sales for states have come via direct voter approval, which New Mexico only allows for amendments to the state constitution.

Lujan Grisham has embraced legalization efforts as her administration strives to attract and build new industries in a state with heavy economic dependence on oil production that leads to boom and bust cycles.

Early last year, she put a trusted ally — Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis — in charge of a traveling task force that painstakingly outlined a regulatory framework to address public concerns about recreational cannabis and intoxicated driving, workplace safety and how to deny access to youths.

But the task force's work didn't overcome opposition in some parts of the state and some lawmakers said they were given little time to digest an amended 186-page bill spelling out how sales would work. Moving complex bills through the Legislature is tough because unsalaried lawmakers have only 30 days to conduct this year's legislative session.

Democratic Judiciary committee chairman Joseph Cervantes objected to licensing provisions for marijuana businesses that required an agreement with organized labor and the granting of business licenses to people with past drug convictions including distribution offenses.

And Republican Sen. Ron Griggs said there was criticism of the requirement that counties, cities and towns allow recreational marijuana sales where local alcohol sales can be prohibited and two counties were “dry” — banning alcohol sales — until just last year.

Rep. Paul Bandy, also a Republican, said there was significant resistance to legalization in his district that borders Colorado and its pioneering recreational pot economy.

“I think the progressives realized that they probably overreached in an election year,” he said.

The New Mexico bill called for a 9% state excise tax on marijuana sales to help fund local law enforcement, education against driving under the influence and substance abuse treatment.

A portion of excise tax proceeds from marijuana sales would have gone toward social justice causes designed to help communities negatively and disproportionately affected by past federal drug policies. Many past pot convictions that did not involve trafficking would have been automatically expunged.

The failure to move the bill forward came after a bipartisan measure last year for recreational cannabis sales at state-owned stores stalled despite backing from three Republican state senators.

This year's bill called for a private-sector marijuana sales framework that would have required medical cannabis sales at all dispensaries.

The halt to the legalization bill put on hold plans by retired teacher and aspiring marijuana farmer Bob Rogers. He wanted to start a commercial marijuana greenhouse on his 160-acre (65-hectare) ranch near the state line with Texas.

Rogers already grows medical cannabis for his own consumption under a state personal production license to treat diagnosed chronic pain in an injured leg. He had hoped to lure one or both of his adult sons back to New Mexico from New York and California to help run the business.

“I’m proud to be here and looking forward to growing weed if the state ever gives us the chance,” he said.

Despite the vote against the bill and almost no chance of it being revived during the current legislative session, Lujan Grisham said in a statement that “legalized recreational cannabis in New Mexico is inevitable."

“The people of New Mexico have said they want it. A diversified state economy demands it,” she said.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
New Mexico bid for recreational marijuana is all but doomed
New Mexico's bid to become the 12th U.S. state to legalize recreational use of marijuana abruptly fell flat after state senators in a Legislature dominated by Democrats rejected a bill that would have forced permission for sales in all of the state's cities and towns
5:37PM ( 3 minutes ago )
Nevada's Culinary Union will not endorse in Democratic race
The Culinary Union, the most influential union in Nevada politics, has decided to stay out of the state's Democratic presidential caucuses
5:23PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Limbaugh draws bipartisan criticism for Buttigieg remarks
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is drawing bipartisan criticism for saying the country won't elect openly gay Democrat Pete Buttigieg because it's not ready for a president who 'loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage
5:04PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump says he might keep others from listening in on calls
President Donald Trump says he might end the long-running White House practice of letting administration officials and staffers listen in on presidential calls with foreign leaders
4:55PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Limbaugh draws bipartisan condemnation for Buttigieg remarks
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is drawing bipartisan criticism for saying the country won't elect openly gay Democrat Pete Buttigieg because it's not ready for a president who 'loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage
4:53PM ( 47 minutes ago )
Trump to transfer $3.8B from military to fund his wall
The Pentagon is slashing $3.8 billion in recently passed military funding to finance construction of the president's long-sought U.S.-Mexico border wall
4:48PM ( 52 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Trump Fed nominee Shelton faces skepticism at Senate hearing
One of President Donald Trump's nominees for the Federal Reserve came under sharp questioning from senators over her unorthodox economic views, including from two Republicans whose doubts about her nomination could imperil it
3:17PM ( 2 hours ago )
Senate acts to restrain Trump's military powers against Iran
The Senate has approved a bipartisan measure limiting President Donald Trump's authority to launch military operations against Iran
2:11PM ( 3 hours ago )
Warren raised $6M since Iowa, hasn't discussed dropping out
Elizabeth Warren says she's raised about $6 million from online donors since last week's Iowa caucus, fueled by people who want to see her stay in the Democratic presidential primary despite an underwhelming performance there and in New Hampshire
1:54PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
US stocks edge mostly lower after China virus cases spike
Stocks are ending a wobbly day mostly lower as investors turn cautious following news of a surge in cases of the new virus in China
4:55PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Weinstein lawyer: Prosecutors have a 'tale,' not a case
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer has told jurors that prosecutors in the rape case against him acted like moviemakers and conjured up a world where women aren't responsible for how they interact with men
4:53PM ( 47 minutes ago )
South Africa seeks more renewable energy amid power cuts
South Africa’s president says the coal-dependent country will turn to more renewable energy as one way to help ease power cuts that have “severely set back” efforts to rebuild the weak economy
3:41PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
US stocks wobble mostly higher after virus cases spike
Major U.S. stock indexes are wobbling mostly higher in afternoon trading Thursday after China reported a spike in cases of the new virus that threatens to crimp economic growth and hurt businesses worldwide
2:18PM ( 3 hours ago )
Buyers face more competition amid shortage of home listings
Americans shopping for a home this spring may face more competition than they have in years
2:01PM ( 3 hours ago )
Outbreak and uncertainty; virus challenges global companies
The economic toll of China's viral outbreak continues to mount for corporations based in and outside of the country as factories are shuttered and the lives of their millions of Chinese customers are altered
1:57PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Nevada's Culinary Union will not endorse in Democratic race
The Culinary Union, the most influential union in Nevada politics, has decided to stay out of the state's Democratic presidential caucuses
5:23PM ( 18 minutes ago )
In win for Amazon, judge freezes work on Pentagon contract
A federal court has ordered the Pentagon to temporarily halt work with Microsoft on a $10 billion military cloud contract that Amazon was initially favored to win
5:05PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Limbaugh draws bipartisan criticism for Buttigieg remarks
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is drawing bipartisan criticism for saying the country won't elect openly gay Democrat Pete Buttigieg because it's not ready for a president who 'loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage
5:04PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Sticking to script: Bregman, Astros discuss sign stealing
Alex Bregman and other members of the Houston Astros have spoken at spring training about the sign-stealing scheme they used during their 2017 run to a World Series title and again the next season
4:59PM ( 41 minutes ago )
New exhibit examines ballet's lasting influence on fashion
A crowning jewel of the new exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology is a feathered white tutu
4:59PM ( 42 minutes ago )