Dear Editor:

As we approach the halfway point of the 2019 legislative session, more than 1,200 bills have been introduced but the Cannabis Regulation Act, HB356, is getting more attention than most.

The Association of Commerce and Industry has not taken a position regarding legalization of adult cannabis use but we cannot support the Cannabis Regulation Act as it is written due to serious concerns over workplace safety. ACI testified against the bill’s incomplete language at a House Health and Human Services Committee hearing on Saturday, along with other business groups. We continue to work with the bill sponsors to get workplace protections added to the bill.

The bill would legalize cannabis as a recreational drug by eliminating the penalties associated with it. However, the current language does not allow employers to create a safe environment and it restricts their ability to enforce drug-free workplace policies.

This would create challenges for employers who value drug-free and safe workplaces because they would not be able to enforce workplace safety rules. Other states have introduced language that can protect employees and employers.

Jobs Package Bills Update
This year, ACI is supporting an entire armada of bills that focus on job creation and quality-of-life measures in the state. Our New Mexico’s Jobs Package bills support economic development, workforce training and more.

A bi-partisan tax reform bill, SB129, is moving through the committee process this week. On Monday, a committee substitution was given a Do Pass recommendation by the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee. The bill is designed to improve fairness and transparency in tax disputes.

All of the Jobs Package bills have been heard in committees and are moving through the legislative process.

We are, however, paying close attention to several other measures that can impact the state’s business community, including efforts to raise the minimum wage and HB206, the environmental review act.