Cannabis Legalized in New Mexico
The governor has signed into law cannabis legalization, regulation & expungement bills
Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, legislation legalizing and regulating the use, production, and sale of cannabis in New Mexico was signed into law by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, along with a complementary measure expunging the criminal records of those with minor cannabis charges.
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), Special Session House Bill 2: The Cannabis Regulation Act establishes a responsible, tightly regulated system for the use, production, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products for adults 21 years and older. The bill establishes a 12% excise tax on all cannabis sales and sets guidelines for licensure that prioritize diversity and equal opportunity.
The corresponding Special Session Senate Bill 2: Expungement of Certain Criminal Records was 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). This measure expunges criminal records for acts no longer illegal under the Cannabis Regulation Act and supports reentry into employment for those with non-violent criminal records.
“Today, New Mexico seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a multi-million industry with a framework that’s right for our state and will benefit New Mexicans for generations to come,” said Rep. Martínez, lead sponsor of HB2 and co-sponsor of SB2. “Not only are we launching a burgeoning industry that will strengthen our economy, create jobs and generate tax dollars, but we are doing so in an equitable way that will curb the illicit market and undo some damage of the failed War on Drugs.”
“For decades, our communities of color have been discriminated against for minor cannabis offenses, so 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. Romero sponsor of both HB2 and SB2. “By ensuring equity and social justice in our cannabis legalization, we are saying ‘enough’ to the devastating ‘War on Drugs’ that overincarcerated and over penalized thousands of New Mexicans.”
“The legalization of cannabis is ultimately a public health measure. When we regulate the industry, we can control the product quality, protect consumers, and bring down the dangerous illicit market in our state,” said HB2 sponsor Rep. Armstrong. “This law includes dozens of necessary safeguards to protect our youth, ensure adequate supply for the medical program, and will bring in additional funds for programs, services, and research to support the health and wellbeing of New Mexicans.”
New Mexico will be the 18th state, along with D.C., to legalize adult-use cannabis, with several other states still likely to take action this year. The industry 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 Cannabis Regulation Act will regulate the sales of cannabis beginning no later than April 2022. Under SB 2, reviews of currently incarcerated individuals must be done within 30 days of the effective bill date, and prior conviction reviews must happen by Jan. 1, 2022.