New Mexico adult-use cannabis bill moves forward

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Recreational marijuana businesses would be legal in all municipalities and counties in New Mexico under a Democrat-backed bill that has been narrowly approved by a Senate committee.

The Senate Public Affairs Committee voted 4-3 on the measure, which also would subsidize the state’s existing medical marijuana program.

If the bill becomes law, each recreational marijuana store also would need to offer medical cannabis to qualified customers.

In an attempt to combat New Mexico’s illicit marijuana market, the first draft of the bill from Democratic Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque would also override local governments that don’t welcome the industry.

The measure is supported by Ben Lewinger, executive director of the New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.

The authors of the legislation say the proposed bill responds to concerns about affordability and access to medical marijuana in states including Oregon that have authorized recreational marijuana.

If passed, New Mexico would be the first state to require medical cannabis sales at all marijuana stores, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Last year, a bipartisan legalization bill stalled in the Senate after being overwhelmingly approved by the House.

The new initiative is similar to recommendations made by a legalization policy task force assembled by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and led by Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.

– Associated Press