Sweeping reform of New Mexico’s liquor laws, which has been endorsed by a majority of the Las Cruces City Council, has been adopted by the New Mexico Legislature and was signed into law Wednesday, March 17, 2021 by Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham.
“This is a huge win for our local mom-and-pop restaurants and for our local economy. This has been one of my priorities on the City Council, which is to help level the playing field between small business owners and multinational corporations and franchisees,” said City Councilor Gabe Vasquez, who serves Council District 3. “The reform of our state's liquor licensing system will provide more opportunity to build local wealth and will help stop the practice of the unfair hoarding of liquor licenses in our community. This is a win for restaurant owners during a time when they need all the help they can get.
"The City of Las Cruces is grateful for our state legislators who helped create and shepherd this legislation and to Gov. Lujan Grisham for signing it.”
After significant revisions in both chambers of the New Mexico Legislature the provisions of House Bill 255 include:
- Creation of new tiers of liquor licenses for restaurants. Restaurants with beer and wine licenses will be able to sell New Mexico-distilled spirits.
- Provide for home delivery of alcohol as a means of creating a new revenue stream for hard-hit food and drink establishments in New Mexico. The alcohol delivery permits can be issued to retailers, dispensers, craft distillers, winegrowers, small brewers, and restaurants that already have liquor licenses. Identification checks will be mandatory for deliveries.
- New equity and opportunity for New Mexico’s liquor licensing process, making licenses more affordable and accessible overall, while providing for a significant tax deduction among other protections for existing liquor license holders, in recognition of their investment.
- The bill will also lift the restrictions on alcohol sales at stores before 11 a.m. Sundays.
- Prohibits the sale of miniature bottles of liquor for off-site consumption.
The legislation also stipulates the New Mexico Department of Health will be directed to conduct a study on the effects of alcohol delivery in the state in several years.