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The original item was published from 4/12/2021 1:32:57 PM to 4/20/2021 12:00:01 AM.

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Quality of Life

Posted on: April 12, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Las Cruces City Council Applauds New Mexico Legislature for Approving Cannabis Legislation

City Hall view of the flags

A majority of the Las Cruces City Council who has publicly supported the creation of cannabis legislation to help boost the City’s economy is lauding the adoption of House Bill 2, the Cannabis Regulation Act, by the New Mexico Legislature.

A copy of the Cannabis Regulation Act can be downloaded here.

“The legalization of adult-use cannabis has been a long-time coming, and the majority of the City Council welcomes it as an opportunity to create jobs in our community and roll back the disproportional, harmful impacts of the criminalization of cannabis,” said Gabe Vasquez, who represents City Council District 3. “The emergence of this new industry will allow Las Cruces and Doña Ana County to excel in the production of cannabis, creating good-paying jobs in agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and the hospitality industry. We thank the New Mexico Legislature and the Governor for taking a monumental step toward diversifying our city and our state’s economy.”

“It’s a new era for New Mexico with the passage of the legalized cannabis legislation,” said Councilor Johana Bencomo, who represents City Council District 4. “I commend our state Legislature and Governor for prioritizing such important legislation that not only ensures our economy is more diversified for future generations but that it also corrects many of the wrongs caused by the failed war on drugs. I am excited that New Mexico has joined 16 other states in the growing movement to responsibly decriminalize recreational marijuana and doing so with a racial justice lens.”

“This is good for New Mexico and good for America,” added City Councilor Gill Sorg, who represents City Council District 5.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday, April 12 formally enacted adult-use cannabis legalization in New Mexico, signing into law an historic measure approved by the state Legislature after the governor called them into a special session for that purpose late last month.

The legalization of adult-use cannabis paves the way for the creation of a new economic driver in our state with the promise of creating thousands of good paying jobs for years to come,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We are going to increase consumer safety by creating a bona fide industry. We’re going to start righting past wrongs of this country’s failed war on drugs. And we’re going to break new ground in an industry that may well transform New Mexico’s economic future for the better.”

The bill was adopted March 31 during a Special Session of the New Mexico Legislature that will now make New Mexico one of a few states to create a new industry for cannabis sales. The legislation sets limitations on the sales and purchase of cannabis.

“This is a significant victory for New Mexico,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said in a prepared statement. “Workers will benefit from the opportunity to build careers in this new economy. Entrepreneurs will benefit from the opportunity to create lucrative new enterprises. The state and local governments will benefit from the additional revenue. Consumers will benefit from the standardization and regulation that comes with a bone fide industry. And those who have been harmed by the country’s failed war on drugs, disproportionately communities of color, will benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to pass low-level convictions.”

 In addition to limitations on sales and purchases of cannabis, the legislation also allows for: 

  • The establishment of the Cannabis Control Division of the state’s Regulation and Licensing Department, who will oversee compliance with the new law.
  • Providing licensure and permitting for cannabis sales.
  • Transferring licensing authority under the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act to the Cannabis Control Division.
  • Creating a Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee.
  • Authorizing the Regulation and Licensing Department to enter into intergovernmental agreements with Native American nations, tribes and pueblos.
  • Requiring training for permittees to conduct cannabis sales.
  • Enacting the Cannabis Tax Act.
  • Distributing a portion of the Cannabis Excise Tax to municipalities and counties.
  • Prescribing penalties for violations of the Cannabis Regulation Act, and;
  • Amending, repealing and enacting sections of state law related to the new legislation.

House Bill 2 was amended several times before it approved 22-15 by the state Senate and by a vote of 38-32 by the New Mexico House of Representatives. Significant changes to the legislation were made after sponsors of the bill introduced a version during this year’s regular legislative session, which ended March 20.

The amended House bill has new provisions, including sections aimed at preventing children and young adults 21-years old and younger from accessing cannabis, as well as more specific guidelines on licensing procedures.

New provisions of the bill prevent underage use of cannabis. Fines of as much as $10,000 are included for establishments that sell cannabis to anyone younger than 21. Business licenses could be suspended or revoked for selling cannabis to minors.

Additionally, cannabis businesses will not be permitted to advertise on television and radio and could not use cartoon characters or images of people who look younger than 21.

Adults 21-years old and older can grow their own plants for personal use. Individuals would be allowed to grow as many as six cannabis plants for personal use, or 12 plants for a household with more than one adult.

 The legislation will also establish a licensing system to allow businesses to manufacture, sell and transport cannabis, or to operate a cannabis testing or research laboratory. 

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