New Mexicans who are following the decision of the New Mexico legislature to attempt to legalize recreational cannabis use now have plenty of reading material. The legislature has introduced four legalization laws, two of which are identical: one for adults 21 years and older and one for persons 18 and older.
All the bills have the same general objective.
What used to be a binary issue is now a nuanced issue, and advocates have a variety of priorities as it approaches reality. The adoption of one of the bills is not yet a guarantee, but given the number of different bills and their different objectives, they are likely to all be merged into a final bill.
Just six years ago, a bill to legalize cannabis, backed by a Democrat, was passed by five committees and never considered by the first chamber. This year, lawmakers were able to shift their concerns to whether the state should allow legal cultivation of cannabis in their own state and how its medical cannabis program will remain intact. The first to back HB 12, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Act, is the legalization of home-grown cannabis for adults over 21, which has distinguished many from the other proposals.
Sponsored by Rep. Jose Martinez-Romero, D-Santa Fe, and Sen. David Martinez, R-Albuquerque, it would allow people to grow up to six mature plants at home. So far, HB 12 is the only bill that includes housing benefit for communities disproportionately affected by state and federal drug policies.