New Mexico: Governor Vetoes Hemp Research Bills

Albuquerque, NM: Governor Susana Martinez has vetoed a pair of measures that sought to establish a hemp research program through the state’s Department of Agriculture.

The Governor gave no public explanation for the vetoes. The Governor has historically been an outspoken opponent of marijuana law reform efforts – receiving an ‘F’ grade on NORML’s 2016 Gubernatorial Scorecard.

The measures, House Bill 144 and Senate Bill 6, permitted the Department to license the cultivation of industrial hemp for research and development purposes. The bills’ language complied with federal provisions (Section 7606) of the 2014 Farm Act which explicitly permit states to license hemp cultivation as part of a state-sponsored research program.

Over 30 states have enacted legislation similarly permitting such programs or redefining hemp as an agricultural product.

Despite super-majority support for the bills in both the state House and Senate, it is not known whether lawmakers will seek to try and override the Governor’s veto. Presently, a third hemp research bill, House Bill 530, is pending in the Senate. Members of the House previously approved it by a vote of 65 to 1.

Separate statewide marijuana law reform legislation, Senate Bill 258, which decriminalizes possession penalties for up to one-half ounce of cannabis, has passed the Senate and is making its way through the House.

For more information, please contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.