New Mexico: Governor to Sign Adult-Use Legalization Law

Santa Fe, NM: Members of the House and Senate advanced legislation to the Governor late Wednesday night legalizing the adult-use marijuana market and expunging the criminal records of those convicted of low-level cannabis offenses.

The adult-use measure (House Bill 2) permits those ages 21 and older to legally purchase up to two ounces of marijuana and/or up to 16 grams of cannabis extract from licensed retailers. It also permits adults to home-cultivate up to six mature plants for their own personal use. Retail sales would begin by April 2022.

The expungement measure (Senate Bill 2) stipulates that those with past convictions for offenses made legal under this act are eligible for automatic expungement of their records. Those currently incarcerated for such offenses are eligible for a dismissal of their sentence.

The measures now await action from Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is expected to sign them into law imminently. Both measures were finalized during a special legislative session called for by the Governor. In a statement, Gov. Lujan Grisham said: “This is a significant victory for New Mexico. 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 bona fide industry. And those who have been harmed by this country’s failed war on drugs, disproportionately communities of color, will benefit from our state’s smart, fair and equitable new approach to past low-level convictions.”

Commenting on the legislature’s passage of the bills, NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf said: “This is a day to celebrate! New Mexico will greatly benefit from this new revenue stream and the creation of thousands of jobs. Most notably though, it will spare thousands of otherwise law-abiding residents from arrest and a criminal record, and it will help provide relief to many who are suffering from the stigma and other collateral consequences associated with a prior marijuana conviction.”

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri added: “New Mexico joins an ever-growing list of states that have realized the failures of marijuana prohibition and the harms it brings to their communities and citizens. The American people are demanding an end to prohibitionist policies that have wreaked havoc on communities of color, squandered countless millions in taxpayer dollars, and wasted limited judicial and law enforcement resources on criminalizing otherwise law-abiding individuals for possession of a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.”

Earlier this week, the Governor signed legislation into law eliminating fines for the possession of cannabis by a minor and modifying the requirement for community service to a maximum of 48 hours.

For more information, contact Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Manager.