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New Mexico governor signs bill legalizing recreational marijuana

Legislation also expunges some low-level cannabis convictions
Jason Little, owner of New Mexico Alternative Care and Farmco Products, looks over marijuana plants at his Farmington medical marijuana facility. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill Monday to allow for recreational sales of adult-use marijuana.

FARMINGTON – New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this week signed into law a bill that allows adult recreational use of cannabis.

Lujan Grisham signed the bill Monday, which was sponsored by Reps. Javier Martinez, Andrea Romero and Debbie Armstrong, and Sens. Linda Lopez, Katy Duhigg and Jerry Ortiz y Pino. The bill passed at the end of March during a special session Lujan Grisham called to address the issue.

“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,” 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 allows recreational sales starting no later than April 1, 2022. According to the office of the governor, the bill also addresses past low-level convictions. Possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana will cease to be a crime, those 21 and older will be allowed to personally possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and people will be allowed to have six plants at home – or up to 12 per household.

According to a news release, independent economist and public finance expert Kelly O’Donnell said the sales of adult-use recreational cannabis could bring in almost $318 million in the first year alone and create more than 11,000 new jobs.

Lujan Grisham also signed legislation that will erase old, low-level cannabis convictions from tens of thousands of New Mexicans’ records and potentially give early release to those low-level convicted cannabis offenders who are incarcerated.

mmitchell@durangoherald.com

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