A bipartisan taskforce created to study the feasibility of legalizing recreational marijuana in New Mexico will hold its second public meeting today.
The 20-strong group will convene in Albuquerque to learn from the state’s medical marijuana program officials and speak to cannabis licensing experts.
An attempt at legalizing adult-use cannabis failed in New Mexico earlier this year after stalling in the Senate. The bipartisan bill passed through the House, but it could not gain enough support from the other chamber.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham responded to the defeat by promising that marijuana legalization would be back on the agenda in 2020. She set up the taskforce, headed up by Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis, in order to devise an effective strategy for legalizing recreational cannabis use.
Grisham wants the introduction and the program to be the envy of every state in the country. “We can and will incorporate lessons learned from other states so that New Mexico provides for a well-regulated industry that, crucially, does not infringe on or harm our expanding medical cannabis program, upon which so many New Mexicans rely,” she said.
The group has created an open portal for state residents to browse, allowing them to monitor progress in a transparent fashion.
Meetings of the group are open to the public, and they can join in today’s session in Albuquerque. Group members can put forward proposals for endorsement as they aim to create a framework for introducing and regulating a legal adult-use cannabis industry.
If enough members vote in favor of a proposal, it becomes an official recommendation. Yet policymakers writing the final bill for marijuana legalization will be able to see dissenting opinions and votes too, giving them a rounded view as they draft the legislation.
The first meeting of the taskforce took place on July 10. The members decided to use HB 356, which gained support and detractors from both parties, as a starting point for the new legislation.
HB 356 had 72 different sections, and the group is breaking these out and analyzing how each one can be improved, or whether they need to be struck off.
The group is planning to meet with state regulators from Colorado later this month to learn how the industry is flourishing there.