New Mexico legislature passes bill legalizing recreational marijuana
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New Mexico legislature passes bill legalizing recreational marijuana

New Mexico is poised to become the sixteenth state legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana after the state legislature passed House Bill 2 on Wednesday.

The New Mexico bill will allow persons age 21 and over to have up to two ounces of marijuana in their possession, as well as six plants per individual or twelve per household. Recreational sales are set to begin no later than April 2022, and tax revenue from sales is expected to bring in $30 million for state and local government.

Under the bill, the odor of marijuana or suspicion that an individual possesses marijuana will no longer be grounds for police to stop, detain, or search people. Additionally, it is estimated that up to 100 people currently imprisoned could have their past marijuana convictions reconsidered. Lead sponsor of the bill, Democratic representative Javier Martinez said, “[t]his bill begins to repair the harms of prohibition.”

The bill passed on the same day as New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law legalizing marijuana in his state. New Mexico’s governor, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, called the passage of the bill “a significant victory for New Mexico.” She touted the economic and social benefits that will come with legalization, and that the bill will begin to rectify the damage caused to “those who have been harmed by this country’s failed war on drugs.”