More people are using it and more people are growing it. Some state lawmakers say the times are changing at the capitol, in regards to legalizing marijuana.
“In the seven years I’ve served in the state leg the stigma has changed,” said Republican Rep. Kelly Fajardo.
“It’s a big piece of legislation, it’s a big policy, it’s a big idea,” said Democratic Rep. Javier Martinez.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers think this is a new era for all types of marijuana.
“I think when grandma and grandpa start using cannabis, for pain management for example, it tells you how far we’ve come,” said Martinez.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, in just this past year the number of medical marijuana patients jumped from 50,954 to 70,743.
“Well, we know there’s at least that many, right? We know there are many more using it and purchasing it from the black market,” said Martinez.
The industry will likely grow as providers can now grow nearly five times the amount of plants. The DOH increased the allowed plants from 450 to 2,500.
Another reason for the increase, is more people qualify for it. The drug can now be used in schools and people battling opioid addiction may soon be added to the list.
“My main concern was always, we need to do it right,” said Fajardo.
Fajardo voted against legalizing marijuana during this year’s session, saying there were problems with the bill.
“It’s not so much I’m against it, but if we’re going to do it we have to do it right. We don’t have the money to mess up like Colorado does,” said Fajardo.
Fajardo agrees that the times are changing.
“it really has become mainstream as far as the understanding of it. It’s not a bunch of guys sitting in a room saying hey, try this,” said Fajardo.
Martinez thinks the growing number of New Mexicans using medical marijuana indicates more New Mexicans are ready to say yes to legalizing pot.
“A lot of those new patients are coming from parts of the state regarded as very conservative,” said Martinez.
Every county in New Mexico has registered medical marijuana patients, with most patients using the drug to treat PTSD.