SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Lawmakers are back in the Roundhouse for a busy 30-day session, and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is putting on a lot of pressure on them to legalize marijuana, saying it will bring a big boost to the state’s economy.
Even with a shorter session this year, the governor made it clear she’s tired of waiting for lawmakers to pass a recreational marijuana law.
“Every year we’ve said, ‘No, not yet, it’s not for us.’ Well, it’s easy to get to ‘no.’ It’s harder to stand up and create something good an new. And we’re ready for that,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
Marijuana legalization ended up being one of the key topics for the governor in her speech Tuesday. She also touched on education, New Mexico’s economy, and fighting crime.
As for legal cannabis, the governor called it the state’s “next economic frontier,” saying it’s time for the state to lead instead of being the last to jump in. She also claims there’s broad support for recreational marijuana, saying 75% support legal adult use of the drug.
“Let’s get it done this year and give New Mexicans yet another reason, yet another opportunity to stay here and work and build a fulfilling 21st-century career,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said.
The governor says she envisions a legal marijuana industry employing thousands of people and generating millions of dollars in revenue. There is some marijuana legislation on the table, led by Democratic Rep. Javier Martinez who was part of the governor’s task force that put together the proposal.
At this point, there’s no indication yet on when that marijuana legislation could be heard.
Republican Senate leadership had a lot to say about the governor’s speech. On the topic of marijuana, they don’t think the state will get a bill passed this session.
“The governor pretty much slammed the door to a bipartisan effort that myself and Sen. Pirtle and Moores worked on last year. All the recommendations that we brought that we said, ‘This is the only way that we would support legalized marijuana in the state of New Mexico,’ none of those are in the proposed bill,” Sen. Craig Brandt, (R) Rio Rancho, said.
A few senators also said they were upset that the governor made no mention of the state’s booming oil and gas industry in her speech, yet continues to reap the benefits of oil and gas proceeds, which are paying for the state’s increased spending.
Republicans say they’re focused on the budget this session.